Friday, 12 August 2016

Bow and arrows quilt

This is the Bow & Arrows quilt pattern from Suzy Quilts and I can't believe this is the best photo I got of the finished quilt as I absolutely love it! I'll need to ask the recipient if I can take some better photos next time I'm back in Scotland. Even from these photos you can see how well it turned out. I had so much fun sewing it up, especially hand-sewing the binding on in the sun in my dad's garden!

Soaking up the sun, ready for hand stitching the binding.
This is the baby quilt size and I totally copied the colour way Suzy gives in the PDF pattern.  I was so pleased when I remembered I had these blue & yellow fabrics in my stash as they look so good together. The backing fabric is brilliant too, Retro Rockets by Michael Miller. It took me a while to find this online and I ordered 2 metres of it from Cloth Ears.  I'm considering buying more as I just love it and it's perfect for baby quilts! The white fabric is a lovely quality sheet from a charity shop which cost the princely sum of £2!

Backing fabric - Retro rocket by Michael Miller
Imperfect lines
One thing I've realised with quilt making - I am so not a perfectionist!! In fact I like imperfections.  When I started machine quilting this I was worried about getting the lines perfectly straight. Then I decided to treat it just as I would if I was drawing - that is just go for it. My lines are not all straight or uniform but I really like how this looks.  My mum used to do really wonderful pen line drawings and I always loved how strong and decisive her lines were even though, or perhaps because, they weren't all uniform.
I followed the pattern exactly (as you can see!) which worked out well mostly. The only issue I had was the lengths given for the border pieces. It instructs you to cut 4 of the same length which obviously isn't' necessary as you have 2 shorter sides, and weirdly the length you are to cut is too long for the short sides and too short for the longer sides! So I ended up having to cut and join a few times. I think next time I'll work out what lengths I need for sides and top & bottom and cut accordingly.  I used the stated 1/4" seam allowance throughout. Incidentally if, like me, you're new to quilting check out this great post on advice on quilting.

I wasn't very keen on the basic method for making Flying Geese as it creates quite a bit of waste. Well it won't be waste as I intend to try and use them in a scrappy quilt. However I think if I made this again I would try and use the no-waste method, which she explains in the pattern too.
Flying geese - you can see all the wasted fabric on the left.
I also had a few issues this time with machine quilting. I don't have a special foot so I was just using the straight stitch foot with a 2 1/2 - 3 stitch length.  I found that I got quite a bit of gathering of the fabric. This might have been because the fabrics I used were thicker than my last quilt, or maybe because I was quilting more lines but I realised I really need to give my free motion embroidering foot a go for this.  And maybe ask for a walking foot for my Christmas! I've also realised you get special needles for machine quilting, and special threads, so I'll try these out too. Always so many things to learn! If anyone has any tips I'd love to hear them as I'm such a beginner to quilt making! Also if anyone has any particular quilt designers or artists they like please let me know as I'm having such a great time finding out more about improvised quilting, the history of quilt making, and all the different artists out there working in quilts.

Machine quilting


  1. Every quilt you post makes me want to learn to quilt. One of these days...

    1. Thanks Claire! I can recommend it as a break form garment sewing, but then you have knitting too. One day I'll learn to knit!

  2. Oh that space boy fabric is just gorgeous! It's perfect. I love the colours in this quilt, so cool. I like your idea of using a sheet. That would save so much money! We are going to move our boys into a bunkbed soon. I have promised them new bed linen, but I do quite fancy making them quilts too. I will be looking to you for inspiration!

    1. Thanks Helen! Isn't it such great fabric! I scour the charity shops for sheets now, especially as the white ones I found recently were such good quality. They would be perfect for dyeing as well.
      Oh that's so nice your boys are going to share a room. That would be fun to make them quilts, I warn you it's quite addictive though!