January 01, 2019

Patches and Pinwheels pt. 4

I love making serious progress on a long term project on New Year's Eve and Day. This year is no exception. I have finished the piecing and borders on the Patches and Pinwheels quilt. (More pictures will come after the quilting is finished). The quilt measures about 96 x 96 inches.

I had enough yardage of the green border fabric to also use it for the backing. If I were to buy "quilt" shop quality fabric, the backing alone would have been at least $100. I did not spend anywhere near that amount. The green fabric was left over from a purchase made several years ago and I can't remember what I paid for it. I'm glad I found a project for it because the fabric had been sitting all those years. The majority of the fabrics for the pieced blocks came from DH's shirts that were worn through in the collars and cuffs, but still had good fabric in the body. I supplemented with a few shirts from the thrift store and a few white fat quarters. All told I spent about $15 for the fabric (plus whatever the green cost several years ago). All that's left is to buy a batting and then decide on the quilting. Do I pay someone to quilt it or do it myself? I am undecided there.

Which brings me to the cost of quilting fabric today. I know for many this is a fun hobby, but the cost of quilting fabric is just so crazy high right now. $12-$15/yard for fabric! I know there are some alternatives and I can shop sales, but yikes! This is why I have turned to the thrift store and scrappy quilts. I don't have a problem using clothing for quilting fabric. It's what our mothers and grandmothers did years ago out of necessity. Now, I wonder if it is wasteful just to toss our old clothes? Sure, some are suitable for donation (and I do donate a lot). But there are some things that could be useful for something like this. This quilt project has definitely made me look at thrift stores as a new source for supplies.

This is a Bonnie Hunter design. I chose to try one of Bonnie's designs to better understand her process. I think she designs quilts in two different ways. I do think many of her designs are created using eQuilter. While she does incorporate scraps into her designs, the overall visual affect can only be achieved by using a design tool like eQuilter (She has dropped hints that she does use the software). Her method of using standard piece sizes also makes a difference in efficiency and utilization of both time and fabric. Other quilt designs are a bit more freeform. In other words, she doesn't start in eQuilter, but rather puts pieces together (such as leader and ender piecing) that eventually are put together into blocks and then quilts. Because she uses standard sizes, everything eventually finds its way into a finished quilt top. It is a very smart way of utilizing scraps.

This design is one of Bonnie's free quilt patterns at her website. The instructions are more of a tutorial without specific piece counts and yardage requirements. I think it could be a bit of challenge for a beginner. The small piece sizes and precision sewing is also a challenge. I had a fair bit of fixing to do because of either cutting and/or sewing errors. The patterns published on Bonnie's website, while I know they are free, could use a bit of editing. I do appreciate the effort and work it takes to put something like this together. I wonder if her published books/patterns are more polished. She does take her mystery projects down and provides them for sale after the mystery is over. I hope the "sale" versions are better edited and presented over the free-form versions given on the website.

I don't know if I will make another Bonnie Hunter quilt. I am pleased with how this quilt came out and I am glad I made it. Now that I understand the process, I think I can design my own scrappy quilts. That should be a fun challenge.

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