I am not sad though, blue is just one of the background colours of the square quilt blocks of my Dear Jane quilt. I thought it would be fun to dedicate four Dear Jane posts to the four background colours I am using. This will give me the opportunity to write about the importance of choosing good fabrics, by explaining how I did not in many ways. The background colours are blue, green, red and white as visible in the picture below.
How I chose the background colours you can read in the article below.
I chose the fabrics based on what I had and which colours matched. I only bought the red one. My goal is to make my quilts with as many fabrics I can upcycle or are already in my stash. This means that I’ll sometimes end up using fabric that is not ideal for quilting. I will use it anyway though because I’m stubborn and want to learn to work with all kinds of fabric. This ‘make it work’ attitude is what quilting makes so much fun for me. This blue fabric frays like mad which is not good at all when a quilt block has tiny pieces as in the Dear Jane quilt. In this post, I will tell you about my trial and tribulations with this fabric and what I’ve learned so far.
Dear Jane quilt block D-6: challenge
This is the second block I made. See the first one here:
You can see that the Dear Jane quilt not only improved my quilting skills but also my photography skills! There is not much to say about this block: It is straightforward to sew and is one of the blocks with the fewest amount of pieces. The name of this block is ironic though because it is not a challenge to make. Maybe the block is named by a funny person. Because I was inexperienced at quilting when I made this quilt block the blue fabric did not really bug me yet. I had trouble sewing everything, so I thought it was supposed to be difficult.
Dear Jane quilt block J-4: Adelaine’s apron strings
This is a very simple block, but here I started to discover the difficulty of the blue fabric. The blue and green fabrics work well together though, so it is worth the struggle. Also, the name of the block is lovely. It was very nice thinking of the quilter who saw apron strings in this piece.
Dear Jane quilt block L-2: Stephanie’s snowflake
This one was difficult to sew and making this block I also discovered the blue fabric frays even more when you have to unpick it often. And unpicking I did with this block! Somehow I kept sewing the pieces together the wrong way around. Each stitch you do creates a tiny hole, and too many holes weakens the fabric. The end result is gorgeous though, so I’m happy. When I start quilting my Dear Jane quilt I’ll have to find a way to keep the fabric of this block together. This block is not my favourite pattern, but I am very proud of how well it turned out considering the tiny pieces and the tricky fabric.
Dear Jane quilt block D-10: battlefield
The combination of the name and look of this block is well-chosen. The triangles and diamond shapes remind me of a memorial graveyard. This quilt block is made with foundation piecing. Foundation piecing is one of my favourite quilt techniques for the Dear Jane quilt because it helps to sew tiny pieces of tricky fabric neatly. I talk more about that in the post below where I explain what foundation piecing is and how to use it.
You can see in the quilt block below that the angles of the pieces are very sharp and neat, even the tiny pieces in the corner. Foundation piecing allows you to do that because you sew the pieces on a background which keeps the fabric pieces from moving.
This is everything I have to tell you about the blue fabrics so far. Here are some tips to take away:
- 100% cotton fabric is easiest to quilt with, the blue fabric I chose is absolutely not that.
- Foundation piecing prevents fraying and makes a quilt block look neater.
- Mistakes make the fabric fray easier because every stitch creates a tiny hole, weakening the fabric.
- If you want to keep the challenge of quilting and piecing minimal find yourself some 100% cotton fabric.
- If you like a challenge, use whatever fabric you can find and roll with the punches. Sent me a message or comment if you want some tips or share your frustration.
Would you like to know more?
- Dear Jane sampler quilt introduction
- The nearly insane quilt: a machine quilting sampler
- Quilting techniques 101 with the Dear Jane quilt: Y-seams
- The link between the American Civil War and the Dear Jane quilt
And finally, here is a great song to get stuck in your head to conclude this post. Have a good week everyone!
See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.