Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Hungry Caterpillar quilt

I’ve made another quilt. This is the final baby project that I worked on the back end of last year. I came across the Hungry Caterpillar fabrics by Eric Carle, produced by Andover, a while ago and knew that I wanted to create something with them. I snatched up a fat quarter pack and set about finding a good quilt pattern.

Hungry Caterpillar quilt

I found this fantastic I-spy quilt, made from a disappearing nine square block. I loved the neat lines and bright colours - it seemed perfect. There is a lot of cutting involved to create the top: 88 centre squares, 88 black squares, 22 turquoise squares, 22 black rectangles and 20 small turquoise squares. I managed to cut them out in a couple of hours with some music on. Once you get in the zone, it is amazing how quickly the piles of cut fabric mount up. I deliberated for quite a bit whether using black was a good idea. I needed a colour that would make the caterpillar material pop and from all of the cotton in my stash, the black was the only one that seemed to work. The turquoise is the left overs from the baby kimonos



Hungry Caterpillar quilt - squares

Stitching the squares was easy, although a little repetitive as I worked in assembly mode. Every piece that needed to be stitched was pinned before it went through the machine to make sure I lined up the seams well. I used the chain stitch method, where you leave a few stitches between each piece instead of cutting the threads, as it is a great time saver. The pinning probably doubled the time I spent of the top but it was worth it. I’m rather pleased with how well the seams line up on the majority of squares - they aren’t perfect but you can’t see any that are very noticeably off. This also means that my cutting was pretty accurate. Accuracy is key to patchwork I've discovered, and definitely worth spending time on. 
I made sure that I didn’t rush the section where you slice your nine square blocks through the middle, both horizontally and vertically, to create four new pieces. It was slightly nerve racking as I was out of black cotton by this point but thankfully the inside seams were level enough to produce a good result.


Hungry Caterpillar quilt - backing

Hungry Caterpillar quilt - edge stitching

The backing is a recycled beige duvet cover. Pinning the batting and the backing wasn’t as hard as my first quilt attempt. I laid all of the layers over the ironing board and worked line by line. I found it much easier to smooth out the fabric this way than placing the whole thing on the floor. I wanted to keep the quilting pattern simple. I stitched around each square. Yep, all 88 of them. Tedious doesn’t even cover it! And that doesn't take into account the unpicking of many wonky seams. I was very glad to finish the final square. The quilt is bound with bought bias tape as I had run out of turquoise fabric and honestly couldn’t face making 5m of binding after all that quilting. The colour isn’t a perfect match but it is close enough to some of the blues in the squares. I used my blind hem foot to help give an even edge stitch throughout. 

Hungry Caterpillar quilt

The quilt was a surprise gift for our friends who have recently had a little boy. It's now making its way to them but I'm still a little unsure about the black! 

12 comments:

  1. Wow this is lovely claire. What a great present. The hungry caterpillar was n's favourite (and mine!)

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    1. Thanks! The hungry caterpillar is such a great story.

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  2. Claire, this is fabulous! WOW!! :) Making a quilt is such a huge accomplishment, especially considering you did all the quilting yourself. Consider me impressed. Your seams really do line up beautifully, I would have never known that the binding was a different blue. I think the black will be great for a baby. I've heard that infants can only distinguish really bright color contrasts, so black and white is a great combo for them. Plus, it's a nice change from all the pastel that babies usually get. Really wonderful job, I'm sure the parents will treasure it!

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. I'm really pleased with it. Good to know about the black and white!

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  3. That is beautiful! I love the black as it makes the other colours sing!

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    1. Thanks, glad you like the black!

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  4. This is brilliant! I love the hungry caterpillar fabric.

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. It's a gorgeous collection.

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  5. Oh Claire, jolly well done! You must be proud as punch (I would be!). Consider yourself in good (great!) company- Matisse used black amongst his bright colours to make them especially bright! Great technique!

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    1. Ah, so black is a good thing then! I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

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