The Charlotte Bartlett quilt was finally completed a few weeks ago when England was still being rained upon and temperatures remained distinctly chilly. The quilt sat beside my wardrobe like a large red reminder of the summer that never arrived, making all who saw it feel bullish annoyance at what should have been. But this week, quite without warning, we are being slowly cooked each time we step outside into the garden and the fiery red quilt is finally allowed to be an appropriate backdrop to the scorching temperatures.
The tiny triangles which replace the corner of every square are barely perceptible, other than when the quilt is viewed as a whole and you suddenly see that it looks as though it has been made from circles rather than patchwork squares (meaning it's technically called a 'snowball' quilt, I believe). I am happy with the amount of blur and lack of structure overall - in this I wanted something that would be a vibrant floral backdrop, but which wouldn't impose its own structure or geometric hardness on the garden.
While I didn't overly enjoy the actual sewing of this quilt (the piecing was easy, but dull and I complained frequently), I adored working with the fabrics. They are mostly Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs and they delight every part of my brain. Sometimes I worry that I may be fusing vital wires and connections when I like something so much.
Those following the Charlotte Bartlett and her Mackintosh squares tale may be interested in how many people this quilt can comfortably seat. I think it can comfortably accommodate four people and a very laden picnic...or two people lying down with limbs thrown out at odd angles. So while no-one in my immediate family will be forced to sit martyred on damp grass, it's not quite as big as I'd hoped it might be, but I did use every single scrap of fabric up that I'd bought for it. It's so gratifying when that happens.
If you're interested in following in my dragging-my-heels-and-complaining-a-lot footsteps with this quilt (you'll have such fun), you can find a very similar quilt pattern in Kaffe Fassett's absolutely stunning V&A Quilts book - I think I may or may not have talked about it before, but it really is wonderful. Most of my fabrics came from overseas at Quilt Home due to their having an absolutely vast selection of Kaffe Fassett prints all in one place.
I've been thinking a lot about quilt making recently and how the need to make a particular quilt can suddenly burn through me. I think often it's not that I want to possess a fabric, more that I want to sew with it and that just the act of working with it relieves the hunger to have certain prints for myself. In every other area of sewing I'm a perfectionist, but there's something about quilt-making that, mostly, feels like sheer, unbridled delight, so consequently it feels right to allow it to remain untempered by perfect point-matching (my inner Monika requires that I clarify: I do make a huge effort to match points, I just don't torture myself over it if, despite my efforts, they steadfastly remain a millimetre or two off). I am also guilty of enjoying rather random quilt backings. I tend to hurriedly pull together all the remaining offcuts of fabric and sew them haphazardly into a backing. You can see a little bit of this jumble visible as my husband carried it across the lawn. The only time throughout the entire process when my perfectionist streak momentarily returns is when I stretch out the fabrics to make the quilt sandwich, ready to be quilted. Here I become obsessive about having everything perfectly smooth and flat, so that there are no unwanted lumps or bumps in the finished quilt. How do you make quilts? Are there areas of sewing where you'll permit mistakes? Or will you relentlessly wield a seam ripper until you have perfection?
You are still most welcome to enter my foxy give-away, kindly provided by the wonderful Village Haberdashery. I'll be announcing a winner later tomorrow (Friday).