I’ve been wanting to make another version of my The Plus Side quilt pattern for a while now (pattern can be found here).
I really like the layout of my last one (in Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander) and wanted to try it again with different colours:
I went with a scrappy collection of FQs in fuchsia, lime and navy, with various low volume prints and light solids.
I’m calling this layout “With a Twist” as it seems to suit the patterns created:
I went into this quilt uncertain of the layout I’d choose. While I love the Carkai version, I felt I should probably try something new.
One of the best parts of this quilt pattern is playing with the block placement and orientation before sewing it together. Once I completed all my blocks, I spent a night messing around with them on my design wall. All the following designs are made with the same 20 blocks. This was how the blocks looked when I first threw them on the wall – they remind me of blobs of paint coming together on a painter’s palette:
Then I went back to the original radiating diamond pattern that I’d used in the Carkai version:
Next, I tried the same pattern, but with the darker colours forming the central diamond:
Next was a cross formation (and I briefly considered sewing another row of blocks to put across the top to make the pattern symmetrical):
But it was too late at night for that so I decided to make the cross unsymmetrical in both directions:
Then I tried making some diagonal stripes:
And some diagonal stripes in like colours:
And again, just with the corner blocks swapped:
And finally, an offset arrow head for good measure:
By this stage, I was ready for bed and not sure which design I was most fond of.
The next day, I put a quick call out on Instagram asking for people’s opinions on 3 of the designs – the Radiating Diamond (dark centre), the Centred Cross and the With a Twist layout. I folded the laundry and made a cup of tea and came back to see that the majority were liking With a Twist. I was pretty happy with that as I did want to try something new, so I sat right down and sewed the layout together into a quilt top. When I’d finished, I popped back in to Instagram to see that Radiating Diamond had surged ahead in the popularity stakes….ooops, but there was no way I was unpicking it!
(My 12 yr old graciously agreed to hold this quilt up for me as my husband was away. His arms were getting sore in the above picture ;)
The main reason I liked the With a Twist layout was the secondary patterns formed around the central, light diagonal. There are Vs and Ls and triangles – lots of defined areas that would be fun to quilt, and very do-able on my own Janome.
I ended up quilting this fairly densely – so much so that I had to wet and block the quilt top before I sewed on the binding, just to reset the edges.
I began by outlining all the “quilting zones” I’d decided on within the quilt. This not only defined those zones, but also stabilised the whole quilt before I went to town with the quilting. I always like to work from the centre of the quilt outwards, so I sewed the black lines first, red lines second and green lines last.
I filled in the zones in the same order – black, then red, then green. I used a light beige/tan thread which blended in quite well.
The black zone held a truss or frame pattern. The red zones contained straight line quilting that echoed the original stabilising lines. The green was a spiky, starry kind of affair that could be done in one pass because I’m too lazy to bury threads. This diagram is not exact, but it gives you the idea:
That diagram looks totally crazy-pants, but I assure you it looks a lot calmer in real life with the beige thread!
All the quilting was completed with a walking foot. I either used the block seams as my guide, or as in the case with the truss section I used a hera marker to mark out lines.
As mentioned before, with all the dense quilting and pushing and pulling required, the edges were undulating by the end. I put the quilt sandwich in the washing machine with several colour catchers and filled the bowl to just cover the quilt. I agitated lightly by hand to be sure there were no trapped air pockets, and then drained and lightly spun the quilt. The whole thing took 10 minutes. I tacked the quilt sandwich out on the carpet and pinned it in place with pushpins. They didn’t work very well (kept popping out), but thankfully just smoothing it all out into shape and letting it dry overnight made a big difference.
I made a scrappy binding from all my FQ remnants (after the blocks are cut from each FQ as per the pattern, there is enough for a strip of binding from each) and then hand sewed the binding down.
I really love the colours in this one, the fuchsia packs such a good punch.
This version of the pattern finishes at 48″ x 60″ (crib size) but the pattern includes instructions for lap, twin, queen and king size as well. It’s quick to sew up and is definitely beginner friendly. If you’d like to make your own The Plus Side quilt then you can purchase the pattern here.
Hope you’re having a great weekend and happy sewing!