24 July, 2012

Polaroid mini-quilt WIP

Our most recent homework for the Monday night quilt group was to make up polaroids for little quilts. We pooled them all and sorted them into groups of nine based on colour and then we all took a batch home to turn into a quilt. I scored with the reds. It's been a lot of fun putting it together, although I'm a bit stumped with how to do the quilting - suggestions welcomed!


I changed the proportions of the polaroids so they have thinner tops and sides. I almost ruined them though, by trying to take a short cut and trim several down at the same time in a stack. Oh boy, SO not a good idea! The bumps caused by so many seams one on top of the other meant the rotary cutter wouldn't go through them properly, which caused several to skew and when I stopped to see how they were going it looked like some wild animal had been savaging them along the edges, and many of the borders were cut on an angle. Despair! Rending of hair and cursing of stupidity! Luckily, there was enough on all of them to create a straight edge with the blue sashing and I actually like the thin borders I ended up with. It wasn't very good for my blood pressure though.

I used blue strips of various widths for the sashing, ranging from 3-1.5cm. I'd say the 3cm gave the most flexibility in terms of placement and wonkiness, but having wide on one side and thinner on the other was also quite useful for breaking up the tendency for each polaroid to line up with the others. Thin-thin didn't work. I ended up laying them all out on the cutting mat, making sure the edges of each row extended over some arbitrary line, and then I cut along those lines. This meant all the blocks matched perfectly, although they're not all the same size. I think there are pros and cons to doing it this way. On the plus side all the blocks match up and sewing them together was a breeze. I also like that the seams are scattered about to a degree so it's not too grid-like. On the other hand, it is slightly random-looking and there are seams everywhere!

I used Kona for the solid blue and I have to say it's really not the nicest fabric. Sure there are bazillions of colours and all that, but the weave is so coarse and cheap-looking it's quite off-putting. I need to try some different manufacturers I think. Spotlight's solids have a very nice hand and come in a decent enough range of colours, but I've found if you iron them repeatedly across a point where the seam is quite thick the fabric wears quickly and the colour fades so I'm not sure what their lasting power is.

ETA: Thanks for all the comments about solids. If anyone is interested in the various types around Little Miss Shabby has a great run-down here.


  1. Such a lovely modern quilt and a great way to showcase favourite fabrics. Deciding on the quilting design is always a dilemma for me too. I'm wondering whether you should so some straight line quilting in a grid and accentuate the wonkiness of the polaroid blocks. As for solids, have you tried Art Gallery fabric solids. The quality of her fabrics is high and she has a beautiful selection of colours.

  2. I think what you have put together is fab. I haven't tried wonky piecing yet but I suspect it is much more difficult than it looks. I had wondered about the quality of Kona given its price point, but was tempted by all the lovely colours. I haven't used it so can't compare, but I can't say I think much of the solids available at Spotlight either. It is quite tricky to get nice solids in NZ at a decent price. My current faves are the FreeSpirit Designer Solids which I have bought from Hawthorne Threads before - they are still quite reasonably priced even with shipping.

  3. Love the blue background and you have achieved a lovely amount of wonk. I've got my thinking cap on as far as quilting goes too.

  4. Interesting that you have "issues" with Kona - you would expect it to be some sort of miracle fabric by the way everyone uses it. I have bought one piece - but not used it yet - so I suppose I will see. I have used Moda Bella solids which I liked but they do have a tendancy to fra. They have a nice feel to them, they look nice and lots of colours. Also tried Spotlight homespuns with success - haven't noticed the problem you mention, but perhaps different colours behave differently (I've used light and dark grey plus a couple of off-whites).

  5. It looks good. A lot of work though!
    I have used RJR solids just because that's what my local stocks. I can bring an eg to Helen's so we can compare.

  6. I totally love this! Super cuteness. I like the wonky not matching up seams. Goodness.
    I want to make one with embroidery pictures inside - I wonder if I could get the kids to stitch something up. Or even kid drawings with fabric pens.
    Perry, can't help you with quilting thoughts - I would just do straight lines around the Polaroids as I am not too skilled in much else quiltingish... Put it on IG and see what response you get.
    (fingers crossed those comment posts.......)
    Ellie - Petalplum

  7. The Knitty Gritty HomesteadJuly 26, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    Incredible!! Love it.

  8. Yes, I was thinking about quilting that way, perhaps with slightly wonky straight lines as well. I can always rip them out if it looks awful!
    I've steered clear of the Art Gallery solids because I didn't like the quality of some of the prints I had from them a couple years ago, but perhaps it's time to reconsider!

  9. It really is harder - I look at the great wonky things I see in blogs and I'm in awe because it's one of those things that you think is easy but when you try it you realise it takes some skill to pull it off successfully! I'm still working on it so thanks for the vote of confidence!
    I love Hawthorne Threads, their shipping is so fast and reasonable to NZ and they have a great selection. I find with the Spotlight solids the quality varies between bolts - I've had some beautiful dense and drapey pieces and some coarser ones. It's more the colour-fastness that worries me. I have a lot of the white though, it won't fade!

  10. It'll be interesting to see what we all come up with!

  11. I was pretty disappointed when I got my first lot of Kona, I remember looking at it and thinking "really? this is what all the fuss is about?". I've also heard that the Moda Bella solids are nice, good to know about the fraying though! It could certainly be some colours that fade and not others with the Spotlight solids - these were bright yellows, reds and oranges - and I was being pretty tough on them. I love their white though, it's nice and dense and finely-woven.

  12. Yes, I'd love to see the RJR solids - I can't remember what kind Helen is getting in but I know that will be nice so I'll have a local with solids too!

  13. Straight lines is all I can do too! I think the embroidery pictures would be wonderful, or the drawings. It would make them look even more like photos.
    And yes the comment posted! Yay!



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