Friday, February 26, 2010

River quilt

I posted a picture of my river quilt from my phone, then realized that I hadn't posted about it before, even though I have pictures I took of it earlier.

The pattern that I based this quilt off of is from the Better Homes and Gardens American Patchwork and Quilting magazine (August, 2007). I bought it for $.50 at the thrift store down the street. The original quilt is called "paint by number" and is made out of rainbow batik fabrics. It really caught my eye, since I love bright colors and batik fabrics. The style is called a bargello quilt.

I decided that it would be easy to do with pre-cut strips, so I bought two pre-cut rolls of batik fabrics on sale at Fabric Depot.
I didn't end up using any strips from the round roll at the top, and I used slightly more than half of the strips from the bottom roll.

The basic idea of this type of quilt is that you sew strips together, then you cut them the other direction into strips of various widths. After rearranging them, a wave sort of pattern emerges, which is pretty cool. I arranged the blue and green strips from this roll from light blue to dark blue then merging into dark green and back to light green. Here's a picture of the strips getting sewn together.
This quilt wasn't particularly challenging to put together, but it got a little tedious because it's a lot of really long straight seams. However, it looked awesome once I got the top put together.
The narrow pink border was a fat quarter that I just happened to pick up because it was on sale and I thought it was a cool color. The greenish border is from a piece of fabric that I got as a remnant a couple months ago.

I just picked up the backing fabric yesterday at Fabric Depot, which is currently having a 50% off sale on selected bali batik fabrics. Seemed like the perfect time. I also got fabric for the twiddletails quilt-a-long pinwheel quilt that I'll be starting soon.

I decided to quilt it by sewing through each diagonal set of squares. I thought the flowing lines of quilting would emphasize the "rivery" look of the quilt. Here's a close-up of what I mean:

I am currently in the process of deciding how I'm going to quilt the border. I considered doing feathers, but I'm not sure that I'm good enough at free motion quilting yet to have them come out nicely. I'm very happy with the rest of the quilt and I don't want to be disappointed with the border.

Construction details:
Piecing thread: mostly Gutermann 100% polyester thread, but switched to 100% cotton
Piecing needle: size 75 quilting needle, which worked great on the batiks
Batting: warm&white cotton
Quilting needle: same as above
Quilting thread: blue variegated Signature size 40 cotton thread
Tension: increased to close to 7 based on a practice sandwich I made up. I've never moved my tension that much before; normally I'm afraid to touch it!


  1. Pretty quilt. I like that narrow pink border, it "pops" and frames the quilt nicely.