“Lizzy and the City” is my completed version of Tula Pink’s City Sampler which I made as part of the #100Days100Blocks event I co-hosted in 2016 using all Lizzy House fabrics (with a little tasting of Kona Cotton thrown in for good measure). This quilt has to be one of my most favourite finishes both because of the enjoyment of making the quilt itself and for all the memories that this quilt brings with it. I don’t know why, but every time I see this quilt it makes me happy and no other quilt I’ve ever made has that type of simple and powerful impact on me. I’ve put it on our bed a couple of times since it was finished to help it lose it’s fold marks and every time I do it I find myself stopping, staring and running my hand over it for large chunks of time.
I had such an amazing experience with the #100Days100Blocks event that we’re going to run it again kicking of on May 7. If you’re on the fence about whether you want to do it then I’m hoping seeing my quilt (and Raylee’s) will help inspire you to make your own version. You can find out details about the event by clicking here and if you’re still undecided I’m going to share a massive secret with you… well I’m going to share a hint to a massive secret with you… Cotton + Steel. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now, but trust me – you’re going to want in!
Now, back to the quilt candy! A bit of a heads up, this post is going to be image heavy because I just can’t narrow it down to a handful of photos I like. So be prepared! All the photos (with the exception of one very obvious one) were taken at the National Arboretum in Canberra on a very early and windy morning. I had Raylee (of Sunflower Quilting) to keep me company with her very own version of the same quilt which she made as one of the other hosts of the event. I really love how the two quilts are so very different despite using the same sampler blocks. It just goes to show that you can always inject your own personality into every quilt you make!
This is Raylee (red quilt) and my quilt side by side in a totally unplanned and impromptu photo. I just couldn’t resist seeing what they would look like together and I love it. Raylee did a completely unique and really spectacular setting for these blocks and as much as I’d like to share a full shot of it with you I’m not going to steal her thunder you’re just going to have to pop over to her blog and see it for yourself. I will however share one of my favourite photos I took from the morning because it deserves to be seen (even if it’s not my quilt).
Stunning right! Well I think it is and that’s all that matters! I love that Raylee’s quilt is made up of all scraps (some of which I gave her so it’s an extra thrill to see fabrics that I have in my quilts now in a quilt of someone I adore) and that the background is so vibrant and full of punch. It’s completely different to my quilt and it’s amazing. (It’s also part of the reason we’re going to run the event again this year because I want to have another go at making a completely different quilt with the same blocks!) Now you’ve had a taste of Raylee’s quilt lets get back to looking at all the pretty Lizzy House fabrics.
When I started making this quilt I actually thought I was going to make a version of it in a limited colour palette. I was going to use 4 colours and choose a mix of fabrics from a selection of designers and fabric houses and just go controlled scrappy. I made the first three blocks this way and I just didn’t like them. They “worked” but they didn’t grab me the way a project should. I left them on my design wall and got on with other things. I must confess I was freaking out a bit about it. I had this great plan to make this quilt and host this event, and people were starting to get really excited about it all, and my quilt was just meh. The thought of spending 100 days sharing blocks that were meh just filled me with dread.
Then one night at 2am in the morning I woke up with an idea. And not just a slight waking up where you think of something and then go back to sleep, this was a full on I’m-wide-awake moment. I knew what I had to do. I got out of bed and went to the sewing room and started pulling fabrics. I didn’t go back to bed until 5am and that was only because I knew I was so tired that I didn’t want to start cutting and make a mistake. I had a plan. I was going to use nothing but Lizzy House fabrics from Andover Fabrics.
I’d never done something like this before. In fact this was the sort of thing that I’d normally run a mile from (and everyone knows I ain’t no runner) before even contemplating. Every time I worked with one line I’d had horrible personal creative experiences. But this was different, this wasn’t one line, this was one designer. A designer who I’d unknowingly been collecting since before I knew that fabric designers were a real thing. In that first fabric pull I already had enough fabric to make an entire quilt.
I made the first blocks later that same day and unlike my controlled colour palette blocks these blocks made me happy. They excited me to see what other combinations I could use and they made me impatient to play; two things that every quilt should make you. However I also knew that I wanted to do something else with this quilt – I wanted to use fabric from every Lizzy House line to date in the quilt. I wanted to make it a tribute to one of the fabric designers that I adored most. I kept referring to it as my love letter to Lizzy.
So, I hit the internet and tried to find out all I could about the fabric lines I was missing and if I could track them down. I combed Etsy and eBay. I stalked the #thegreatdestash hashtag on Instagram and I kept an ear to the ground for anyone in my Lizzy loving circle who was looking to trade fabrics. It was so much fun! Like a treasure hunt of my own making. I got so excited each time I tracked down a missing fabric.
As I started to post my blocks as part of the challenge people started to come forward and offer me missing fabrics to include in the quilt. It was truly amazing and humbling to have people I barely knew offer me some of the fabrics that we both cherished. My round-robin partner in crime, Bec, sent me a really generous parcel of Lizzy House scraps which I cherished. Bec is probably one of the only other people I know who loves Lizzy (both the fabric and the person) as much as I do (probably more). If it wasn’t for Bec there wouldn’t be as much variety in this quilt because she parted with some of the rarest and most loved scraps of prints.
Every time I look at this quilt I see those fabrics that people sent me and the fabrics that I found on my treasure hunt and they bring me joy. I love that this quilt is what it is because of the generosity and love within the quilt community. I love that there’s scraps in this quilt that have come from quilters that have made their own love letter to Lizzy. To me this quilt is very much a community built quilt, and that makes it super special and rare.
