Inspired by my trip to Spain, I started a small quilt to commemorate one of my favorite sights from the trip: the Roman aqueduct in Segovia. I was a civil engineering major in college, and even though I no longer practice in that field, I’m still fascinated by large structures like this, both historic and modern. I had been flipping through some modern quilting books in my local bookstore and was inspired to improvise my own design. Above you can see the quilt top in progress – I’m quite pleased with it so far! 🙂
To create the design, I first drew a sketch in a graph paper notebook. I tried to keep the design fairly streamlined and uncomplicated to allow the patchwork aqueduct to be the focus of the quilt. Then, I got out my large roll of tracing paper that I use for tracing garment patterns, painstakingly measured out and drew a grid, and used the grid to translate my small sketch onto the full-size tracing paper. This took forever! The full-size quilt will be a medium-sized wall hanging, so more for decoration than for actually keeping warm.
To construct the quilt top, I’m making a tracing paper template for each individual piece and using the templates to cut out the fabric. This is an extremely slow and meticulous process, but I actually really enjoy projects like this. I imagine there must be a better and faster way to do this, but this method is working for me, so why mess with it? Adding to the slow pace is the fact that so many of the cut edges are on the bias, so I’ve been handling the pieces with extreme care to avoid any inadvertent stretching.
I’ve been on a blue and yellow kick lately, so I pulled a bunch of scraps in these two colors from my “stash” (aka the pile of scraps from old projects that I refuse to throw away). A bonus of sewing mostly garments is that you automatically generate a quilting stash – pieces too small for garments but plenty big enough for patchwork! I also pulled out a few pinks, perhaps to use for the “ground” underneath the aqueduct. We’ll see. All the fabrics are 100% cotton.
So far I’ve completed the 3 largest arches on the bottom row of the aqueduct. I’ve been constructing one arch at a time, making the upside-down U shape with all the blue pieces, and then attaching it to the yellow background. When two arches are complete, I’m sewing them together along the long vertical edges. I’ve been using 1/4 inch seam allowances throughout (standard in quilting).
Instead of trying to wrestle with the curved seams, I’m simply turning under the 1/4″ SA of the blue arch, pressing it, and topstitching it to the yellow background piece. So much easier! I sew *really* slowly during topstitching, using a lot of pins, and so far it seems to be working out very nicely.
Here’s a close-up of the topstitching. Do you recognize the plaid fabric from my Sarrouel Trousers? If you look closely, there are quite a few garment remnants in this quilt. 🙂
And here’s a view of the back. You can see how the yellow pieces are cut to fit (using their own custom template, just like the blue pieces) and that the topstitching really avoids distorting the curved edges. We’ll see how well I do when sewing the bias seams along the bottom edge!
I did all the sketching and piecing on this project before I started my new job, and sadly it’s been neglected for the past few weeks. I’m looking forward to getting back to it though! Thankfully the dust seems to be settling a bit at work, so hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of sewing soon.
I’ll leave you with this photo of Maggie. She says, “Stop blogging and give me my dinner already.” Happy weekend! 🙂