Wednesday, November 02, 2011

How to make Irish Chain quilt

Wavy Irish Chain - Quilty Beach, Ireland
30" x 39"
Original Design
All curved seams on quilt top
Completed 10/31/2011

"I loved all the wavy lines. They're fun!"

How I did it: Not long ago I learned about Fast Friday Fabric Challenge, where quilters have a short time to create a quilt based on a given subject. The subject in the first challenge I saw was Celtic Quilts. For a while I'd been toying with the idea of curved lines, and I'd been wanting to make a St. Patrick's Day wallhanging. So I decided to go for it. Although membership is closed, there was no reason why I couldn't participate in my own way.

I chose nine-patch blocks, also known as Irish Chain, which fit the theme for St. Patrick's Day. The colors pink and green had been calling me lately, so that became my color scheme. I like to use stash and scraps for my wallhangings, and I chose a starfish-looking fabric leftover from a quilt I made for my granddaughter Reghan. Many of the scraps were leftovers from her sister Piper's quilts. So there's a lot of sentimental value in the fabrics.

For the curved seams I wanted to do a technique that I learned from Ricky Tims' Caveman Quilting. I reviewed the DVD to brush up. Basically you layer two fabrics right sides up, then cut a gently curved line through the layers with a rotary cutter. Then sew the pieces together with very narrow seam allowances. There's no real pattern, just winging it.

Using the technique I made a bunch of nine patch blocks in many sizes and shapes. I used the starfish fabric between the blocks, layering, cutting wavy lines and sewing together. When I had the rows sewn together, I layered two rows and cut wavy lines all the way across, then sewed those together.

When the top was all sewn together, I attached a border, also with the wavy lines. To top it all off I went for the gold and did wavy edges on the borders. There is not a single straight line on the quilt top!

Just inside the vertical edges of the starfish I did straight stitching.

On the seams between the rows I did a fancy stitch, #178 on my Bernina 440QE, which is a curve with little loops. I used my walking foot and kept the seam right in the center of the foot. I love the little loops. They're so fun.

Shamrock fabric leftover from the Frog quilt
I used shamrock fabric leftover from the recently finished Frog quilt. The shamrocks further enhanced the Irish theme. I did a pillowcase finish, turned the quilt right side out and did some machine quilting.

The wallhanging looks great. It's a little bigger than the space I usually hang my small quilts, but I'll find a spot for it.

By the way, with the starfish fabric so predominant in the quilt, I wondered if there was a beach in Ireland that I could name the quilt for. To my absolute amazement I found out there is a place called Quilty Beach in Ireland! So the name of the quilt is Wavy Irish Chain - Quilty Beach, Ireland.

Lessons & tips: Try new methods and techniques. If you're afraid of failing, keep the project low-cost using things on hand, and make it for yourself. That should take away some of the fear. If it's a disaster, you can give it away. You'll learn great lessons and better ways for next time.

Resources: Fast Friday Fabric Challenge - Celtic Quilts
Quilting Caveman Style DVD by Ricky Tims

It took me 3 months.

It made me Very happy

1 comment:

  1. really??? that works!!! very cool and very cute little quilt. Im going to have to try it!


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