I came across this Garden Fence block pattern and it was the first time I thought to myself "I can do that!", or more accurately, "I think I can do that!". No disrespect intended to the designer but it seemed pretty enough yet somehow straightforward enough that even I, a novice quilter, could attempt it and feel assured of some measure of success. It's straight lines and, while it looks so lovely with lots of different fabrics, I thought it could look just as lovely with only three, which suits me as I do not have a stash I can run to, and can't really justify purchasing a lot more right now.
I busily got to cutting (which is my least favourite part because I am not good at it, but I am trying and while still not perfect, I am improving), then sorting and then, just for fun I sewed a block together. It's quite wonky but I would like to think it is not so bad in the great scheme of things.
My first ever completed quilt block! I am insanely proud, and trying hard not to be too critical but also trying hard not to be too complacent. This is also my first attempt at chain-piecing which I really do like, I felt for sure I would just want to complete one block entirely at each time but I do think the chain-piecing helps with accuracy of sewing (at least consistency, if not accuracy) and it is less time-consuming (I am an impatient crafter) and it means I can iron each stage all at once, rather than turning the iron on and off, or leaving it on for too long and allowing curious kittens to singe their whiskers.
I am aiming to complete twelve blocks today - it's my day off and Himself is at work, so it might mean a break for him from sewing and quilting chatter all evening (but then I have another twelve to cut out and sew, so perhaps not). If they turn out nicely and if the finished size is reasonable (I have worked it out in my head but I need to see it done to really understand), then I have plans for the finished quilts - one being a first birthday present and one being an impending birth present. If I still adore this block after I have potentially massacred it all day, I think some very careful fabric considerations are in order and it might be just the right pattern for my quilt for mum...I am trying not to get too far ahead of myself but I am also trying to be positive!
Himself loaned me his flashy, snappy camera, as my little Canon has a dead battery and I have misplaced the charger in my recent tidying up frenzy (read: hide all the mess in various places and forget where you put everything) so I have taken photos of my progress but I can't upload them until Himself comes home. I also do have to clean my "sewing area" (dining table) and take more photos so I am not too embarrassed to show them...
Update: sewing area was tidied and photos have been taken but they are not uploaded yet. In other news, the quilt top is finished - I spent a very enjoyable day playing at the sewing machine and here are some thoughts / observations:
The original block (done in one go) was the right size, all subsequent blocks (done in stages together) were slightly smaller but somehow all the same. The larger block made that row a little trickier but all squares were a bit off, anyway.
My quarter inch seam is not quite perfect, I think I am more 5mm rather than 7mm which I think is closer to a quarter inch (haven't actually done the conversion). Aussies don't generally work in inches but it seems for quilting, we do.
I have added quite a wide sashing between blocks & rows and as a border - wider than I originally thought but because of the wonkiness of each square, I wanted to have a bit of space between them, so it was less obvious. This has somewhat changed the over-all look, I have used a dark pink fabric and it dominates the lighter pink pattern in the centres - which was my favourite fabric and the one I wanted to showcase in this quilt. A lesson in colour and planning learned at least! I might do another border, using the centre fabric but - of course - I don't have enough and will have to buy more.
I purchased a metre of the dark pink and have used it all except for two small squares. The bottom border I pieced together out of the offcuts from the other three sides and between the rows, I think it looks okay, I am not bothered by a few extra seams along the bottom edge and I don't think they are that noticeable.
I really enjoyed not having to line up each seam in the block with each seam of the neighbouring block, as there is fabric between but I do need to work on lining the sashing pieces up, as a few of those are not quite right either.
All in all, I had a good day in front of the machine, and achieved what I wanted to. I didn't think I would go from my first completed block on Friday to a completed quilt top on Sunday so that is something I am really pleased about.
Technical skills aside, I just needed to jump in - do something - and finish it!