Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
Solar Eclipse Wall Hanging
Every year at Christmas, I tend to gravitate towards one or two major project ideas that everyone on my gift list ends up receiving. This year was all about wall hanging quilts, pillows, and a few dop kits sprinkled here and there.
When I am planning out my holiday makes: my big ideals, the projects which I have never completed before or have no experience in creating, are always what I plan for my mother’s gifts. They’re moms, they can’t complain if it looks shitty (and I always use this to my benefit).
I have been obsessed with Elizabeth Hartman patterns since early 2015, when my quilting obsession was just budding. Through happenstance, I had purchased this pattern for myself much earlier in the year, but realized my mom also enjoys Aztec-y-esque patterns, so the Solar Eclipse quilt pattern was a perfect fit for her gift. Even more lucky for me, this pattern deals mostly in 2.5 inch strips which I am very skilled in working with, and there are barely any points to match up, which is a quilting beginner’s dream! With all of those added bonuses confirmed, I was off to make my version of the Solar Eclipse quilt (in the baby quilt size).
I purchased all of the fabric necessary for this quilt on Fabric Spot, a Canadian based retailer which has an extensive variety of Kona solids (which are the fabrics called for in the pattern) as well as a lot of off the bolt patterned fabrics (which I used for my backing and binding fabric). I absolutely dreaded having to go into my local fabric store, pull 16 different bolts of fabric, and have them cut 1/4 yards. Being able to order everything online without the evil glares of quilting store workers is beautiful advantage to my modern age. #thankyouinternet. I loved that Fabric Spot individually labeled each piece with the Kona colour name; this was an incredible help for a project that deals with very similar colours. Furthermore the pattern calls for 1/8 yards, so I have a lot of leftover fabric for more blocks (aka my own mini quilt, which I totally plan on doing).
With all of your strips and pieces cut, it’s time for your diagonal sewing skills to shine. If you are a master of half square triangles, then this sewing process will be an absolute breeze for you. However, after a few swipes under the machine, you get used to where your two fabrics need to match up and it doesn’t become that daunting at all! If you do have issues when you start, I recommend using 2-3 pins on your imaginary sew line, just to double check that your strips will line up perfectly.
Like I said earlier, there is not a lot of point matching in this quilt, so you have an opportunity to showcase your amazing diagonal lines and straight line sewing skills without the fear of matching up all of your strips. The only thing that bears mentioning is to make sure check and double check the pattern lest ye be doing some late night sewing only to find out you have sewn the wrong strips together. I know this….for…um…reasons.
I did have some minor issues when my four completed blocks were not as square as they should be. I imagine this is mostly due to some wobbly sew lines or some moments where my seam allowance may have not been totally straight. As always, make sure that you have the grain of the fabric matched up with all of your pieces or else you may have a few wonky lines where your fabric warps. I worked around this by trimming all my blocks square, seeing which one was the smallest, and trimming the remaining three squares down to that size (and, you know, hopefully not totally ruining my points on the bottom and sides). As this mini quilt is only four blocks all together, the actual assembly went pretty smoothly. However, there are a few points to match up in this section, so I double checked my points by pinning the places that needed to match first, and then smoothing out and pinning the rest. Obviously, these are your standard precautions when sewing any quilt blocks together.
I used this wonderful backing fabric by Cotton + Steel from their Fall 2014 collection, Mesa, by Alexia Marcelle Abegg, named Fernbrook (Coral). I seriously don’t think I could have found a better backing fabric for this pattern! The colors match the solids perfectly, and the pattern gives the quilt top that extra punch. I am completely obsessed with this fabric (it is Cotton + Steel, so duhh) and will be using the mint variation in my own Solar Eclipse mini quilt.
I was really perplexed and how to actually quilt with my, let’s say, limited quilting skills. Originally, I was going to stitch in the ditch, as with my jelly roll quilts, but I thought that would take away from the positive/negative space created by the white fabric. But then the question became how to quilt the white and leave the colors be?! With that in mind, I did two lines of quilting in the white space parallel to the color fabric and hoped it would look good!
I am quite happy with the way this quilt top turned out, and by using this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company (haii Jenny girl haii), I turned this baby quilt into a wall hanging with a hanging sleeve sewn into the binding.
For my first wall hanging quilt, I’m pretty excited with the overall finished look and the minimal completion time. All together, it probably took me a week of working at night, as compared to the months and months it takes me to complete a regular sized quilt). I have one more blank wall in my house, so you best know I am planning on filling that up bitch with a bunch of these wall hangies!
Christmas gift blogs: 1 down, only 7 more to go!