Welcome guest blogger, quilt designer, and quilting teacher Marija Vujcic! Marija‘s new large throw quilt pattern, Sweet April, is in the January/February 2017 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine. Read on and don’t miss the super prize giveaway at the bottom of the article!
My name is Marija and I am thrilled to be a guest blogger here on McCall’s Quilting blog, and share some more with you about my quilt, Sweet April, and about me.
I have been sewing since I was ten years old, but I had never seen a quilt before I came to live in the US! I immigrated some twenty-four years ago with my husband and kids, from then war-torn Yugoslavia, for the brighter future and opportunities. Quilts are simply not a part of hand-made heritage there, but sewing clothes was a part of daily life. However, unlike garment sewists, I was always hoarding way more fabrics than I could possibly use, so there has to be some “quilting gene” in me, right?
I started quilting in 1994 when my best friend Martha showed me my first quilting book. Once I made my first quilt block, and then my first quilt (it was a Christmas quilt!), the rest was, (as we quilters know too well), history. Doodling was always my thing, but once quilts came into my life, doodling new designs, different block settings or quilting motifs became a daily routine. Pads of graph paper and colored pencils first, and now my EQ (Electric Quilt) program make ideas come to life and it was no different for Sweet April.
It started as an experiment to see the possibilities of the secondary pattern that classic Hourglass Blocks can make when alternated with other blocks like Nine-Patches – this was my start!
As I played with different colors, once this one popped-up, it somehow reminded me of rain falling on flowers… “April showers bring May flowers” came to mind!
I turned blocks on point and then it even more looked as rain falling on fresh garden blooms, so my idea was crystalized!
To make it even more so, I changed color of borders: top and right to blue, so it even more looks like sky and rain falling down onto flowers.
That was it! I really liked the idea of just two simple, basic quilt blocks depicting almost a nature scene (add some imagination!) and the pattern was born! It works with any blues and florals on a light background so you can make your own garden with fresh, spring rain.
For me however, this stunningly beautiful new fabric collection, Lavish, by extraordinarily talented Katarina Roccella, for Art Gallery Fabrics, is just so very perfect! The colors, the textures and yes, all gorgeous blooms… these fabrics just paint the picture! I played with so many different colorings…Light version, dark version, one floral, two florals…
And then finally, with McCalls staff, picked the final one.
I also had fun with playing with borders on this quilt. Breaking up wide borders with narrow strips of accent color is something I often find irresistible – it just adds a bit more pizzazz, don’t you think?
Do you do that sometimes?
Of course, if you do that and want mitered borders, some precision in matching all those points is required, but you know what? – it really isn’t that hard and it is so worth it! In this situation, I always sew all my border strips together into a strip set like this:
And then miter all of them in one step.
Do you have a favorite method for doing this?
Once the top is done, I love to look at it for a while, to get the quilting ideas flowing. Sometimes it is quick and easy, sometimes fabric is the inspiration and sometimes, it is the whole theme, like in this case. I still went with the story of April showers bring May flowers and decided to quilt this one using free motion quilting, in a diagonal direction (like the rain falls often), making these simple water-drop motifs.
Thanks to my youngest son’s girlfriend, lovely Leah, I even have a rare “action shot” of me quilting “Sweet April”!
For this I moved out of my sewing room and occupied the dining room table, since it was much bigger to support the whole quilt. It was kind of fun to be in the middle of family action too, although I am not sure if they appreciated the “intrusion”? Oh well, good that they love me, he he.
I couldn’t resist throwing in one more color accent by doing the so called “faux-piping binding” – it is really becoming my favorite binding to do! What I also love about this one is that, even though you are doing it by machine, the top stitches of the binding (on the front) are completely hidden, since they “sink” into the seam between the faux piping and binding – just perfect!
Did you try doing this type of binding already? Love it, or not so much?
Well friends, it was really such an honor to be a guest blogger here and to share some more about my quilt. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!
Notice how I sprinkled some questions throughout for you? Well, answer any one of them in the comments and you will be in the drawing for the little prize!! Complete instructions for making a small, wall size version of Sweet April and all the fabrics for top, backing and binding can be yours!!
I can’t wait to read your comments, have a wonderful holiday season!
Thanks, Marija! And thanks for providing this super prize! Leave a comment below before midnight December 11, 2016 and you’ll be entered into our random drawing. The winning name will be drawn on December 12 and notified by email with subject line beginning YOU WON.
If you’d prefer to use your own fabric and don’t already have a copy of the January/February 2017 of McCall’s Quilting, you can order print and digital magazines in our online shop. The Sweet April quilt pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download.