September 9, 2012

quilting with my mom

Some of the happiest times I've spent with my family have been times when we are all creating together.  We love to get together and try out a new project idea or technique.  Recently, my mom and I decided to learn a traditional but (relatively) newly popular quilting technique known as "Cathedral Windows".  The allure of this pattern is not only that it looks gorgeously textured when finished, but also that it is does not require the actual quilting, batting, or backing of other quilt patterns because of the way that the fabric is folded.  It combines fabric folding reminiscent of oragami with quilting in a way that is right up my alley, and I was itching to try it. 

With one of her tried and true quilting books in hand, my mom arrived at my house ready to get to work.  Many traditional quilts made this way use muslin so that you can really see through it when it is held up to light, but we used Robert Kaufman's Kona cotton, which is a lovely weight for this application.  You can also choose to use lots of different fabrics for the "windows" or to do as we did and use a single fabric throughout the project.  I loved the effect of Emily Herrick's Sea Star with the crisp white "frames" of the windows. 

As we worked, we made a couple of variations to the pattern we were following, and we were very pleased with the effect we achieved.  The steps that I outline below are the ones that we ultimately settled on.  After you get used to the steps of the pattern, I highly recommend playing around with different fabrics and variations, as small changes make a big impact with this technique.  It's very simple to vary the size of each of the blocks, for example, and that makes the whole design play differently.  I do find myself referencing the steps over and over as I work, though, so I created this handy project card that you can print and keep next to you as you cut and sew.  Simply click on the card to get to a pdf version that you can print easily.  I love to have a quick reference that I can glue into my project notebook.

So try it out--I'd love to see pictures of your projects!  Feel free to post any to my Facebook page.  Consider yourself warned, however.  This can be addictive!