When it rains, look for rainbows

Is there anyone who doesn’t love rainbows?  They are so beautiful; a symbol of hope and a promise of better things to come.
Rainbow over rooftops

Rainbow over rooftops

The beautiful colours of Fancy by Lily Ashbury simply lent themselves to a rainbow quilt.  Even the press information about this collection described it as being like “rays of sunshine on a cloudy day” and “gorgeous, lush, and drenched with colour”.  


The collection was missing a purple so I hunted though my fabrics to find something suitable.  This was harder than it might seem as purple, particularly a dark reddish purple, is not a common colour in quilting fabrics (they seem to tend toward lavender and bluish purples).  Thankfully I found two.  

Purple fabrics

Purple fabrics

The sharks tooth is a fabulous match as the pattern mimics others in the Fancy collection.  The second had little birds on it.  At first, I wasn’t sure if this would really work with the other fabrics.  But then I remembered that in the song, “happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow” so it was obviously meant to be.  


The spectrum of colours made a coin quilt design an obvious choice for me.  I had so much fun making my last off-set coin quilt, I decided to use this as the basis for my rainbow quilt.  For this quilt, I used a jelly roll and simply removed any duplicate fabric strips.  The fabrics were used in the same order they were presented in the jelly roll and the same design was used across a row in each of the five columns.  A Flurry spot (Dashwood studios) in light teal was the perfect choice for the background.   


I had no dilemmas about what to use for the backing fabric.  It just had to be unicorns.  I mean, what else would you expect to find behind a rainbow?  Visitors to my Bucks Open Studios event were asked to help me choose which unicorn fabric to use.


Unicorn fabric from Far Far Away collection

Unicorn fabric by Heather Ross

It was an even split between the green and the purple colour ways of this lovely whimsical design by Heather Ross from her Far Far Away collection.


In the end, the decision was taken out of my hands as I could only source enough of the green colour way to complete the backing. Either one would have worked however the green is a beautiful, soothing colour that is the perfect counterfoil for the riot of colours on the front. 


The lovely, swirly Curlz (it’s my favourite) was used as the quilting design and a glorious sunshine yellow from the Linen Cupboard collection was chosen for the binding.


Off-set coin rainbow quilt

Off-set coin rainbow quilt


This cuddly, warm quilt in cheerful, sunny colours cannot fail to  banish dark days and rainy skies.  

Fresh cut coin quilt

Fresh Cut is the latest design by Basic Grey for Moda.  I snapped up a couple of charm packs (5 inch squares) as soon as it arrived in the UK.  It is a gorgeous collection of soft aqua, peach and beige with accents of hot pink, bright green, grey and a really lovely spicy orange.  It reminds me of a summer garden just after a shower of rain. 
Now, what to make with it?  Rather than take the easy option and just sew the squares together, I decided to stretch my charm squares with a background fabric to get a larger quilt.  So, ta dah,  here you have another coin quilt.


This design is super easy to put together.  Simply cut the charm pack squares in half to make the fabric “coins” and sew them back together again in long columns, interspersed between columns of a background fabric.   
Coin quilt detail
Charm packs make a LOT of coins to play with.   I had so many left over that I incorporated a single strip on the back, making the quilt fully reversible.
I wish I could show you a close up of the background fabric but it just would not photograph.  It is a really lovely off-white tone on tone pattern of little crosshatches from the Doe collection by Carolyn Friedlander.
For the binding, I chose the tiny floral with the grey background from the Fresh Cut collection which makes a lovely frame for the quilt.
This quilt is a great size, about 50 inches square.  Just right for a sofa throw or to keep at the end of the bed for those chilly nights.

Pot luck off-set coin quilt

It must be pretty obvious by now that I love, love, strip quilts.  I love the simplicity of them and how they really show off the fabrics.  My latest strip quilt is a variation of a design called chinese coins, or stacked coins.  
You can see where the pattern gets its name as the coloured fabric columns look like piles of money.  Often the fabric coins are stacked exactly on top of one another.  In this case, as the coins are off-set, they look as though they have been piled higgledy pigglegy.
A single jelly roll, from the Pot Luck collection by American Jane for Moda, was used to make the quilt coins.  I love the retro look of these designs and colours.  To me they seem very reminiscent of the 1950s.
For the back I used a fantastic giant text print called Nummer, from Ikea of all places.  Many quilters use it and this was the perfect project for me to try it for myself.  I think it is the perfect partner for the quilt top; the large writing works so well with the little numbers on the tape measures. 
The quilt was professionally long arm quilted with a design called feathers.  I chose it because of the tiny chicken fabric.  After washing, the quilt did shrink a bit but I don’t care.  It is still a great size (about 60 inches square) and I love the textured look and feel that the quilting creates. 

Jelly roll quilt

I love this quilt.  It’s bright.  It’s colourful.  It’s cheerful.  Even the backing fabric, from the Happi range by Dena Designs, echoes the theme

The pattern is a traditional one called stacked coins but traditional doesn’t have to mean old fashioned.  It looks very modern when made up in these bright, bold fabrics.  

I used this Honey Honey jelly roll, another Moda pre-cut, to make the quilt.  Jelly rolls contain 40 or 42 fabric strips, each two and a half inches wide and cut across the width of the fabric.  As with layer cakes, they are a good way to play with a full fabric collection as there is a least one strip of each design in the roll.  

After cutting, the jelly roll strips were sewn into long columns and then set within a jewel purple sashing which shows the colours off beautifully.  To complement the bright, cheerfulness of the quilt, it was long-arm quilted in a giant daisy pattern using a variegated pink and mauve thread.

The quilt binding, using the green checked fabric from the Honey Honey collection, is a little deeper than I generally use but I think it suits the larger size of this quilt.  At 184cm by 169cm, it makes a perfect picnic blanket or would make a fabulous gift for a young woman off to university.  And of course, it would look great on a bed or sofa too.