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Sunday, 10 February 2019

Skimming Stones appliqué quilt pattern

One day I'm going to have my own screenprint table… but for now I'm just going to enjoy the release of my Skimming Stones quilt pattern – made from swatches I screenprinted for a range of fabrics I designed. It's a great feeling knowing you've not only made a quilt but also hand printed the fabrics it's made from.
Surface design was something I had some experience with, but it's a different way of thinking to design for screenprinting, and it was a good 20 years since I'd done it previously – making sure you have a decent weight of line, thinking about the colours that are going to be created when inks overlap and how the colours with change depending on the fabric they're printed on.
I was lucky that I was free to use the print studio for extended periods, but still had a defined deadline, so I planned things out meticulously, making sure I could put all the same colour down at once and that I wasn't having to change screens too much in any one session. I was in heaven! Most designs ended up just as swatches, but one ended up as a length – the one at the top in the pic below. I still haven't quite decided what to do with that…
I always knew I wanted to make a quilt from these, but with other things going on, I did my usual trick and stuffed them in a cupboard while my mind did its subconscious designing and let me know when it was ready to get them out again.

Once I had a vague idea of how I might construct the quilt, I lay the swatches on the floor to get the balance of the patterns and colours right. In the end I didn't use the smallest prints – this quilt needed bold shapes. I also didn't use the heaviest canvas-weight that I'd printed some of the designs on.
Next came the trimming and rounding of the corners. I've kept every last scrap of this fabric, so no doubt you'll see it used again in something else.
Then I appliquéd the shapes onto a background colour. The Skimming Stones pattern allows for both raw-edge appliqué – which was what I used here so as not to waste even a seam's worth of fabric – as well as needle-turn appliqué. I'll be working on a needle-turn, wall-hanging version over on Facebook each week if you want to make along.
This quilt is great for large-scale patterns – think big Kaffe Fassett florals  – and the version I'm showing you here has fairly random placement of a lot of different patterns. Some of you might want a quilt that's a bit less random, so I've designed the pattern with defined colour placement – you can use any of the colourways I've suggest or, of course, create your own or swap any, or all, of the solids out for a pattern.
Now back to my screenprinted version… In the second half of last year I finally invested in a sewing machine that will allow me to quilt these kinds of things myself. Up until then I'd had a fairly standard machine with a narrow throat. While that was completely fine for piecing and clothes sewing, quilting anything larger than a cot quilt was impossible. I got six rows into this and that was the clincher. A few months, and a new machine later, I was on my way!
So there you have it – the Skimming Stones quilt pattern! I'm super excited that this quilt was also accepted into Quiltcon this year and in just 11 days I'll be there to see it hanging (although I may have to wait until day two as day one will be spent in class). And, of course, you can buy the pattern here in my Etsy store. Stay tuned for all the inspiration from Quiltcon.


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