This is the perfect scream-free family room sofa quilt! Scream free? Yes, as in you won't be screaming at the kids like you might (just maybe) do when you find your perfectly pieced and quilted masterpiece wadded on the floor with dirty shoes kicked off on top of it. You won't be screaming when you find the dog's sneaked onto the sofa during the night and made a nest on it. You won't even scream when you find the cat testing her skills on a loose thread. Nope, no screaming because you will happily toss it in the wash so it ... gets better. You'll even thank the cat for teasing out that new unraveled bit for you.
The construction couldn't be simpler: Join yardage to make a whole-cloth top and bottom the size you desire, then create a quilt sandwich with batting. Lay out the charm squares and run seams from side to side about 1/4 inch inside the edges of the squares. Wash and dry and the raw edges will start to unravel, which gives it a nice casual look. I really love the juxtaposition of the grid with the raw edges. My husband calls it the i-phone quilt. I would too, but I don't want emails from the legal team at apple.
I've created a separate page with more detailed instructions and tips for placing the squares evenly: Appliqued Charm Squares Quilt Tutorial
Since I know mine will be washed almost weekly, I'm letting time do the work, but if you're giving it as a gift you can tatter it up a bit yourself. Just pull loosened threads gently in the direction of the warp/weft so you don't break your quilting thread. Another run through the washer/dry will give it the perfect patina without throwing it to the mercy of your kids/dogs/cats.
If you want a more ruffled effect like a rag quilt, you could leave a 1/2 inch raw edge and then clip down every 1/2 to 1 inch along each edge to just shy of the quilting line.
I used two different Moda charm packs that I've had in stash for at least a year or two: Flutter-By uses the lighter, brighter tones and another one (the label band was long gone) with darker tones. The top is marbled cotton and the back is hounds-tooth flannel. I didn't have any yardage to match the charm packs, so the bias tape binding is Kaffe Fasset, which I think does a pretty good job since it pulled out all the colors except the red/pink/purple range. The movement created by the twisting, turning stripes keeps it fun.
The speed of binding with bias tape on a project like this really pleases me. The variegated thread is 100% cotton from Coats & Clark from JoAnns.
Sending out a big thank you to the very creative folks at Starry Night Hollow for this brilliant idea. Back before the holidays I saw their crib-sized shop samples using this technique with 2.5" squares. They had one with earth tones on dark fabric and another with 30's-style bright prints on a white background and both looked great. I made it sofa-sized with 5" charm squares, but the idea is the same. I figured it out by looking at it, but that can be harder to do by looking at photos on line, so I'm going to give a quick tutorial. I checked with the shop owner before writing this and she graciously agreed this is perfect for sharing. If you're in Southern California, be sure to stop by her truly charming shop, which is only a few blocks from the I-5 in Encinitas.
What was so interesting? I swung around to catch this:
As I took the photo the cat appeared in my view finder. I started to call out a warning, but they were both faster than I could ever be.
Thankfully, the hummingbird proved fastest this time. No birds were harmed in the making of this blog entry.