By Patricia Belyea
WAUCONDA WA I challenged myself to make a baby quilt using just one yard of yukata cotton and stitched with the Aurifil Como Blue Color Builder thread set.
Yukata cotton measures 14" to 16" wide. That means that one yard of this special Japanese textile is less than one third of a yard of standard quilting cotton.
For my one yard, I chose an indigo and white geometric yukata cotton in the hemp pattern. With the unfinished blocks measuring 6.5", I cut ten blocks out of one yard.
The veins in hemp leaves are stylized in this traditional pattern. To extend the nature theme of the Hemp Blocks, I made a collection of solid-colored Leaf Blocks pieced with a variety of leaf veins. All the colors of inserted vein lines match the colors of the Como Blue threads.
To secure the quilt, I stitched-in-the-ditch with the mid-value Como Blue thread. Yikes! After quilting two long seams, it was apparent that the royal blue thread was too luscious. Instead of hiding in the ditch, the royal blue thread was screaming for attention. So I ripped out the stitching and proceeded with an inconspicuous 50 wt gray cotton thread by Aurifil.
Next I stitched-in-the-ditch on both sides of the inserted vein lines—using matching Como Blue threads. This added depth to the piecing detail.
I also quilted along the indigo lines of the Hemp Blocks. Although there were 12 short lines in each block—starting and stopping with micro stitches—it was easy as the lines were right there in the fabric pattern!
The 5-block x 6-block quilt design plays with a checkerboard of alternating indigo Hemp Blocks and teal Leaf Blocks. The additional Leaf Blocks—in lemon-lime, royal blue, and pink—replace some of the Hemp Blocks in the structured composition.
The back is made with three yards of an indigo and white geometric yukata cotton in the tortoiseshell pattern. I've seamed this fabric together so it becomes one piece visually. (You may notice that I’m not counting this yukata cotton in my one-yard challenge. That’s because I'm the person making the rules!)
If you’re interested in making Leaf Blocks, here are some tips:
LEAF BLOCK WITH THREE INSERTED VEINS
-You will be working oversize until you trim the block down to its final unfinished size of 6.5" (final size of 6").
-Make 7.5" squares of solid fabric for the background.
-Make 7/8" x 8.5" strips for the contrasting insert fabric. You need three strips for each Leaf Block.
-Cut across the square of background fabric at an angle, then both sides at an angle. The angles are random and should be a little different with each Leaf Block. Prep as many of these as you need.
-Once you start assembling, only sew one Leaf Block at a time. It is very easy to get the pieces mixed up or turned upside down.
-Sew the two pieces of one side together with the insert strip. Then the other side. Press each seam out as you go. It will be impossible to line up the background fabric with the insert strips so just do the best you can.
-Trim the angled edge of each side. Sew the center insert strip and press the seams open.
-Trim to a 6.5" square.
To make the Leaf Block with five inserted veins, follow these same instructions—only make the original oversized block 8.5" square and the strips 9.5" long.
Blue works in so many color combos. I often pair orange with blue so this baby quilt brings together a fresh palette for me. And the Leaf Blocks, that look so simple, were a fun challenge.
Next, I need to sew on a label and mail this gift to a new baby in our family!
Quilt Name: Purity (the hemp pattern symbolizes peace and purity in Japan)
Size: 30" x 36"
Fabrics: vintage Japanese yukata cotton and commercial solids
Threads: Aurifil Como Blue Color Builder thread set with Aurifil 50wt gray cotton thread
Batting: Hobbs Natural Cotton with Scrim
Finishing: Designer facing
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