Tag Archives: Loulouthi Tiles

Loulouthi Tiles – Finished!

It’s official–I handed over the Loulouthi Tiles quilt. It wasn’t without its hurdles, but I absolutely love how this quilt turned out!

Loulouthi Tiles quilt top

Loulouthi Tiles quilt top

This quilt is based on a free pattern from Stitched in Color, and after a bit of thinking, came together very quickly. I was able to piece the top in one day.

The back took about half a day to put together, mostly because I’m daft. It is primarily plain black, with two strips of the tile fabrics, ranging from the purple to the green, going in opposite directions across the top and bottom of the quilt.

Loulouthi Tiles quilt back. No, I don't know what's going on with the colours in this photo. NEON!

Loulouthi Tiles quilt back. No, I don’t know what’s going on with the colours in this photo. NEON!

Top colour stripe.

Top colour stripe.

At the bottom corner is a small embroidered block made by Rachel’s mom to commemorate the occasion, with the embroidery done in thread colours that match the quilt colours.

Bottom colour stripe with dedication

Bottom colour stripe with dedication

For the quilting, I made concentric squares/rectangles in the smaller tiles, and diagonal lines across the three feature tiles. I used 40wt Aurifil thread, with a dark grey in the bottom and a variegated green on top for the blue/green tiles, and a variegated purple for the purple tiles. Sorry–don’t have the numbers handy.

Some quilting detail.

Some quilting detail.

Oddly, the pattern says this makes a 73”x85” quilt, unless you add an extra row of blocks to make it 85”x97”. Well, I didn’t add an extra row and it came out around 85”x95”. Strange. At any rate, that puts it somewhere between a queen and a king size, which you can imagine (and as I related) was a delight to do on my JL250. I am very pleased with how it turned out though. One of the issues with the quilting that I think relates directly to the small machine, is that I wasn’t able to properly stretch the fabric, so in most of the tiles it bunched up a bit between the stitch lines on the outer edges of the tile. I think it looks ok, but it obviously would have looked better if it were flat. perhaps that’ll fix itself when the quilt is washed and shrinks a bit?

Let’s have a chat about this pattern.

I know. I know I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, since this was a free pattern, but I had to share a couple of problems I had with it. Before I do, though, I’d like to say that the piecing instructions were excellent and it’s a beautiful and fairly simple quilt to put together once you deal with the issues below. I may make it again with different fabric, but at least I’ll know the pitfalls, and may write it out a little differently for myself to help me avoid these problems.

The namesake of this quilt is the Loulouthi fabric line by Anna Maria Horner . Now, I don’t generally buy whole fabric lines. Firstly, because I usually can’t afford them, but mostly, because they give me the feeling that everyone is making the same things. I read dozens of quilting blogs and on a given day, half a dozen will post something they made using the same fabrics and I just get turned off by the same-sameyness of it all. I’m looking at you, Briar Rose; go away!

With that in mind, my problem was that when it came to the fabric requirements, the instructions read:

Let’s first discuss the “half yard or 13”x44” cut. I sketched this out. I went to Visio and did diagrams to see why a half yard cut would be necessary, since I couldn’t see how an extra five inches would be of any use for this quilt, given that the tile lengths are 11.5”. It took me a while to figure out that the reason that half-yard measure is offered is that some stores will only sell fabric in quarter-yard increments, and that a quarter yard, at 9” would be too narrow for the tiles, but I think this should have been qualified with a statement like:

You will only need 13”x44” for the next ten cuts, but if your store only sells in quarter-yard increments, you will have to buy half a yard, as a quarter-yard cut will be insufficient.

Fabric is expensive and with ten different fabrics, that’s nearly a yard and a half in extra fabric that isn’t needed for the quilt, if you are lucky enough to be able to buy fabric in small increments. My local fabric shop, for example, sells in 5” increments.

Next, I wasn’t going to use Loulouthi fabric for this quilt and I assume I’m not the only one, so it would have been easier if this had included instructions to the effect of:

If you are choosing your own fabrics for this quilt, you’ll need one yard each of three feature fabrics, and half yard OR 13”x44”* cuts of ten other fabrics.

This would have saved me having to sit there and count how many fabrics I needed. Yes, the instructions say this quilt uses thirteen fabrics so I could have figured it out once I deducted the three feature fabrics, but I still would have liked this simplified. It’s not unheard of for sewing directions to either be missing steps or to have extra steps that don’t correspond to the fabric requirements, and if I’m going to spend money on fabric, I’m going to double-check. I imagine this quilt pattern was written with that “Purchase bundles at Marmalade Fabrics” line in mind, so it was just assumed quiltmakers would buy the bundle and get on with it, or buy another fabric line bundle that would work equally well, but since I don’t buy fabric lines these fabric requirement required me to put in a fair bit of extra work. I’m hardly a professional quilter, but if I struggled with this, I think new quilters will, too.

But this wasn’t my main problem with this pattern. The cutting instructions were, and in a way, this relates to the fabric selection issue.

Again, these cutting instructions assume you’re using Loulouthi fabric. Since I was using a limited range of colours and needed to make sure that the quilt was balanced and that I didn’t accidentally have all the purples crammed in one corner, I had to map the fabrics in the cutting instructions to the fabrics I had, and to assign numbers to them to check out the balance. In this picture, taken after I’d already done all of this, you can see small blue squares on the tiles, which were my numbering tickets.

Numbered blocks

Numbered blocks

This mapping took me ages to do, mostly because of the way that second bullet is written. In the third bullet, each fabric is listed in a sub-bullet, so it’s easy to map,  but in the second bullet the fabrics are listed in sentence form, which makes it really messy to insert notations into the pattern.

