For my latest project, I received a request: “I have a number of knitted squares that I would like compiled into either a blankie or a poncho”. I kindly let the client know that, try as I might, I am not a knitter, and she might have better luck elsewhere, but she indicated that knitting was not necessarily a requirement for this project. So I proposed a plan to attach the knitted squares to a fabric base and create a mixed media quilt.
The squares were all knitted from different wool, some in pairs up to six and some entirely unique from the others. They were all varying shades of blue, my favourite being the ones knitted from multi-colour wool that included smaller amounts of soft yellow and orange. Where on Earth do I start looking for a fabric to match these with?!
A chunky jersey knit fabric would have been the best match for a similar texture, but I wanted the knitted squares to stand out from the background fabric. In the end I made a bold choice and opted for a rust coloured satin. It couldn’t be any more contrasting to the blue woolly squares. In both colour and texture!
I also selected an embroidered trim in matching blue hues for the quilt binding, which I think rounds the mixed media quilt off quite nicely.
As I mentioned, the knitted squares were done with several different types of wool, some chunkier than others. They were all knitted from the same pattern, but the difference in material made some of them appear denser or more closely knit. This resulted in them not all having the exact same length and width. I didn’t want to stretch the smaller squares since it would pucker the fabric underneath. Luckily, I was aiming for a patchwork effect so all it took was carefully arranging the squares evenly so that the sizes balanced out. It still puckered a little in places, oh well. I also arranged them according to colour to keep it looking balanced.
There were just enough squares to lay them out in 6 x 8 grid. With the added space between them, we got a quilt size somewhere between a 3/4 and double bed quilt. I called it a generous 3/4 size, since it was wider but not longer than standard 3/4 size. (I think a 3/4 bed would be called a twin bed overseas.)
The knitted squares were then sewn onto the satin fabric in their grid pattern, using a straight stich on its longest setting. It was quite challenging not to stretch them out as they passed through the presser foot. Again, scrappy patchwork effect = leeway in perfectly aligned patches. Note the worst of the puckering below.
Another layer of satin was added for the backing of the quilt. To attach the two layers, I did simple button stitches through the center of each knitted square. I felt this was more aesthetically pleasing than quilting the entire piece with straight vertical and horizontal lines.
A little unorthodox…
I should mention another unconventional element of this quilt. There is no batting or middle padding layer of any kind! I was a little hesistant about this at first. However, the knitted squares were already creating quite a lot of weight, and I didn’t want the client to feel suffocated underneath the quilt. To finish it off, the embroidered trim was folded in half and attached as a binding. Bonus – the trim had a finished edge so it didn’t require any folding in of edges like bias would have. This saved some significant amount of time.
The final product
While it does have some ripples in the fabric, and some misalinged squares, I think it all contributes to quite a charming mixed media quilt. Something quite different, at any rate! The client was super chuffed about it too.
If you enjoyed this Creation Chronicle, contact us today for your own custom mixed media quilt in South Africa.