March 18, 2016

Cascade Amy Butler Style

My newest finish . . . Tequila Sunrise.

tequila sunrise quilt, Cascade quilt pattern by SpringLeaf Studios

I've been wanting to make a new quilt with my Cascade pattern and when these lovely, mostly Amy Butler, fabrics found their way to the top of my stash it was time. After months of winter drab, some intense color therapy was definitely in order. Think tropical sunsets or desert blooms.

In the beginning, I pulled several fabrics for consideration. Some are Kaffe Fassett. There's also some Tula Pink and Valorie Wells. But mostly it's Amy Butler prints from her Bright Heart and Soul Blossoms collections. While not all are from the same fabric line or designer, they are mostly from the same manufacturer so the coloring works quite well together.

To start, I auditioned the fabrics on my design wall to determine which ones worked. I eliminated the far left top row as too white, the 4th and 5th from the right in the middle row because they had too much green/blue and the far right bottom row plus the big floral hanging down lower. Leo was a great help in the selection process. He really knows his colors.

Once the final palette was chosen, the cutting got underway. I just love to see the pile of trimmings build up. Even though none of this is really useable I still have trouble throwing them away. I've been known to throw trimmings like these into glass jars just for the color. Now I toss them in a bag to be used later for pet bed stuffing. What can I say? It's hard to let go . . .

With the pieces cut, the next step was figuring out the arrangement of prints. I started by nailing down the large square arrangement on my design wall. I ended up placing the cool colors in somewhat of a value sequence from dark to light. The colors are so intense and saturated there isn't a great deal of value change so it's mostly a contrast of color rather than value. After the large square positions are determined, I placed the small squares that form the triangles by folding them over on the diagonal.

Piecing the top went quickly once my design decisions were made. That's one of the things I love about the Cascade pattern . . . it goes together fast. All the seams nest so the alignment is easy too.

Basting isn't my favorite thing to do. Usually I clean the floor, then spread it all out and baste on my hands and knees. Talk about sore knees and lower back!  So this time I used my folding craft table. I could only do part of it at a time and was a little worried the back might not be smooth enough but it all worked perfectly. I can't see doing a very big quilt this way but for quilts up to about 60" wide it works fine. And to think I nearly sold this table because I wasn't using it. Whew . . . glad I didn't. It's coming in handy for a lot of things. And my back is happy.

I quilted wandering wavy lines from top to bottom. The back is pieced with a row of blocks and I needed to make sure these were as straight as possible to the quilt front when I basted the layers. I think it turned out pretty darn good.

Finishing up wasn't without a small glitch. I managed to twist the binding when I sewed the ends together. It wasn't the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last time I make this mistake. Bet you've done that one at least once too. At least it's an easy fix.

I usually hand stitch my bindings but this time I used the machine binding method where you sew the binding to the back (instead of the front) and then fold it over to the front and top stitch it down. I like this machine method because I can see how the stitching lines up along the binding. It's not without it's problems though. For one, the binding is just never as straight as my hand stitched binding are. For another, I don't love how the stitching shows on the front. But it's better than when I stitch in the ditch and blindly try (hope) to catch the binding on the back. That method never works well for me. I'll keep trying and experimenting with my stitching alignment and maybe I'll get better and it will look nicer. I used aqua thread on top to match the binding and orange in the bobbin to make the backing. Worked fairly well. Do you have a preferred machine binding technique?

I tossed it on my studio chair last night after finishing the binding and first thing this morning a certain fuzzy girl found her way underneath. Isn't she sweet?

If you're interested in Cascade you can find it on Craftsy and Etsy.

Linking up with NTT at My Quilt Infatuation.