Saturday, 21 February 2015

Summer Picnic

My Spring Summer Picnic quilt is finished. And while i didn't quite have it finished to enjoy the Australian spring as hoped, it is ready to make the most of the last remnants of summer.

For me, this quilt is all about the colours. Colours that really please my eyes and say 'take me out onto some lush, green grass and enjoy the warmth, blue skies and fresh air outdoors'. The design is simple...super simple....but i really like how in it's simplicity, it's reminiscent of the table cloths we used on picnic tables when i was young.

I was inspired to make my Summer Picnic quilt after seeing Annie's Picnic Quilt by Malka Dubrawsky (p.122 of her book Fresh Quilting; Fearless Color, Design & Inspiration) (You can read more about that here).

I also really liked the colour combinations in Kaffe Fassett's Green Shirt Stripes fabric, so while the solids are primarily shades of green, i've tended to include some prints and squares of purple and blue to liven things up a little. I've used Kaffe's Green Shirt Stripes for the binding.

Today, we headed off to the sculpture garden outside the Australian National Gallery in Canberra to take some photo's. As usual, my assistants were very helpful and the perfect picnic quilt testers; 
1. rolling on it - tick
2. munching yummy things on it -  tick
3. jumping and running all over it - tick
4. Hurricane proof? - tick.

Lesson learnt - 

Rip-Stop Fabric is too slippery to quilt using my walking foot!

One of the reasons for the delay in finishing the quilt was because i'd decided to experiment a bit with some Rip-Stop as backing. I thought Rip-Stop would make the perfect backing for a picnic it a bit of water/dirt proofing when the ground is a little damp. So after whipping up the quilt top, i thread basted the quilt sandwich ready to go.

My plan was for simple 1/4 inch quilting either side of the seams with my wonderful walking foot. Sounds easy right? Well, i battled and fought with the quilt as it slipped and created horrible, irregular, messy quilting lines. I persisted for several lines of quilting before i was so disappointed, i turned off my Bernina and set the quilt aside while i decided what to do.

Now, don't get me wrong, my machine quilting is far from perfect at the best of times. My main problem usually happens when dealing with larger quilts and the thread length will vary as i tug and battle with the weight and size of the quilt and i often end up disappointed and not enjoying the quilting process (for that reason i usually opt to take big quilts to my lovely long-arm friends).

But this was soooo much worse. At times like this, a girl needs to consult her Mum and she agreed that i should unpick the mess i'd made, remove the Rip-Stop, make a new backing from the left over fabrics i'd used on the top, re-make the sandwich and quilt it as planned. And, i'm very happy i did. Despite a few wonky imperfections (aka Hurricane assistance) and some of the usual variations in thread length, it's ready and raring for picnics.

I can't wait to take it out for another date. I look forward to some lazy napping, sharing yummy nibbles with family and friends and the likely job of working out how to best remove the evidence that a good time was had; red-wine, homemade beetroot dip (my favourite) and probably some tomato sauce.

Cheers to many years of picnics ahead,

Linking up with:
- Kim at Persimon Dreams for TGIFF,
- Lorna for Lets Bee Social and

Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday


  1. Hi! This is fantastic quilt! So juicy, beautiful and I love the simple pattern! Great photos! x Teje

  2. So simple, so beautiful, and surely it will be well-loved by your family for many summer picnics to come.

  3. You have quilted this just as I imagined finishing my second shirt quilt. I have it basted, I just need to sew! (I am nervous as I face all the quilting problems you do and love my long-arm friends.)
    I am sorry to hear about the RipStop disaster. I guess there is a lot to be said for boring old fabric and throwing things in the washing machine after the picnic. At least it is still good drying weather!

  4. I just love these colours too - so fresh and vibrant. Sorry about the backing - but glad you had the heart to unpick and try something different. I remember someone suggesting using Ikea home decor fabric for picnic blanket backs as it is more sturdy that regular cotton... if you ever want to make another one!

  5. Lovely colors, and great pictures!

  6. love all these spring/summer pictures and great picnic quilt! we are having snow here in the winter in US

  7. Wonderful, Wonderful photos Jen! Such sweet family shots! That color combination is divine too!
    Rip stop sounds like such a great idea... thank goodness you saved the quilt after that.

  8. I can almost smell grass looking at your pictures - it all looks so fresh, lush and green and your quilt is perfect! When I made my first picnic quilt, my daughter's managed to get vegemite on it during the photo shoot ... can get more Aussie than that :) PS love your little one's shorts too - cute!

  9. What a beautiful picnic quilt, I just love those colours together. And I feel for you on the backing, I used an old shower curtain on the back of a picnic quilt once, and it was a complete nightmare to sew! I wish I'd done what you decided to do and taken it off, but instead I have a quilt which must surely break records for the least quilting ever on a quilt!

  10. This is a gorgeous quilt, with the very sweetest of pictures to go with it!!


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Wishing you many happy quilting hours!