I’m going to the dark side ladies!

Oh dear, we all knew it would happen one day. The Management had a significant birthday a little while back and I spent quite some time making suggestions for his gift. If you think back to the fairy tale of Rumplestiltskin with all the guesses at names you would be getting close to our house at that time. Anyway, almost as a joke I said I could make up the Bridget Riley ‘Nataraja’ picture he loved so much when we visited the Tate St Ives as the quilt I thought it could be way back then – and he said yes. Oh. My. Word. I haven’t done any quilting at all and he wants a quilt that would go on our bed. That’ll teach me.

The Managements quilt supplies

The Managements quilt supplies

Well, we went shopping and I allowed him to have a free hand in choosing the cottons. It was just as well I hadn’t chosen for him as I would have probably gone more true to the original picture  –  and I’m much happier with his choices despite them being very unexpected. Just look at the original!

It looks pretty straightforward at first – but look closely and you can see that not all of the colours are in single blocks, and not all of them stay in their own row. This could take a while.

In addition to that I would like some advice you quilting ladies out there. I would (where appropriate) pre wash my dressmaking fabrics but didn’t know if that was a good idea with quilting fabrics. The cotton stuff I got for the middle (the correct name escapes me entirely – you can tell I’m a quilting novice can’t you?) suggests that pre washing is optional but what is your experience?

As you can tell any help with this project is going to be very welcome. I can sew garments happily but this is entirely new to me. The only thing I know for certain is that this is a job for the old girls…..

Beautiful Molly

Beautiful Molly

Patience - Singer 27K circa 1900

Patience – Singer 27K circa 1900

and me!


34 Comments on “I’m going to the dark side ladies!”

  1. Thimberlina says:

    Ooooo! This is going to be exciting watching your progress! Love your hubby’s choices too. Pre washing – I’m really no expert but I’ve heard from various sources that’s it’s a big no. Especially if you want that antique wrinkled look which will happen after it’s been washed. And I think the fabric is easier to work with if it isn’t pre washed. Good luck ☘☘☘

  2. Batting, that’s the bit that goes in the middle! I don’t prewash the fabric but I only ever hand sew quilts so don’t know if that will make a difference. It’s going to be fabulous….a real labour of love 😀

  3. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Am not a quilter, so cannot offer any advice, but send all best wishes to you!

  4. Wow! That’s a project and a half. Will look forward to seeing it finished

  5. sewbussted says:

    You have your work cut out for you. Not a simple project. But it’s going to be beautiful when finished.

  6. sewruth says:

    I’ve been to the dark side KIm and lived…..Here’s a few ‘tips’ I got at my quilting classes:
    Don’t pre-wash fabrics, don’t use steam to iron them either – even the seams. Use cotton throughout – fabrics, batting (the bit in the middle) and thread – then when you wash the quilt it will all shrink the same amount and become beautifully soft.

    Your design is staggering and will look fabulous. I don’t need to point out to you that your pieces will all have bias edges and you know what bias loves to do……….

    Work in vertical rows, not blocks. Look at your pieces as diamond-shaped: some of them are perfect(orange, blue, green in top left corner), others are half size (most) and others are bigger (orange top right) You only need one template then which you add to or cut smaller.

    Let me direct you to Big Bang https://corecouture.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/quilting-the-universe-big-bang/- instead of making a circle, you’ll sew in rows. This is a Lone Star design and you’ll just do yours a little differently.

    And very good luck!

    • Thank you so much Ruth. I had already decided to work in strips (rows) and know that some pieces will match their joining partner – I’m not bothered and I know he won’t be either. Thanks for the link which I will be checking out now. I intend to save this into the winter/after I stop sewing for clients. If I get gripped it could be less time than I think.

  7. tialys says:

    Welcome to the dark side – we’ve been waiting for you 😉
    I never prewash quilting fabrics. They are easier to sew ‘straight from the shop’. As Ali has also said, Once the quilt is washed, there will probably be a tiny bit of shrinkage which will give you a slightly ‘used’ look but only, I think, if you use cotton batting.
    That looks like a fiendish design – you’ve really decided to go in at the deep end!
    Will you use Molly and Patience for piecing and quilting or will you be quilting by hand?

    • I’m going one step at a time. I will be sewing the pieces on the machines but I haven’t thought as far as quilting the whole piece yet. I may wimp out and have it done for me! (More likely not as I’m a control freak but I don’t know how I will feel about this by then).
      I may be back to you all for more advice in the future!

  8. amcclure2014 says:

    Good luck. Looking forward to seeing your progress. I’m assuming that if you don’t prewash then you have to start off making it bigger to account for later shrinkage? Assumption only – I’ve never visited the dark side.

  9. Would welcome you to the dark side, but oh mercy, I’ve never been there. It is enticing, though, and one day maybe. So with no advice to offer, I’m sending good luck wishes and can’t to see the finished quilt. It looks fiendishly intricate….all those stripes and dots connected in diagonals! No question it will be spectacular in your chosen colors.

  10. Fadanista says:

    I’ve made one simple quilt and have another waiting to go. I see you’ve had lots of excellent advice so I’m not going to offer any as it would be pathetic 😁 I adore this quilt but it makes my eyes go funny. Can’t wait to see yours as the fabrics The Management has chosen look great.

  11. sew2pro says:

    I thought this was going to be about burning dinners (in the kitchen they call me Darth!). This certainly looks ambitious so I’m glad some of our experts are here to offer advice (I know absolutely nothing). BTW, what is the advantage of using the old Singers?

    • No advantage at all – I just thought it would be nice to use them for something so memorable.
      Still laughing at ‘Darth’ – I’m generally pretty good in the kitchen but I do have the odd ‘done to a golden black’ moment 🙂

  12. Roxane says:

    Many quilters do pre-wash the fabrics. If you use a cotton batting, it will shrink a bit more than the fabric and give the final product a very slightly crinkly look, which many people view as desirable. If I am making a wall quilt, especially if I am incorporating unusual fabrics, I might not pre-wash them, and, if the quilt isn’t very big, I use a fusible batting to keep it very flat.

    You are going to have so much fun! Back in 1988, I made my first quilt to “get it out of my system.” I am still doing it. It can be addictive–like a jigsaw puzzle with fabric.

    I hope you have a cutting mat, rotary cutter and plexiglas ruler. They will make your life a lot easier.

  13. mrsmole says:

    Nice to see you are leaving the world of darts and sleeves to sew flat sections and 1/4 inch seams. That is some wild design! Color, color, color…I love it, I crave it…dazzle us, Kim!

    • I’m certainly looking forward to this project – it is so different to anything I have done in dressmaking so I think it is the perfect project to start my ‘retirement’. I will still sew garments after that – but I will become the ultimate selfish sewer 🙂

  14. Lynn says:

    I always pre-wash my quilting fabrics. I don’t know if it’s really “required” though. I just always do.

    Your sewing machine is beautiful. I have a singer treadle machine probably made between 1910 and 1920. I use it for most of my sewing using woven fabrics and use the electric machine mostly for knits.

  15. Oh I love your quilt design! I’ve dabbled on the dark side and was too lazy to pre-wash. It was all good. And your girls, Molly and Patience, are beautiful!

  16. […] where sewing projects go to be ignored. Some of you with very good memories will remember the quilt I started to commemorate The Managements 60th birthday. I confess some time has passed since then and the […]

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