According to Merriam Webster, one of the definitions of Swoon is “a state of bewilderment or ecstasy”. That perfectly describes my feeling when I saw the Swoon quilt pattern for the first time. I knew I would have to make that quilt! I had the same feeling when I first saw the Ginkgo Leaves pantograph by Designs by Deb. I just knew I had to use it. When we lived in New Zealand we had a gorgeous ginkgo tree in our front yard. It turned a beautiful golden color in the autumn and may be my favorite tree!
It all came together when Jackie showed me a quilting magazine with a new line of fabric from Northcott called Woodland Ginko Stonehenge. It was stunning! It had all my favorite things… green and brown, metallic, and ginkgo leaves! So I was off to the fabric store with Swoon pattern in hand.
I decided to make a change to the pattern after seeing this posting by Double Nickel Quilts. I too, wanted to eliminate what I thought were “unnecessary seams”. The first photo below shows a partial block done by Jennifer of “Edith and Annie Blog” following the normal Swoon pattern. I absolutely love her fabric choices! However, the light blue fabric has both a vertical and horizontal seam that I don’t really care for. The other two pictures are of one of my blocks, using the Double Nickel Quilts method. I like it much better without the extra seams.
Of course the tutorial was for charm squares and not the right size for my quilt. Yay! More math! I also liked their idea about saving the “bonus HST’s” that you end up with when using their method. I learned:
- When you decide to change a pattern, you need to be prepared to do new cutting instructions yourself. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s not even possible with the shape of fabric you have (i.e. fat quarter vs. 9″ x WOF).
- Looking at other people’s quilts really helps in the design process. This was easy for Swoon because it seemed that everyone was making a Swoon quilt! There were Swoon-alongs and block of the month classes everywhere. This may seem obvious, but I had been so wrapped up in my own quilts that I hadn’t learned to really search out other people’s quilts to see what worked and what didn’t (at least in my eyes).
As the blocks progressed, I decided to turn it into another king quilt for our bed. My Sweet Pea quilt was perfect for summer, but wasn’t always wide enough for winter. That meant I was going to need new matching shams too. So it was back to the fabric store for more fabric, after some Mexican food and margaritas with Jackie and Cathy. Uh oh. More learning experiences:
- Fabric lines do not last forever, and popular fabrics sell out. The one store that I knew had the line, didn’t have the exact fabrics I wanted. I was going to have to improvise with the coordinating fabrics they did have in stock.
- I’m not very good at improvising after margaritas. I managed to get a fabric that would work well, but didn’t get enough. Argh. I ended up having to do a pieced back, which can be fun, but wasn’t exactly intentional.
With the quilt top and back off to Karen for quilting, I settled into working on the shams. I figured I had enough “bonus HST’s” to do something interesting, but I also decided I wasn’t really up for the envelope style back again. Instead I was finally going to tackle invisible zippers using this tutorial by Katie Pederson. I played with the HST’s until I had a design I liked. I sewed up two shams and sent those to Karen for quilting too. When all the quilting was done, I used the tutorial to make shams and had my last learning experience of the project:
- I loved doing the invisible zipper! The tutorial is excellent, and I’ve gone on to use it at least a dozen more times. In fact I have two pillow covers I’m working on right now that will get invisible zippers in them.
I’m really pleased with the finished products and we alternate seasonally between using the Swoon quilt and the Sweet Pea quilt.