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This year I set out on a little journey to perfect some of my basic sewing skills. One of the most basic squares in quilting is the half square triangle. I made a few pillows with half square triangles for my Etsy Shop. Then I started this quilt. I made 130 half square triangles for this quilt. Each finished square is five inches. The monotony of this quilt was quite a blessing, and the repetition was good for me. I learned a lot, and I think I accomplished my goal of striving for accuracy.
Debbie from Canfield House reminded me not too long ago that we aren’t machines. Make sure you don’t forget that either. Our quilts won’t be absolutely perfect…because they’re made by us. We have human hands.
This was the first time I had ever sewn an entire quilt with solely half square triangles. Once again, I’m learning that I love a classic quilt pattern. My favorite part of the entire quilting process is the fabrics. I love combining fabrics and sewing them into classic quilt patterns.
This is presumably the most bland (maybe low volume is a better word) quilt I have ever sewn. It was hard not pulling out bits and pieces of my traditional somewhat colorful stash, but I am truly very happy with this one. It is a gift for Christmas.
I started growing intrigued with Robert Kaufman’s Essex Linen. I had seen it combined with quilting cotton many times, but I had never tried it myself. I ordered a sample since I had never even held quilting linen in my hands before.
I decided to use Essex Linen in natural. I combined it with Kona Cotton in white. Then I added some of Lecien’s fabric called Antique Flower in Pastel Blue. The floral is a bit of an older line and likely getting harder to find.
My goal was to remain rather neutral, but I couldn’t finish the quilt without adding a bit of color. While I feel the color in this quilt is quite defining, I also sense it is quite neutral.
The linen posed no new challenges. It was essentially the same as working with cotton for me. Know, though, that I am not an expert on fabric weave or fabric grain. It’s a part of quilting that I haven’t devoted much time to. Maybe that’s why I don’t have much to say about the linen?
The texture is beautiful. The drape is lovely. The quilt is definitely heavier than an all cotton quilt.
The quilt went together so well. I highly recommend sewing your half square triangles with the trimming method. This made for such ease in joining the blocks. Be intentional to nest your seams, and your quilt has very few imperfections.
The only hiccup I remember in then entire process was quilting through the intersections. My sewing machine had a bit of trouble keeping its stitch length entirely consistent through all the corners. I grew a bit frustrated at times, but I really think it was something that was a reflection of the quality of my sewing machine and not a reflection of my skills. I was asking my machine to sew through lots of layers of fabric at every corner. Maybe the extra strength of the linen made it a bit difficult?
Any thoughts on that from all you more experienced quilters?
Whenever I’m gifting a quilt, I run the risk of trying something new. I try keeping my own preferences in balance with the tastes of those receiving the gift. It kind of makes it hard for me sometimes, but I hope this quilt is loved and used often.
It won’t be gifted until Christmas, but considering I have two more quilts to make by Christmas, I was wise to have started this one so long ago.
After I had all my half square triangles constructed, I sewed the blocks into nine patches. This ensured the florals were evenly dispersed throughout the quilt.
I used pins, once again, to baste the quilt. Basting spray is often much easier to use, but it is definitely one more thing to buy for an already somewhat expensive hobby.
I sewed the binding on by hand.
For the backing, I used the same color of linen as I used on the front. Very simple yet the texture adds a bit of dimension to such a low volume quilt.
I buy fabric from a number of sources (usually smaller sellers), but when I’m buying yards (like three or four at a time), I almost always buy from Fabric.com. The more yardage you buy, the lower the price, and it’s hard to beat their pricing for large amounts of fabric at a time. This time around, I bought my linen from Fabric.com since I bought four yards for the backing.
Also, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying all your linen at once. I bought a sample before I purchased yardage. Even though they were the same color, they looked like completely different fabrics. This was one time in life where the dyes were so very different that it would have been frustrating if I hadn’t bought it all at once.
If you are looking for a smaller project, consider making a quilted pillow cover instead. I made the one pictured above for my shop.
This quilt will contentedly sit on a shelf until it is opened up on Christmas morning. Hopefully it’s perfectly suited for a lovely farmhouse inspired home.