I've showed a few progress photos of this quilt, but not the finished product - finished in a real rush fro James' teacher before school ended for the year. We've been really lucky for James to have had such a terrific teacher for his first year of school, and are hoping next year's teacher is as good.
It's about 60in square, and the palette was based around some Fleur Nouveau prints I had, which I thought his teacher would like. There are close to 800 1in x 4in (finished size) pieces in the background.
The applique took way longer than I'd anticipated, mostly due to the swirly shape I designed. I still love the look of the shape, but it was a curse to applique neatly - and I got tired of them well before all 16 were done!
To stop the dark background fabrics showing through the white applique shapes (whch I'd actually decided partway through to do in a soft green, then forgot when it came time!) I doubled them - i fused a second layer (of slightly heavier plain white) to the back of the fabric, then fused the shapes and cut them out. It worked well.
Positioning the applique pieces was done mostly by eye, although I did use a ruler to keep the distances from the centre even, and used some of the background piecing as a bit of a guideline.
Positioning of the background fabrics wasn't overly planned. I knew the effect I wanted (darkest in the centre, fading to white at the edges) and bore that in mind as I paired and pieced the strips. This method is much faster than working out an exact layout, but less precise, and I can see places where I'd rearrange a few pieces. But without a design wall, it's not really a practical option, and the overall effect is still good.
I quilted around the applique shapes, then filled the background with a variation on my current favourite - the combination of triple-paisleys, swirls and trios of double-feathers - with the addition of a heart-like shape to match the applique. You can see a heart shape in the photo below if you look carefully.
I bound the quilt in a spot print, which was a pain. I had to trim (waste!) a bit between each strip to get the spots even on each length of the binding, and then realised afterwards that although they all matched, the spots were poorly positioned. I ended up machining the binding to the back and hand stitching it to the front (the opposite of my usual and preferred method) to get some of the spots to show, and even then, they're not centred on the visible part. I'll think twice before using spots on a binding again! At least they're even - I hate seeing a spotty binding where the spots aren't straight; they make the whole quilt look wonky.
The quilt was well received, but classrooms are very busy in the morning in the last days of the year, and I didn't have a chance to take a photo of James with his teacher and her quilt.