Sunday, March 20, 2016

Finished! Berry Bravo Quilt (and what I learned while making this quilt)

I have finished a quilt!  I took pieces of fabric, some batting, thread, and a sewing machine and made a quilt.  I am still surprised by it.  I don't have much quilting (or even sewing) experience, and I knew the only way I could get experience was to do.  So I decided to use the fabric that I had ordered a YEAR AGO and make a quilt.

***This was one of my Finish Along 2016 projects for Q1***

I wasn't sure what kind of a pattern I wanted to make, and if you really get into my head, you'll know that I'm not a "pattern" kind of girl - I just get an idea and go for it.  I figured I would just use my rulers and easy math, but how?  But when I saw this quilt by Maureen Cracknell, I knew that the answer was to turn the fabric and make diamonds...

And here is the result:

I've named it the Berry Bravo quilt because I used YARDS of Kona Berry (purchased at JoAnn's) and the prints are from Pat Bravo's Bazaar Style line.

fabrics, before cutting started...

I trudged through snow taller than my boots, and often above my knees, to take pictures this morning.  It was cold, but worth it.

On to what I learned by making this quilt:

1.)  Don't stop creating.  I need to keep on practicing if I'm going to improve.  I felt that I did a good job on the projects I did in December, but I also did a lot of smaller projects at that time, so more frequent practice at each step of the project.  By the time I got to quilting this thing, it was as if I had never done it before.

quilt blocks, production-line style...
the center fabric was cut 8 inches square
berry solid was 4 inches wide
the light color sashing around the squares was 2 inches wide

2.)  Take your time.  I really wanted to get this done in time for the 2016 Copper River EMS Auction, which starts on the 22nd.  Zoinks!  I spent a lot of hours recently working to get this thing done.  The problem with that is that now there are flaws and I won't be donating it.  I was working so fast that I forgot to really look at the thing once it was quilted (pre-binding) to trim it where necessary.  That's resulted in 3 spots on the left side where there is no fabric covering the batting.  If I was buying something via radio auction, and then it had those flaws, I would be very unhappy with my purchase.  Plus I don't want to be associated (outside of my home) with that kind of quality.  So I've decided to make something better to donate next year, and to get done in time so that I'm not rushing.
I used pink/purple/teal variegated thread.

3.)  Know your limits.  This is the largest quilt I've made.  And I was so not ready for it.  It's really just a large lap quilt (large describing quilt, not describing lap), but I struggled so much with it.  When I started, I just made all those squares (that turned in to diamonds) and made the quilt big enough to use up the squares.  I wasn't thinking of how in the world I was going to squeeze that darn thing through the super-small throat of my sewing machine...  I need more practice to move up to that.  And speaking of practice...

seeing the quilt held up like this - I really like it!
most of the binding is berry, but it is slightly scrappy, on the left...

4.)  Practice a bit first.  I love the look of wavy quilting in one direction.  I wanted to do that on this quilt (because I knew that straight line quilting would really point out the flaws).  But I didn't practice it first.  And I really hope that a good quilter never takes too close of a look at this thing, because my quilting just isn't pretty.  Had I not been on a time crunch, I could have practiced the technique first, and hopefully done a better job on this one.

the back of the quilt consisted mainly of some fabric I had purchased at JoAnn's.
I didn't have enough for the entire back, so I used up most of the fabric scraps.

5.)  Follow the advice of smart people.  I heard, shortly before I started piecing this quilt, that some smart quilter at some point said something like "If we worry about our points matching up, we'll never get anything done."  I know that's so not the quote, but that's what I took from it.  And I'm so glad that I heard that, because my seams did NOT match up on this thing.  But it's okay.  I'm okay with it.  And if I wasn't, it would have probably just been put away never to be heard from again...

And so, while I am not happy enough with my results to donate it to the auction, I am happy with the learning process.  That and Jeff had even said that he was going to buy it from the auction, so I know that this Berry Bravo Quilt with get used in our home...

