20 January 2014


In September, I visited my sister.  We had some time on our hands, so we started searching for a pattern for a new quilt for her bed.  Her current quilt is 13 years old and tears when you look at it wrong.  We started searching pinterest, flickr, and favorite quilt blogs.

She found one: Groove.  We stumbled upon a quilt-a-long and traced it back to a quilt by 'Elven Garden'.  It was love at first sight.  We loved the pattern, loved the colors, and it was approved by the husband.  Yea!   Colors: Kona cotton in azure, willow, white, chartreuse and black.

Looking at the quilt pattern and comments on the quilt-a-long, we realized two things.  1. The quilt pattern comes in sizes from crib up to king - with each size smaller than a king just containing a portion of the design. 2. This quilt was intended to be made out of 3.5" squares. 

Uh.  No.  There had to be a better way than to piece a king size quilt out of 3.5" squares.   117" x 99" equals 1,287 squares.  Ugh.  Looking further several were making it in pieces like a 'log cabin'.  That would work.  But what about strips?  Strips should work.  And the curved piece is a 3" finished drunkard's path block. 

We started drawing it up in Google Sketch-up.  Once we had it drawn, we broke it up into rows and started breaking out each color piece.  When we got to the end of that, we had the realization that breaking it up into columns would probably have less pieces and 'larger' chunks.    Oops.  It was re-done.  Columns was definitely better.

Many of the fabric strips were longer than 44" and we really didn't want to piece fabric.  Our bright idea - cut the fabric along the length (not width) so our strips could be as long as we wanted.  My sister spent several nights grouping the individual pieces to determine how much fabric to order.

At Christmas, we were together - with the fabric - and started cutting.    After the kids were in bed we picked a color of fabric, laid it out on the kitchen floor, and armed with rotary cutters, a mat, a tape measure, and a few rulers, we started cutting fabric - double checking each others math. :)    I was the designated cutter ... something about being abnormally picky about how fabric is cut.  It might have to do with my "if I don't cut it, I don't sew it" policy.  My sister double checked all measurements and pinned labels on every piece of fabric. Color coded for front vs back.  I think it took 3 or 4 nights to cut out all of the colors and another night to cut the curves. 

For the curves - a drunken path block, I drew up a template in MS publisher.  [It seems to have a better resolution that Sketchup.]   After using some laser cut templates for another project, I knew I really wanted a set for this quilt.  But my favorite Etsy shop to create these shut down.   Bummer.   Dad totally came through for us and cut it out of a piece of 1/4" Plexiglas.  Yea Dad!   They worked great using a 28mm rotary cutter.  To sew, I followed a no-pins tutorial by: 'She Can Quilt'.  (I don't think I will every pin another curve again.  As long as I remembered to hold the top fabric up, it just worked.)

7 columns were stitched together one night ... and we took a bunch pf seams out.  We definitely should not sew late on a Saturday night. 

It took one night of pinning all of the rest of the columns together.  [We watched Mary Poppins with the kids and I pinned strips together.]  One day of sewing columns.  One long day of sewing all of the columns together.   I think it turned out pretty fantastic.

It's upside down, but my sister and I are the only two that will know that.
 I'm not sure if you can tell, but the points match amazingly.  I pressed the 'odd' column strip seams up and the 'even' column strip seams down.  The seams nested together and with careful pinning the seams look great.  Occasionally we had to try again on the curved blocks. :)

My sister also designed the back.  It took us a little less than a day to piece this.  [Uh, we goofed on the amount of chartreuse fabric needed, so we had to run to the fabric store to get some more.]

[Ugh.  And we forgot to make the back 2 inches bigger all around than the front when drawing it up in sketch-up.  So the 'groove' is 2" shorter than the rest.  My sister is going to piece in extra fabric later.]

I think the quilt is gorgeous ... and I can't wait to see how my sister quilts it.

pattern: Groove by Carolina Patchworks - with some modifications by us.
fabric: Kona cotton in: azure, willow, white, chartreuse and black
size: 117" x 99"
time: less than 2 weeks with two of us working on it over Christmas break.

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