May 27, 2013

Big Finish: Celtic Motion Group Quilt

Celtic Motion quilt

I must point out that this is my third "Big Finish" post in a row, which shows you how many deadlines I've had this spring.  I'm looking forward to more fun, in-progress style posts to come, but for now, here's the lowdown on this group quilt project.

Celtic Motion quilt

The blocks that make up this quilt were constructed by 16 people with varying levels of sewing experience and skill. In my other life, I'm part of an adult Irish dance group called Celtic Motion. One of our longtime members is getting married this summer, and another member suggested that we all work together to create a quilt as gift from the group. After ruling about a bunch of designs that would be too complicated, we settled on the Four Ways Knot pattern, which is a foundation paper piecing pattern available for download on Craftsy.



I selected a foundation paper piecing pattern because I knew it would produce the most consistent blocks, which would make putting them all together into a quilt top more manageable.  I created the two blocks above to test the pattern and show the group what they'd be making.  Each contributor received a kit containing all the neutral fabric pieces they'd need, paper foundations for the 4 quadrants that make up the block, and a neutral square for their signature block.  Each contributor was responsible for providing his/her own green fabrics, with the only requirement that the greens contrast each other for the best visual impact.  I also created detailed instructions with photos showing what the quadrant should look like at every step.  Some folks made 1 block, some 2, and some more.  I lost track of how many I made in the end -- 6, I think.  Another contributor and I trimmed and sewed all the 4 quadrants into blocks, again to ensure some uniformity.

Celtic Motion quilt, basted

After all 30 blocks were made, my partner in this project assembled the top with sashing and borders. We shopped for backing, and then I spent 2 hours using every last pin I own basting the quilt. I took advantage of the empty classroom space at my local quilt shop to spread it out on their tables and make the pinning process much easier.


The 10-inch blocks made it necessary to quilt over them instead of around them, so I used a simple crosshatch pattern and marked every line first to keep them all straight and evenly spaced.



For the back, we chose a green quilter's flannel with a leaf print, and I inserted the panel of signature blocks that everyone made and signed.  We used this tutorial for the blocks.

Celtic Motion quilt

Celtic Motion quilt, signature panel
I played with some different layouts while these little blocks were up on my design wall.  We had the perfect number for a 6x6 block, and I thought it needed a frame to set it off from the rest of the quilt back.

Celtic Motion quilt
Finally, leftover bits of fabric made a scrappy binding, and I used my favorite decorative stitch to secure the binding by machine.  This quilt was a lot of work -- from planning to creating instructions to coordinating to finishing.  I was lucky to have some enthusiastic contributors who were so thrilled to see their work come together into the finished quilt.  For some, it was the first thing they'd ever sewn on a sewing machine!  Everyone did a great job, and I hope this quilt is appreciated and used for many years.

Celtic Motion quilt, scrappy binding

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