I was playing with the editing, and fell in love with the photo in black and white.
Holy cow, I think I'm going to need to make a black and white quilt...
Linking up with:
Sew Fresh Quilts
My Quilt Infatuation
Fort Worth Fabrics
Confessions of a Fabric Addict 
Off the Wall Friday
A Quilted Passion
A Quilter's Table


  1. It is lovely Kristin! The fabrics are great with the Kona you selected , so striking. Perhaps it was meant to be a quilt for YOU! Every quilt is a journey & I love that you shared yours here.

  2. BEAUTIFUL QUILT!!! Good for you for perservering! We are our own worst critics!
    1) My points don't match perfectly one's's all an illusion.
    2) If you can't see the mistakes from 30 yards while riding a galloping horse, they don't matter. :)
    3) Take a little piece of matching fabric and hand-stitch it over the area where the batting is one will know but you...and certainly don't EVER point it out to anyone!
    4) Get your fabric and pattern for the next quilt and get started.
    5) LOVE LOVE LOVE your pieced backing! :)

    1. THANK YOU! It really took photographing the quilt to really really like it. I think the blocks are just so big I wasn't able to see it as a whole, and how the pattern really worked, until I saw it on my camera screen. Next up, a Big Bear, Little Bear baby quilt...

    2. BTW, one of the ways to see if your fabrics have enough contrast is to take a picture of them and then turn it into black and white on the can then tell the amount of contrast between your fabrics! It's a real eye-opener because some fabrics that you think are "dark" are actually medium and may not give you the look you want in your finished quilt. :)

  3. oh this is so gorgeous. THANKS for tagging me on Ig so I could see more and read all about it. What an overall great learning experience this was for you and despite what you consider flaws, you survived with a beautiful finish. I LOVE the name you gave it and what great photos! I especially love the one in front of the 'cabin' - can I include that next time I do a 'photoshoots I love' post?

    1. I would be flattered to have my photos shared on your blog!

    2. Kristin, I don't know if I got your response by email too or I just missed it here, but I realize I didn't show your quilt! I still want to! I'm prepping a couple of posts for next week with photoshoots, so yours will be included in one of them! Sorry about the delay!

  4. Fantastic job...beautiful. ive recently learned the quilt as you go technique and i love it. It allows me to create a good size quilt one square at a time..using sashing to join the blocks. Check out for her tutorial...keep on quiltin!!

    1. I gave up quickly on quilt-as-you-go on another project that I had a deadline on. I need to give it a fair shot at some point...

  5. I love how you photographed your quilt, so neat to see Alaska as the back drop. Beautiful quilt, I'm glad that you did finish it.

    1. Thank you so much! I can't wait for a quilt finish when our mountains are out...

  6. Such a lovely quilt! Great choice of fabrics together! Your photo locations are so pretty.

  7. These are my favorite fabrics! I used them to make a hexagon quilt a few years ago. The kona berry is perfect! Great job.

    1. I fell hard for those fabrics; I think that's why it took so long to cut into them...

  8. "We see our own flaws; others do not," wise words of Angela Walters, who pointed out to us some of her mistakes in a seminar. Too short backing aside, I LOVE your quilt; clearly you have nailed it on both the colour choices and the pattern since I picked this one right away off the FW linky. Turning it on point was a terrific idea. I enjoyed this entire post, hearing about what you will take from this quilt, and I giggled when you said you have a black and white quilt in your future! And so it goes...wink!

  9. Dont give up on the qayg method. Im currently using that to add borders on 45 x 70 quilt adding 11 inch borders. And its quite easy when u get the hang of it. The best tute ive seen is on i encourage you to not give up. I truly loved your quilt and colour choices. Ive only been quilting for 5 years. We also moved from a city of over 2million to a small farming community in a northern part of canada. Its an adjustment from citylife but well worth it.

  10. I think it is a wonderful quilt, the colours are so yummy and good for you for finishing. I bet it will be lovely to use too. Thank you for participating in the FAL, on behalf of the 2016 global FAL hosts.

  11. You have almost inspired me to go out and start quilting - not quite though - lol. Love the photos.

    1. Thanks! I really enjoyed reading about your trip to Alaska!

  12. I LOVE your quilt and the photography. I'm sure it takes and ton of time and effort to make those quilts. What kind of camera do you use?