Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a quilt for picnics

Have you heard of Lauren and Jessi Jung?  They are a mother-daughter design team who recently debuted their first line of fabric!  It's called Botany, and I am in love.  Notice the tiny spiderwebs, lizards, frogs and hummingbirds hidden in a few of the prints.  I found a Layer Cake (Moda's 10" square precuts of one entire line) on the cheap and decided to turn them into a picnic quilt!

Now, the first time I heard someone say "picnic" and "quilt" together, I cringed.  You mean to tell me, I thought, that you would spend hours of your life on something that will doubtlessly be decorated with potato salad and grass stains within the first ten minutes of use?  Yeah, pretty much.  What can I say?  After such a long, crummy winter, I've built up an appetite for picnics.  And a good picnic necessitates something nice upon which to eat, and read, and nap.  That is how this quilt came to be.

But I couldn't just sew all 42 squares together and call it a quilt!  That would be too easy.  Rather, I cut an assortment of squares, ranging in 1/4" increments from 3" to 4" each.  These I marked on the diagonal and stitched to two opposite corners of each block, making almost a stretched star block.  It was inspired in part by this quilt by Ashley, which in turn referenced this book by Gwen Marston.

Over the weekend I pieced the top, and Steven helped me pin-baste the quilt.  The backing is a nice organic cotton canvas in aqua, and the batting is mid-loft polyester.  Hear me out!  I chose polyester because of it's loft and resilience.  That's all.  I dislike working with it because of how much it shifts, but it seemed appropriate for this application.

For the quilting, I decided on a big spiderweb motif which I regretted once it was too late.  I think it just needs more stitching, so until then, this will be one of those eternal works-in-progress.  I bound it in this big leafy print from Sew, Mama, Sew, and finished it by machine rather than by hand.  It was my first attempt at all-machine binding and I did a not-good job, if you ask me.  But hey!  Potato salad and grass stains, right?

For your amusement, here is what happens when you lose focus for a fraction of a second (don't worry, the needle survived):

Next up: coordinating picnic placemats via Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter, available for free here!


  1. I think this looks so pretty, and I adore the idea that it will be used, and washed, and stained, and washed some more... this quilt will have history and stories to tell, and will be full of happy memories of lovely family picnics!

    (By the way, I am horrible at machine bindings!)

  2. Thank you! When I got persnickety about making a mess all over the quilt, my dear boyfriend reminded me that it is a modern tack quilt after all. I do look forward to watching its character develop!


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