In the end, it all worked out beautifully, but these were just the quibbles that gave me a headache when I was working on this quilt. Am I being too picky? Would you be bothered by these things? Is it ok to criticize something that’s free? Let me know what you think.

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

Huh, is it Wednesday already?

I’ve got a few irons in the fire at the moment, but the most pressing one (pressing! harhar!) is getting Rachel’s quilt finished. On Saturday I put together the quilt back (of which I took no photos because… I don’t know). It is, as requested, mostly black, but I added two 2,5″ stripes near the top and near the bottom with scraps from the front, running from purple to green, in alternating directions. I also included a small square near the bottom with an embroidered dedication, made by mom. It took me ages to put the back together, mostly because I’m one of these people who cut first and then measure, but in the end it turned out just fine.

I spray basted the quilt on Sunday morning, which took ages and was really messy because I was doing it on our carpet which is just covered in lint and cat hair. This normally doesn’t show, except when you’re working with black fabric, so there was an awful lot of de-linting as I was getting it ready to quilt. It was so tiring that I took a couple of hours’ break and went to the kitchen to make some stock and jam, only to come back to this:

Kiwi and Schnitzel, sending me a message to take the rest of the day off.

Kiwi and Schnitzel, sending me a message to take the rest of the day off.

How cute are they?! They stayed in that position for a good three hours and I didn’t have the heart to push them off, so I just left them and puttered a bit more. By the time they finally walked away the quilt was completely wrinkled and hairy and I had to press and de-lint it, again. I decided they were giving me a message to take the rest of the day off.

We had a bank holiday on Monday so I started quilting that morning. Because I insist on making things hard for myself, I decided to quilt each block in straight-line spirals. Is that a thing? Not sure what term to use to describe starting on the outside of the square and working in? Concentric squares? Here are a couple of pictures.

Concentric squares. Notice THE ENTIRE QUILT in that six" throat space?

Concentric squares. Notice THE ENTIRE QUILT in that six” throat space? FUN!

You’ll notice I’m using a regular foot, not a walking foot. That’s because the walking foot that came with my machine has nowhere to slot in a guide. Well done, Janome! Ever so helpful to do that so I’ll pony up £40 for an actually usable walking foot! This might explain why I got a bit of squishiness at the start of some of the squares. It’s obviously annoying, but I’m not especially fussed about it.

Things get a little squashy at the start of each block.

I’m using an Aurifil 50wt thread and I honestly don’t know how I ever sewed with Gutermann. It is AWFUL. I tried using it in my machine after I put the quilt aside and it just jammed up constantly. Infuriating. Anyway, for the top I’ve used a variegated blue/green shade and on the back I’m using a dark grey. I’ve only been quilting the blue/green squares so far, but I’ll switch to the variegated purple when I’m ready to tackle these. For the three feature blocks I was thinking of quilting just diagonal lines in one direction, just to switch things up a bit.

I realized this weekend that I’ll need to finish the whole quilt by this weekend as the birthday girl turns 18 on the tenth. NO PRESSURE.


Loulouthi Tiles quilt

Checking in with my first Work-In-Progress Wednesday post.

When my friend asked me to make a quilt for her daughter’s 18th birthday I got really excited. I’ve been wanting to make a version of Tula Pink’s Fade to Pink quilt for a while and having seen this version of it, I figured I could do it almost completely from my stash. So one morning before I went to work I pulled together some fabric and sent her this photo:

Fade to pink 1

The response I got was: “Am thinking vivid, but restricting colours to blue, purple, red? Any views?”

I could get excited about red, but purple and blue? And red, purple, and blue together? I countered with this suggestion of light blues and greens:

Fade to pink 2

The response was: “Just make it purple and blue with a black background.”

Hmm. I was starting to have some doubts at this point. I went to the Abakhan sale hoping to find something because I don’t have much in the stash in those shades, and was looking for some sort of patterned black for the sashing and back (I really don’t like solids), which I couldn’t really find much of. I texted to tell her I was struggling with it and she said: “Oh, no. Just plain black. That way if she hates it she can just turn it over and will have a black blanket.”

I nearly cried. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do less than make this quilt.

I had a think about it and decided to abandon Fade to Pink. If I was going to make a Tula quilt, I wanted to at least enjoy it! I looked around and found the Loulouthi Tiles quilt at Stitched in Color, which could work with a limited palette and wouldn’t be difficult to put together (ha!). When I went to Toronto I managed to get loads of plain black cotton at Fabricland for $4 a meter (FOUR DOLLARS A METER! I’d be lucky to pay that for a fat quarter in the UK). Then I went to Sew Sisters and started taking apart their batik wall until I could come up with the right combination of blues and purples. I confess, there was some green in there, too. I was pushing the envelope on this a bit and was afraid that after all that, my friend wouldn’t like it anyway, at which point I’d be stuck with a quilt that the Germ wouldn’t even let me have in the house because its colours would be so. sad.

I managed to get the fabric cut and the top pieced in one day, and well, don’t I just LOVE IT!

Loulouthi assembly

All laid out. Don’t worry, the cats got to it every time I had my back turned and I had to completely reorganize it about three times.

Loulouthi main panels

Main panels detail. I am in flove with that purple.

The outcome certainly turned my frown upside down. These still aren’t the colours I’d naturally gravitate towards, but they work so well together and I hope the birthday girl loves it, too (her mom did–yay!).

Loulouthi top

Finished quilt top.

Since my deadline for this is early September, I’m hoping to finish this off this weekend. I had a possible epiphany about machine quilting the binding and I’m eager to try it and to report back.