Sep 21, 2015

HALF SQUARE TRIANGLE QUILT


This quilt is one hundred percent me.  It has been a few months since I finished it and it still brings me great, great joy every time I see it.  I can't quite believe that I made it.  I am so happy with the color palette, the mix and match binding, the mismatched corners, the size and - really - just everything about it.

Here's a brief rundown of how it came to be:

I found a few tutorials for making half square triangles that made them seem very doable - despite my minimal piecing experience.  I decided that I could make it happen and then searched through Pinterest board upon Pinterest board for color and layout ideas.

I spent a ton of time mocking up color combinations on various fabric websites.  Then, I scrapped the idea of buying the "perfect" palette because I was afraid of purchasing fabric online without being able to see the colors with my own eyes.

I decided to just go to one fabric store and buy the best combination I could create from their inventory.  My store of choice didn't have a ton of solid cotton options, but that yellow is like my dreamboat color and I love the way it plays with all the other colors.  I chose that first and then just mixed and matched until I came up with seven colors that all worked together - my very own version of the rainbow (very decidedly without any purple, as that is my least favorite color).

I love the beginnings of projects, so I went home and immediately started cutting.  My squares were roughly eight and a half inches.  I am not a perfectionist and measuring things causes my blood pressure to rise, so they were not exactly eight and a half inches.  But I was okay with that because I already knew this about myself.  I also knew that I would be as happy with a final product with misalignments and angles other than 90 degrees as I would with one with perfectly matched corners.

Each of my kind-of-sort-of squares was paired up with another square of a contrasting color, I folded the pair on the diagonal and then ironed that fold to give myself a line (roughly) from corner to corner.  I used that pressed line as my guide and sewed a quarter inch seam on each side of the line, then cut on the fold line to give me two, identical half square triangle blocks.  (If that paragraph was confusing, this might help.)

I made it through this phase really quickly and started sewing the blocks into long strips, each made up of nine squares.  I got through most of this step and then my sewing machine got all jammed up and (despite much trial and error) I couldn't get it going again.  It sat in the basement, unused, for several weeks and then I spent an hour fighting with it one day until it magically worked.  I don't know what the issue was, but was able to complete the rest of the quilt without it jamming again.

Once I got back to it, I finished things pretty quickly.  I bought light weight batting and light grey yardage of wide cotton fabric that was big enough to cover the back of the quilt without requiring piecing.  I pin basted the layers together and started quilting.

I quilted straight-ish (but not straight) down the rows, using the seams where the strips met as guides for keeping the quilt lines from getting too crazy.  The quilting lines are purposefully uneven - some only a couple centimeters apart and others a couple inches apart.  Besides choosing fabric, quilting is my favorite step of the process.  I love how it brings the fabric to life and makes it magically look like a "real quilt" instead of just a flat piece of fabric.

I didn't put a ton of time into making things perfect (as seems to be the theme of this story), but generally evened up the edges and squared the corners.  And it was time for binding.  I dig binding that is made up of multiple fabrics, so that's what I did.  I used a combination of dark grey fabric with white polka dots and some left over fabric from the quilt front.  I machine sewed the binding onto the quilt.

I did not pre-wash my fabric, so the whole thing crinkled up when I ran it through the wash after it was done.  This is totally a personal preference, but I love that look.  To me, it feels worn-in and well-loved.

And that's the story of my second completed quilt.  It's definitely my favorite so far and it's hard to imagine topping it, but I hope that I will do just that.

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If you've been intimidated by triangles, I highly recommend this method since it doesn't actually require you to cut any triangles.  And, if you're intimidated by any of the quilting steps, might I suggest YouTube?  It's my secret weapon for trying new things.

1 comment:

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