Several months ago, I was lucky enough to sign up for this year’s Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenge right away, which meant I received 5 fat eighths from Sarah Campbell’s “Our Yard” line for Michael Miller. The fabric arrived back in August — maybe even July? — but then sat in my sewing room for quite a while as I tried to figure out how to make them shine. I was stumped for quite a while.
The selection I received had the multicolored tree print, the fabulous animals print, the blue with black-and-white leaves, the black-and-gray stripe, and the gold solid. Each fabric was lovely on its own but as a group, to be honest, I just really didn’t think they worked very well together! There were too many different colors and patterns happening, and by late October, I was wondering whether I’d come up with anything at all.
But ah ha! I was looking back through some of the posts I’ve bookmarked on Instagram over the past several months and rediscovered this mini quilt by Johanna Wiedner that I absolutely loved. (At the time, I’d commented to ask about the availability of a pattern or tutorial, and Johanna responded that it was created with a simple stitch-and-slice technique. I’d call it a kind of “ordered improv.”)
When I saw her project again, I immediately knew: THIS was the way to show off the “Our Yard” fabrics I’d received, and balance the bold, busy prints with a healthy helping of solids. I checked with Johanna to make sure she was ok with me using her mini as inspiration, and once she gave me the go-ahead, I was off to the races. I used the five fabrics I’d received in the mail and added three more Cotton Couture solids in soft white, petal and mint to fill out the color palette featured in the cute tree print.
I’d never done matchstick quilting (dense, straight-line quilting) on anything before but somehow this one seemed to beg for it and I decided that I had no choice but to oblige. The verdict? Matchstick is super tedious and takes a surprising amount of thread, so I’m glad this quilt is relatively small (36″ x 33″)…but wow, I love the result! It added so much awesome texture. I didn’t take a photo of the backing but it’s just solid white. I did have a little fun with a two-toned binding that subtly highlights the four “quadrants” of the diamond design.
I needed a name for the QuiltCon entry form and was drawing blanks so I asked Jose if he had any ideas. He said the word that popped into his head when looking at this quilt was “chatter.” Instantly, I pictured myself in our backyard on a beautiful afternoon enjoying the day and hearing bits of conversation from the girls and our neighbors floating through the air. And thus “Backyard Chatter” it became.
I’m hopeful that this will be selected for show at QuiltCon, but who really knows! No matter what happens, making it was a great learning experience.
p.s. I’m doing a 31 day blog writing challenge!