Sunday, 19 May 2013

Catherine's Hearts Quilt - Oriental Style.

A year ago, or so, one of my best friends, Lisa, expressed how much she loved a demo wall hanging at our local quilt shop, Stitch. It was unusual in that it featured multiple layers of heart shapes on contrasting fabric.  I didn't think much of it at the time but when visiting Stitch again more recently (who am I kidding, its a regular thing!) this time with another friend, Viv, it again came to our notice. And there was a class coming up to teach us how to make it! It just seemed like fate.

Unfortunately Viv could not join us on these dates but two weeks ago Lisa and I braved the winter weather and went to the first session, of two, and got underway. This is a never fail quilt - it looks fabulous in any colorway, and in any combination. Lisa is doing a variation in circles, not hearts, and has gone with a delicious modern combination of contrasting greys and oranges. I saw it laid out on her carpet last night and it looks smashing!  I am so jealous. I have such quilt envy. I felt the same way when she used a mouthwatering combination of pink, orange, red, white and yellow fabrics for the hexy quilt class we did last year. Sigh, she has such a great eye for colour!

Mine is being made from fabrics I already had in my stash, a mix of beautiful oriental fabrics with the contrast being plains. I am very pleased to finally be using these as they have been sadly ignored for far too long. I also unearthed some Oakshott cottons that I am loving the look and feel of with the shimmer of the gold outlines on the oriental fabrics. And, of course, once I use up these stash fabrics I will have room to buy more...

Our quilts will end up being very different but the experience of sewing them together, in class and during the past few weeks, is hugely satisfying and treasured.

As always, there is a lesson in this quilt that can be applied to life in general. For me, I think it is to embrace going slowly. I tend to want to rush things and that is simply not possible on this quilt as machining smoothly around those heart curves takes time (I found this out to my chagrin after speedily sewing some very angular looking hearts that I ended up having to unpick.)  My speed setting is now firmly on the tortoise rather than the hare!

Look! 17 down, only 130+ to go!
Catherine's Hearts Quilt is created by cutting a templated heart shape out of one fabric and laying it over a square of a contrasting fabric. You then cut the back out of the square in a heart shape and sew that on top. Once I've finished sewing the second heart in place I'll slice the blocks in half through the centre of the heart and resew one side to another block, and sew on, and sew on. The other lesson in this quilt is that you cannot plan it - that just does your head in. You have to simply pair up the first plain and the first oriental you come across, or whichever contrast combination you've chosen. It's that mix of randomness that makes it. As a control freak, I find this challenging but ultimately rewarding. I will post a picture of the completed quilt top in the next week or so.

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