I know it’s been a while, but I realized that I never shared the finished product of my “I Love This Quilt!” choice for the September/October 2016 issue of McCall’s Quilting. Considering that I’m now working on another “I Love This Quilt!” remake for an upcoming issue, I figured there was no time like the present!
I chose Waterfall by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes, originally published in our July/August 2012 issue, for this remake.
As I wrote in my earlier blog post, this pattern appealed to me on a few different levels, one of which was that I thought it would go quickly and I’d have a very high probability of finishing it and not letting it turn into a UFO.
I’m happy to say that, although I didn’t finish it as quickly as I thought I would, I DID FINISH IT. I’m also happy to say that I think it’s beautiful and I’m really happy with it.
One commenter on my earlier blog post suggested that I track my time to determine exactly how long sewing my version of Waterfall would end up taking, which I thought was a terrific idea.
And I tried, but with young daughters who seek me out when I’m at home for anything and everything even when my husband is literally sitting in the same room with them, sewing for trackable periods of time during the day on weekends is a challenge.
But if I had to estimate how long piecing the top took, I’d say somewhere in the 15-20 hour range, which isn’t too bad considering this is a fairly big throw quilt. And I was able to get it basted, quilted and the binding attached within a 36-hour period, a personal best. The official finished size of the quilt is 66″ x 76-3/4″; mine is a little bit smaller, but it’s pretty close.
I want to share a couple of ways I saved time right from the get-go.
The first way is that I used precut 2-1/2″ strips for the chevrons rather than cut my own strips. One jelly roll of Latitude batiks by Kate Spain for Moda provided exactly the number of strips I needed.
Rather than try to achieve that effortless random look by spending too much time thinking about fabric placement, I let my girls help me.
First, we divided the strips into light and dark groups per the pattern’s instructions. Then, I had them help me select two light and two dark strips for each strip set.
That’s why you can see blocks of matching colors in sets of four in the vertical rows — it’s what my girls wanted, so I went with it. After all, I was making it for my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law (oh who am I kidding — I was making it with my step-MIL in mind) who would appreciate that the design was a group effort.
After you make your strip sets, you cut segments at a 60-degree angle, then stitch the segments into 10 vertical rows. When you get to this part, you have to be sure to offset the corners by about 1/4″ so the raw edges will line up when you press the segments open.
Now, when you’re working with pinked edges, figuring out exactly where that 1/4″ is may take a little trial and error. For instance, here is a photo I took of the first two segments I joined before I started sewing when I thought I had the corners offset just right.
When I pressed the segments open after stitching, the top segment was indented by just a couple of threads, maybe 1/16″. So I ripped out the seam and tried again.
Here are the same segments with the top segment adjusted a smidge to the left. It doesn’t look like much, but it made all the difference when I pressed them open.
After that point, I started to get a much better feel for how to offset those corners. Because of the pinking, each pair of corners aligned differently. The key is to look at where your needle lines up when you’re stitching.
Basically, your stitches should enter and exit right through the intersection of the two segments.
It’s a little hard to see, but in the photo below, my needle is nestled right into the angle created by the corners of the two segments before I’ve started sewing, and the raw edges are aligned against the 1/4″ guide of my piecing foot.
When I pressed the segments open, here’s how it looked.
You can also check for that alignment at the other end of the seam.
Again, the raw edges align just right when pressed open.
Once I got my 10 vertical rows stitched, I played around a little with placement. Ideally, light and dark strips should alternate both vertically and horizontally. I think I didn’t pay close enough attention when I was cutting segments because I didn’t get the value placement right in places.
But with fabrics these vibrant and juicy, I don’t even care — color is doing all of the work here and getting the credit, no doubt about it.
I quilted it in the ditch vertically through the chevrons and along the wide borders, then echo quilted the chevrons horizontally. I used Warm 100 batting, resulting in a very nice, light drape.
I got the binding attached just in time to pack it in our luggage and take it to the Midwest to visit my in-laws for Christmas. I gave it to them with the binding only partially hand-stitched on the back, but it didn’t matter to them. I got precisely the reaction from my step-MIL every quilter hopes for when a quilt is given to someone special: she got a little flustered and excited, said she was hoping it was her turn to get a quilt, and oohed and aahed over the colors. Mission accomplished.
So after all that, I can only hope that my next I Love This Quilt! remake goes as smoothly and is as well received by the person I have in mind. In the meantime, if you want to make your own, the Waterfall quilt free pattern is still available to download as a pdf from our website. Send us a photo if you make it and let us know how it went!