Waterlily Quilt by Ruth McDowell »
InstructionsThis wall hanging is an exercise in the book "Piecing Workshop" by Ruth McDowell. The book includes full-size templates as well as instructions.
Type of item: Home Decor
What was your inspiration?
I made this wall hanging as an exercise in piecing using Ruth McDowell's freezer paper method. It's relatively easy as complex piecing goes, and the curves are all gentle ones. The book walks you through all aspects of making the quilt, including advice on fabric selection, and provides you with a template.
If you look up the book "Piecing Workshop" on Amazon.com and click on "Look inside this book", then go to the back cover, you will see McDowell's version of the quilt. You can also find a few other versions people have made if you put "waterlily quilt" into Google Image.
What are you most proud of?
Getting the colours to balance, particularly in terms of value. You need a good supply of darks for the background. The waterlily reflection has all been cut from a single batik fabric, which was a lovely find.
Another tricky part was that at certain points you have to do some work in mirror image, and that takes some getting used to. This waterlily quilt was one of my first experiments with freezer paper piecing, and I've been using this technique for several years now, so I'm far more used to it. I still hate the mirror image stage.
With the actual piecing, this is good training in sewing sections together where the seam joins are in slightly different places. It's an excellent idea, as it prevents you from ending up with bulky multi-seam joins, and I also like the way it looks to have them a bit offset. It helps train you in marking your pattern up carefully, with tic marks at all the different seam joins, and is also good practice for when you design your own patterns.
I haven't yet quilted it - this is still a work in progress. I'll update the project once I have the quilting done. I'm planning to do hand quilting, with relatively larger stitches and thicker thread, so it will look different to McDowell's version.
What advice would you give someone starting this project?
Work through the exercises in the book in the order suggested. OK, I skipped the middle exercise in straight piecing, but the first exercise, where you try out different types of piecing, is pretty crucial. By the time you've got through that, the relatively gentle curves in this wall hanging will seem easy by comparison!
Make sure you trace onto the shiny side of the freezer paper, otherwise you may end up with your quilt in mirror image by mistake.
Don't skimp on tic marks. If you're in the UK you may be rather puzzled by the suggestion to mark tic marks with a "soft wax pencil", and I know that the art shops I rang weren't quite sure what was meant. We decided to try Derwent Coloursoft pencils in the end, and they do the job beautifully.