So, back many moons ago when I still had two brain cells to rub together, I read Geography at university. Although I was never much of an academic, I do have a deep seated love of maps and anything mappy. I had been pondering for a while on making a quilt for my 8 year old boy, but was struggling with fabric ideas – I wanted something that was boyish, but not too young that he would grow out of it too soon. So, when one day I was browsing fabric online (as you do) and I saw this new range of fabrics from Riley Blake, I was a very happy girl. It’s just lovely, although at the time I did have to search for a while to find a UK stockist, but then I came up trumps with Plush Addict – and I was very, very happy to receive my bundle of fat quarters.
Now, I’m no genius quilter, I’m just happy with doing the basics and can make a passable job of a simple quilt. I have got into a habit of backing my quilts onto polar fleece. In my opinion it makes it cheaper (backing fabric and batting in one), slightly quicker and is soft and very easy to wash. My only reservation has been the polyester-ness of fleece. So, I was thrilled with the idea of bamboo fleece (also from Plush Addict) – all the soft loveliness of fleece but with the natural qualities of bamboo. It does seem to come in quite a limited number of colours, but as one of those happens to be the charcoal grey you can see the world maps printed in below, I was a happy girl.
The fabric then lurked around in our spare room for a while, as these things do, until my son heading off to Cub Camp (for which he’d need a camp blanket) spurred me into action and I hatched a plan.
I wanted the quilt to be quick and easy – so I toyed with a lot of ideas and ended up with this as my plan. I’d cut the majority of my FQs up into strips 5cm, 10cm and 20cm wide, pretty much at random. I kept the world map fabric and the orange text fabric as whole FQ’s as I wanted to be able to see big patches of them in my finished design.
I then stitched together my strips to make giant strips, the width I wanted my finished quilt to be. Now, one of the thing I’m rubbish at is being able to calculate what size of finished quilt I’ll end up with from the fabric I have – but I was going for something about single bed size.
As I stitched the strips together I was random in my selection of fabrics, the only rule being not to have two of the same next to each other (because that would just be silly).
Once I’d made 4 of these giant strips, I cut along their length into widths of 5cm, 10cm and 20cm. I then mixed up all my quilt-width-strips and sewed them together, turning them round and mixing them up to get a random pattern.
To finish off, I added a border of unbleached cotton. I then pinned my quilt top onto my bamboo fleece fabric and stitched in the ditch across each of the stripes to attach the quilt top to the fleece.
I had some fabric scraps left over, so I used these to make the binding.
I’m happy with the finished result, and perhaps more importantly, so is the recipient. I’ll certainly be using bamboo fleece again, it has a lovely feel, good drape and is comfortable to snuggle up in. Now I just have to come up with another boy-friendly quilt idea for the smaller of my two boys….