If you were just thinking to yourself, “Man, my day is really lacking in eye-searing rainbow awesomeness,” you’re in luck. Put on your sunglasses, and feast your eyes on my finished Rainbow Sampler quilt top!
I worked on this project on and off from March through September (6 months!), so it was quite a bit of work for such a small quilt top. Part of the time-consuming process was the hand-sewn hexagon panel, and part of it was the customized nature of this project. I had both an Excel spreadsheet and a Powerpoint file for this quilt, and each panel was planned out in detail to make sure it would fit. I also used this project as an excuse to try out a bunch of new-to-me techniques and traditional blocks for the first time, including curved piecing, equilateral triangles, English paper piecing, flying geese four at a time, and working with very thin strips. I learned so much in making this quilt, and I’m pretty happy with the finished top!
Despite all the new techniques, the most challenging part of this project was putting all the blocks together at the end. This was my first quilting project where I had a bunch of puzzle pieces to fit together, and I spent a lot of time just staring at the blocks and trying to figure out the optimal construction order. I wanted to assemble the quilt in columns, which I think would have been fine if I didn’t have that “digital sound” block in the bottom left that spanned two columns. WHY did I do this to myself?? That block gave me such a headache. 🙂
Another challenge was my decision to use two different gray background fabrics. I didn’t really have a plan as to where each shade was going to go, so I wound up making it up as I went along. I have to admit, I’m not 100% happy with how the two grays turned out, but I am NOT ripping it out at this point! Let’s just call it an intentional design element and move on, shall we? 🙂
Above you can see all of the various sashing pieces that I spliced in between the blocks. I made a mistake in my calculations and made the top right diamond block wider that it was supposed to be (i.e., wider than the striped block below it), which resulted in a super thin sashing strip on each side. Ahhhhh! This is what happens when you plan something one day and execute it two weeks later. Lesson learned!
My favorite part of this quilt, and the original inspiration for a rainbow-themed project, is the English paper pieced hexagon panel. I had started these hexies as a hand-sewing project to keep me occupied on a cross-country flight in March, and it wound up being immensely relaxing and enjoyable. It did take me quite a while to get it all done, but I love the end result, and I think it really stands out in the finished quilt top.
After hand sewing all the hexagons together, I hand appliqued the finished panel to the background fabric, which you can see in action below.
And here’s the back of the applique, where you can see my stitches:
Thankfully, I managed to fit all the pieces together in the end. Lots of seams in this quilt!
All that’s left is to figure out how to quilt it! Suggestions welcome.
P.S. – It’s safe to remove your sunglasses now. 🙂