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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tranquility

     This is my first batik quilt and also the first I have created using muted and constrained colors.   I am usually drawn to bright prints or solids, but I must say, I am delighted at how this turned out.  I like how restful and calm it is, and so its name - Tranquility. 
 
     This quilt is a thank you gift for a kind woman who shared her home and her family with my daughter this summer.  Her home is beautifully decorated in light grays, whites, creams and other natural neutrals.  In designing a quilt as a surprise for her,   I tried to find fabrics which would fit into that peaceful and lovely setting.
 
     I decided to try batiks, which offer design interest and depth without being a "print".   I have never actually made a quilt with batiks, although I have used them in various other  projects.   I found a 12 fat quarter medley of  "Pond Mineral Water" Batavian Batiks on sale at Hancocks of Paducah.  That medley had the blue/green I was thinking about for an accent, as well as the natural and gray tones.  I also found a fat quarter medley of light background fabrics, which had some of the light gray fabrics. 
 
     I truly have no sense of fabric needs, even after years of quilting.  I ordered 2 of the Pond medleys (and only used part of one) and ordered the light medley (and used a few of the fat quarters), as well as some yardage of other coordinating gray fabrics.   Needless to say, I can continue making batik quilts from my stash.   It took me several attempts to pick out the fabrics from this stash to use in the quilt.
These are the fabrics I ened up using in the quilt.
 
Here are the fabrics from the "light background batiks" pack that I did not use.  The yellows are blues were a bit too bright.

The "Pond" fabrics which were unused in the quilt.  Too dark or too bright. 
      My goal was to complete this quilt during a long weekend portion of my vacation.  I decided on a disappearing nine-patch pattern for the center of the quilt - which I have used here ,  here and here.   I cut 5 inch squares from ten fabrics, keeping a darker blue fabric (there were three) in the middle.  The rest of the placement was random.  I ended up with 12 large nine-patch blocks for the center of the quilt.  I starched the blocks to help keep their shape after cutting them up.  I also made an effort in this quilt to really focus on the 1/4 inch seams.  That seems so simple, but I really struggle with keeping my seams consistent.   
A sampling of the finished nine-patch blocks before cutting.
     I cut each block down the middle lengthwise and horizontally to create 4 smaller blocks, each with a blue corner square.  (I neglected to take pictures of this step!)    I really had some concerns as I was putting this together.  I was not sure about the color choices, or the block placement.  My first attempt at organizing the blocks resulted in a clumping of the blue in the middle of the quilt.  
I was NOT loving this quilt at this point!
    I had already decided to keep the small blue square in the upper left corner of each block, and then reorganized the blocks, trying to spread out the big blue blocks throughout the quilt, and let the other fabrics fall into place.  The second attempt was more successful.
 
     I moved a few squares around before sewing the whole thing together, and then added a narrow (finished at 1") border in the darker fabric.  I also used that darker fabric (I had two fat quarters from the "Pond" package, as well as some yardage) as the backing and the binding.  
 
     I had ordered a few yards of a lighter batik which featured the grays and ended up having a bit more yellow than I was anticipating, but yellow accents were also found on several of the other fabrics I used.  I cut 6 1/2 inch strips for the border.  I must say that my focus on the consistency of my seams paid off.  I only had one corner that was noticeably off (I am an NOT going to show a picture of that!).  
These seams look pretty good to me, and this picture shows off the lovely fabric. 
Chester inspecting the border.
     Because I wanted to get this finished, I decided to do a simple quilting of meandering vertical lines.  I used Warm and White as the batting.   I stitched straight lines at 1 inch intervals, and then did wavy lines in between.  I used a light gray Aurifil thread on the top, and a dark blue gray Aurifil  in the bobbin.  
I occasionally watch a Netflix show on my laptop while quilting.  Chester apparently liked whatever I was watching!
     I love how the quilting turned out.  The batiks feel different even after washing than regular quilting cotton - a bit more crisp. 
A close-up of the quilting


The back of the quilt displayed by my trusty quilt holder.  
     The finished quilt is 48" wide by 61" long.  It is a nice size lap quilt.    

On the deck chair, in the sunshine.
      I love how this quilt turned out, and I will certainly be working with batiks more in the future.   
      
     Enjoy the end of the summer! 
 
Take care,
Gretchen
 
 
 


5 comments:

  1. You did a great job with the D9P. I find distribution of colors the hardest part of assembling one. Love it.
    Happy quilting from Nebraska

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  2. Your batiks look very good in this layout. It is very pretty, and I think Tranquility is a good name for it. It makes me want to get out my batiks and see if I have enough to make a version like yours. Thanks for sharing your quilt.

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  3. Gorgeousness! I am a big lover of batiks, but, yes, I tend to go for brighter colors. This is so restful. I don't even like D9P, but you made it look great!

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  4. So appropriately named. You did a great job with the colors. I imagine you will enjoy this a long time!

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  5. Such a beautiful quilt. It is perfect for someone who loves such light colors. I love how restful it is.

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