Laura has finished making the Chocolate Box Quilt BOM from 2021. This block of the month project focussed on the technique of foundation paper piecing which was the first time a product using this technique has been produced by my studio. The finished quilt is really stunning. I love the vibrant individual colours of each block – it works so well. Laura talks about her make here.
“Making the Chocolate Box Quilt throughout the year has been so much fun. Not only do I now have a lovely Liberty quilt to call my own but I have had an amazing time making it piece by piece. I loved having a project to pick up and put down as I could, if dinner took 40 minutes in the oven I’d jump on the sewing machine and make a bit more progress before the timer rang.”
“Once you get into it, the steps of sew, cut, iron, sew, cut, iron become rather hypnotic! There were certainly days I’d start sewing in the morning and continue well into the evening as I was enjoying it so much- all without knowing how much time had passed. The entire process of making is so good for the mind, once sat in front of the machine all my other thoughts and worries are set aside so I can make. Being able to focus on something so tactile and creative is brilliant for our wellbeing, no wonder arts and crafts are used as part of therapy for all ages and situations.”
“Liberty Tana Lawn® offers such a huge range of prints and colours, I especially enjoy the bright colours used throughout the quilt. There is the full rainbow of colours, from bold reds and happy yellows to cool blues and rich purples leading back to those reds again. A quilt full of so many colours is a spot of joy around the house and makes for endless admiration. I also love the difference in tone within each ‘chocolate’. Though one chocolate may appear a certain type of pink, for example, it still has light and dark areas within it because of the scale or density of the print, the variation is so nice. In this quilt I can definitely see lots of colourful foil wrapped chocolates in a giant gift box, their moulded surface creating areas of light and shade.”
“My best friend throughout making the quilt was most definitely the Add-A-Quarter Ruler, I just couldn’t believe what a difference it made to efficient foundation paper piecing (FPP). I had heard of it being praised by FPPers before but honestly didn’t think it’d be all that heaven sent, however I was happily wrong! Other handy tools were a sharp rotary cutter and small cutting mat, positioned right between the machine and iron for easy access. It feels to me like FPP is not seen as one of the more accessible sewing techniques but this shouldn’t be the case. It is such an easy technique that allows for very intricate blocks to be achieved- with very neat points! Another amazing benefit of FPP is that you don’t have to pre-cut any shapes- how is that not the most amazing thing ever?! I am so very excited to have a go designing my own blocks now that I know how to FPP. It feels like my sewing world has grown wider!”
“(This is a very slight aside to the quilt but I have to share this with you because it Is great and hopefully inspiring:
In fact! FPP was so easy and I kept going on about how easy and beginner friendly it was that my boyfriend Oliver said, ‘Alright, put me to the test then’ and so I did! He drew a doodle of a fox-mouse thing stealing a bag of money (Apparently it is Disney’s Robin Hood, so it’s supposed to be a fox… I’ll leave it up to you, the audience, to decide if does indeed look like a fox. My vote is it looks like a mouse.) I then turned the drawing of the not-mouse thief thing into an FPP pattern while he raided my Liberty fabric scraps. Then, I let Oliver loose on the sewing machine! I did give him instructions from afar but it didn’t take long for him to pick up the rhythm of the steps and whizz away at it himself. He used the machine to stitch-draw the arms and legs on aaaand voila- he did a great job! We have it framed above the dining table now, it is great 🙂 (P.S. the Liberty he used is: Summer Blooms, Fairford and Strawberry Thief)
SO there you have it, proof that FPP is simple and great! If Oliver (who hadn’t touched a sewing machine for 9 years prior to this) can do it so can anyone 😀 )
“Detour over, back to the actual Chocolate Box Quilt!
The sashiko style hand quilting makes a real feature of the ‘paper cases’ and just adds to the luxury chocolate gift box look of the quilt. I was especially grateful that the dashed lines meant I didn’t have to think about how long my stitches were, I only had to follow their guidance – phew! I used the Aurifil floss threads and just a regular needle I had in my sewing supplies. It simply had an eye large enough to fit the floss through and a sharp point to push through all the layers of the quilt sandwich. I also had more than enough floss in each colour to finish the whole quilt, I choose to match the colour of the floss with the colour of the FPP ‘chocolate’ but I’m sure however others do their own hand quilting will be just as pretty. I am mostly a machine sewer so that the entire hand quilting process was very enjoyable was a surprise! I thought I’d enjoy it the least, but actually it was equally fun as the FPP on the machine. I guess that comes back to the idea of crafting with our hands being great for us. I was able to quilt outside with the sun on my face and the birds chirping- it was so great!”
‘One important thing I wish to share about the process of hand-making a quilt is that you should do it at whatever pace brings you the most happiness and works for your lifestyle! There is no need to ever feel ‘behind’ in the process as we all work in different ways. There were certainly times where I caught myself feeling that way and had to give myself a good ol’ shake because it is just not true, nor is it helpful to the creative process. It is ok to have a break when you need to, I certainly did and then picked it back up when I wanted to. Making a quilt is never a race and though you most certainly can finish the quilt in a year, it really does not matter how little or much time it takes for the quilt to be complete. One of the great things about quilt making is that the joy is in both the journey and the final destination, so it is a major win/win all around.”
“This winter, I will be keeping the quilt on my couch so I can snuggle into it in front of the fire and watch as many cheesy Christmas films as possible. When not in use as an actual blanket, it will be artfully folded/draped over the couch so as to catch the eye and draw positive comments from all who come over for a visit this season (The couch is right by the front door so it will be hard to miss. During warmer times, I have a few options for its display. I could fold it in half and drape it over the back of the couch as a sort of super pretty cover, use it on the guest bed so the whole of it can be seen, or fold it into a long rectangle and drape it over the foot of my bed for decoration. As option three requires me to actually make my bed daily I may go with one of the other ideas, haha. Wherever it ends up around the house, I just know I’ll be making detours to visit/admire/stroke it, I am so very proud of it.”
“If you have participated in/are participating in a block of the month quilt you will also love the process and be so proud of what you have made! I can’t wait to see photos of everyone else Chocolate Box Quilts, it will be exciting to see the similarities and differences between them – everyone is so creative! It will be odd not to have a quilt I can fill the hours with, I may just have to start another.”