I set out to make a colorful quilt with plenty of white space for my bedroom. I knew I wanted to include triangles in the design, but wanted to keep it fairly simple. Originally, my thought was to have three rectangular blocks of triangles. I liked the idea of having one column of triangles in each block with the background and foreground reversed. But, what seemed great in my head and looked promising on sketch paper felt sort of heavy and static when I laid out the fabric triangles. A little playing around and I came up with the big triangles.
Because this quilt was intended for a specific space, I tested out different layouts on my bed. It was really helpful to see how the design would work on the surface of the bed–by eliminating the sides of the quilt from the visual field. I think this technique is especially useful for larger quilts. (Plus I don’t have space for a design wall, so my bed makes a pretty great surface for experimenting with layouts.)
This design has the right balance of white and color that I was looking for. The colors are unusual for me, but I love how cheerful they are. I used a print from Leah Duncan’s Meadow collection for the backing, with a little bit of orange at the top. The binding is from Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures collection. I like how the gray adds a dash of sophistication to the palette.
I quilted using the diagonal edges of the triangles as guides to create a grid. I was really pleased how the quilting lines create a sort of argyle effect. The lines are spaced two inches apart, which gives the quilt a really soft and cozy feel.
This daybed quilt is very easy to make and can be customized to fit any size daybed. The design is essentially an off-center housetop. The main solid color is the only part that shows when your daybed is made up–plain and simple by day with some hidden quilty loveliness.
Make Your Own!
- Quit top: Three solid colors (approximately two yards of your main color, and one yard each of your two accent colors.) Small amounts of print and contrast color if you want to add some pizzazz.
- Binding: About one yard quilting cotton.
- Backing: About three yards for a twin size quilt. More for a larger quilt.,
- Cotton batting and thread.
First, measure the area of the mattress top. Cut a large rectangle of your main color (I used Kona smoke) the same dimensions are the mattress top plus one or two inches all around.
Next, determine how much overhand you want. I added about 12 inches to three sides–to allow the quilt to tuck neatly into the mattress. Cut enough three or four inch strips in your second color to frame your main rectangle.
Add the rest of the length and width to the bottom and edges. I added two thin strips of orange and a floral Liberty print to one side to add some interest. I also chose to use the main color as the outside edge on one side, and my third color (Kone bone) to the bottom and other side.
I also added a tiny patch of the Liberty print to the right side and a patch to one corner, which was the result of changing the design midstream and rearranging some sections. These little details make a big difference in such a simple design. So, I highly recommend sloppy measuring and haphazard piecing.
I used a mix of wavy line prints for the backing and quilted on my home machine in a loose straight line pattern. I finished with a bright orange solid for the binding.
I hope this not very specific pattern gives you an idea of how the quilt was made. There is plenty of room for improvising! The cushion below is another adaptation of a simple housetop design. This time I used more colors and was very precise with my measurements. It gives a totally different feel.
This quilt turned out perfectly for our daybed. The quilting lines are slightly wavy and unevenly spaced, which was a somewhat intentional effect but also partly expedience. But, the backing fabrics are two wavy lined prints that echo the quilting lines very nicely–so my laziness paid off!
I really love the orange binding.
Making this quilt top for our daybed was a challenge, but I really like how it came together. When the daybed is made up, only the medium gray will show, keeping the daytime look more like a couch than a bed. But, I was able to work enough interest into the design to keep me happy. The little touch of orange (I think it’s Kona Kumquat) makes all the difference. I am especially happy with the backing fabric. I wanted something subdued, and this subtle gray stripe from Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics line is perfect. (I bought my yardage from Marmalade Fabrics.) I was really pleased that the background is a warm white–which goes really nicely with the Kona Bone in the quilt top.
I am trying something new with the quilting. I usually quilt in a diamond pattern that I mark with washable pencil lines. It takes a long time to mark all the lines but I am weirdly attached to the process–something about the precision appeals to me. For this quilt, I want straight vertical lines. I plan to use the piecing seams and a few lines I made by pressing the folded quilt top in half and then in fourths as guides. I am nervous about being able to stay on course–especially since the guide on my walking foot broke off years ago. I really hope it works!
One of my goals this year is to expand my repertoire of crafty skills. First on my list? Needle turn applique. My guild is doing a mug rug swap this month, so this was a great opportunity to test my skills on an unsuspecting guild member. (They’re a pretty friendly bunch.) I used a very simple bull’s eye shape adapted from Denyse Schmidt’s Quilts book (hands down my favorite quilting book–it’s really great for beginners). It’s just three irregular circles stacked; aiming for imperfection is a great choice when you are learning a new skill (or improving a rusty one).
When I’ve tried needle-turn in the past, I’ve always cheated and turned the raw edge under with my hand, which can result in an uneven edge. I think I finally got the knack of needle turning by the third circle! You use the point of the needle to push under the next section of edge before you sew–which turns the edge evenly as you move along. If you are working on a precise shape, having a clear line for the seam would be very important. Because my circle did not need to be precise I just winged it. It was so nice to work on a small project by hand that I decided to hand quilt, too. At first I quilted around each circle–not good! The circles poofed up, totally negating all my careful applique. Here’s a picture, before I pulled out the hand quilting:
What else do I want to try this year? Embroidery, making a stuffed animal, and (maybe!) English paper piecing. Look for more Skillful Sunday posts in the coming months!
We need a quilt for the daybed in our home office/guest room and I can’t settle on a design. I want the center of the quilt (the top of the daybed) to be solid gray. I want to stay away from symbols (pluses or crosses, for example) but I don’t want the quilt to be completely boring. I need to find a design that can fit in the 12 inches or so that will overhang the bed without the design feeling like one big border. I have been scouring Pinterest for minimal designs and racking my brain. I think I’ve landed on something that will work and then I lose my confidence. I think minimal designs are the most challenging. Does anyone have an interesting approach or design secrets they would like to share? I wish Carolyn Friedlander’s new book Savor Each Stitch was available! I bet she has some nuggets of wisdom that would help.
I finally used some yellow (almost) in a quilt and I love it. When I started working on the design I was planning to use the yellow print (from the Olympus Soleil collection) along with a citron yellow. Then I noticed the print’s selvage colors (the little colored circles at the edge of the fabric that show what inks are used in the print) and I was surprised that there wasn’t a true yellow. Even though the overall effect is yellow–the actual colors are chartreuse, lavender, peach, mint, and ecru. I had ordered some Wasabi Kona cotton (one of the new colors) for another project and it was a perfect match for with the yellow-green in the print.
Wasabi is one of those colors that really changes depending on the light–sometimes it looks green and sometimes yellow. The linen is handkerchief weight in natural from fabrics-store.com. It has a really beautiful drapy-ness. I used gray gingham for the back–I love how the yellow-green contrasts with the gray. This quilt is added to my Etsy shop.