With my Kept fabrics now hitting stores, I’m excited to share more about my Clay Kept quilt.
Deciding on a Technique
I’ve made a couple of Clay quilts already–the throw-sized version that is on the pattern cover, and the mini wall hanging that is the project that started it all. I made both quilts using needle-turn appliqué by hand, one of my favorite techniques. It’s relaxing and you get to feel and enjoy each fabric and color as you go, which can be magical.
With this new version I wanted to do something a little different. Instead of doing a by-hand approach, I decided to go with raw-edge, fusible appliqué. There is no one way that you have to do appliqué just like there’s no one way that you have to make a quilt. You can do what you want and how you want it.
With raw-edge, fusible appliqué there are different things to consider. For me, I’d need to make sure to have a fusible product on hand that I felt comfortable using. (I used Lite Steam-A-Seam 2, which in general is fine.) I’m not always happy with the stiff-ness or bulk that using a fusible can add to the final project, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing when what I’m making is a wall hanging–my project plan here. For this reason and others, it’s a really good idea to do a few tests with all of the materials you plan to use.
The other thing I wanted to think about is how I would finish it. While some of the fusible products say you don’t have to stitch down your fused pieces, I do like the idea of securing my work so everything stays in place over time. I’m making a wall hanging, and I don’t anticipate washing it often (or ever), but I want it to look polished.
The quilting is a great place to think about this. Since it needs to be quilted anyway, why not use quilting to further secure and enhance all of the pieces? For these reasons I knew I’d want to do some matchstick (or close-together and dense) quilting.
Picking a Palette
After deciding on technique, I needed to pick my palette. I LOVE picking a palette! It is especially exciting on a project like this where you’re arranging the pieces in place and it can feel like a painting or an exciting adventure in composition.
What I usually do is to go with my gut. I knew I wanted this blue print from the new collection for the background. It looks like a bathroom tile or a wallpaper to me. I like that it gives the background a little bit of texture, but it can also be a great support for whatever colors and prints I want to add on top.
Sometimes it is helpful to get your background fabric nailed down first. Then you have something to audition the appliqué choices. Or the reverse could also be true if you had a great selection of fabrics for the appliqués. Then it’s just a matter of swapping out background options until you find the one that works best.
My appliqué fabrics are a mix of prints from Kept and their coordinating solids in a range of various shades and colors.
The Clay Kept Quilt
I really enjoyed laying everything out. After preparing my background, I laid it on the floor. (A design wall would be great too!) Next I cut out my pieces and arranged them onto the background, moving things around as I wished and as I added more pieces. If there is something I like, like certain shapes or colors grouped together, I might do more of it, and if there is something I don’t like, I try to do less of it. This constant back and forth of asking myself what I’m liking and not liking is not just helpful, but it makes the project more engaging and fun.
After I’m happy with the layout, I fused the pieces to the background, basted the quilt and got to quilting.
Here’s a great tip from Jacquie Gering when you are using a fusible product. In one of her lectures, I learned to use eyeglass cleaner to clean your needle frequently when quilting a project with fusible. A big drawback of using any fusible is how it can gum up your needle. I’ve found that this trick really helps! I’d clean my needle after a couple of passes on the quilt, which took extra time, but saved in frustration in the end.
The binding is this bright Orangeade Kona solid. When making a wall hanging, sometimes I love how a good, contrasting binding can act as a frame. This one is bright and cheerful.
Pattern and Fabric Details
Pattern: Clay Quilt Pattern, Wall Size
Fabric(s): Kept and the coordinating solids (Kona, Essex Speckle)