In the hunt for fabrics I hit a road block trying to track down Lizzy’s Asterisk range. The fabric was just coming out and I couldn’t find a dealer (ha!) in Australia to hook me up and I couldn’t find it at any of my trusted online shops. I ended up doing something I never do and I emailed Andover Fabrics to ask them if I could buy a FQ bundle directly from them. They were so amazing and generous and sent me the FQ bundle for free because they’d seen what I was doing on Instagram and they wanted to support that. I was blown away. Another act of random generosity from the quilting community.
As the quilt blocks were getting close to being finished I was rapidly approaching my departure date for Quilt Market and so I told Andover Fabrics that I would bring the quilt with me to Quilt Market so they could see it in person. Because, you know, taking a massive quilt on a long haul international flight is totally recommended in the guide books! My crazy decision to take it with me meant that it had to be finished in time for my flight which was just over a week away. Thanks to some all day sewing sessions and the miracle worker levels of awesome from Raylee the quilt was quilted and hand bound in time for me to pack for my trip.
When Raylee and I had talked about how to quilt this quilt I had originally been planning to go with something angular and modern. I thought it would be a nice nod to the modern nature of the blocks, however because of the time constraints we had to go with Plan B. This is probably one of the most fortuitous decisions of the whole thing because we went with the Baptist Fan pattern and it completely makes this quilt. I love that it’s a traditional pattern mixed with contemporary blocks and fabrics. I love the texture it provides and I love that it works so well with the design and the fabrics that it doesn’t over power the quilt.
We opted for Aurifil #2600 50wt (Dove Grey) for the quilting because it just blended seamlessly (no pun intended) into the quilt. It doesn’t compete with any of the fabrics and it worked so nicely with the backing fabric as well. It’s also what I used to piece the entire quilt so there’s a nice consistency that I like and it means that if seams are pulled and stitches shown they are inconspicuous.
I used the stars print from Lizzy House’s Whisper Palette for the background of this quilt and it’s one of my favourite things about the quilt. I love that from a distance it reads as a solid, but I adore that when you get up close you see the galaxy of stars. I love the soft colours of the stars and the hint of gold from the metallic. It’s a perfect print for a background because it doesn’t compliments the fabrics and provides more interest.
When it came to working out the layout for this quilt I struggled a little bit. I wanted to do a none traditional layout and I wanted to go with a layout that created a secondary pattern in the quilt. Like most things I didn’t take the time to sit down and really think about the math and making it work I just started sewing it together. It worked, but it could have been better had I taken the time to really think about what I was doing. I used a mix of 1″ (finished) and 2″ (finished) strips to create my setting pattern. I really love the 1″ strips between the blocks because they allow the blocks to sit closer together than a “traditional” width of sashing and it wasn’t too close that you lose the blocks to each other.
I also love that this setting is a nod to the round-a-bouts in the city I live in and love. I tried to work out the best way to “balance” the blocks in the quilt but in the end I went with “everything I love in the middle and everything I’m in like with on the edges”. This means (and I love this) that when it’s on the bed all the blocks that I really love are in the middle (and therefore on top) of the bed.
We tried to get full shots of the quilts on our morning trip to the Arboretum but we couldn’t make it work – big quilts and wind do not mix! So I’m just going to use it as an excuse to post this photo of me and Lizzy House together at Quilt Market with my quilt again. You’re welcome! *wink*
I was so nervous taking this quilt to Market. I felt like a little kid who’d made something at kindy and was so excited to share it with their parents. The memory of sharing this quilt with the lovely folks at Andover Fabrics and with Lizzy House will be one of the ones I cherish all my life. To be able to talk with the person who designed the fabric and share with them your vision of how it can play together is truly special. It’s also pretty awesome that Lizzy House was so lovely and wonderful (and so is her Husband, Ben) and let me rant on to her about her fabrics for way longer than anyone should have to suffer.
This whole quilt challenged my use of colour because the colours used in all of Lizzy’s collection would have been colours that I would have said prior to making the quilt I’m not drawn to. But after making this quilt I had to face up to the fact that I love using brown, peach, orange and grellow. Seriously, some of my favourite blocks in this quilt are nearly all brown. (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, no one does a brown like Lizzy House brown!) When it came to finishing this quilt I backed it in one of my favourite prints and in my favourite colour way.
I did something I never would have thought I would ever do in my life and I bound it using predominately Kona Wasabi with a insert of Kona Navy. For me the colours used in the binding just drive this lesson about colour home to me even more. There’s no way I would have said prior to this quilt that wasabi and purple go together (and especially if you mix navy in there!) but now I seriously want to make a quilt using those colours!
Sure there’s blocks in the quilt that if I’d had the time and the patience I would have remade, but in the scheme of things I love that they’re in the quilt reminding me of the lessons I’ll use for the next quilts I make. This whole quilt is a testament to all the things I love; fussy cutting, colour, good people and being able to wrap yourself in something you made. This quilt reminds me of how blessed I am to have so much love in my life.
When I came up with the idea for #100Days100Blocks I never knew that it would take me on this journey. The hashtag has over 57,000 images on it – I don’t know of any other sew-along or quilt-event that has that many photos associated with it. When I’m feeling down or I need inspiration or I just want to connect with the amazing quilt community I scroll through that hashtag and look at all the amazing blocks and quilts that were made. I love reading the stories about people who have sewn their first quilt because of the event. I love seeing the friendships that have blossomed because of the event. I love that for 100 days all over the world quilters just like me did something today that was bigger than them and that helped them to connect with other people just like them out there in the world.
I cannot wait to do it all again in May. I know that the quilt I’ll be making this time around will be different again and I’m so excited and impatient to get started on it. I really hope you’ll join us on another 100 day adventure, it’s going to be epic.
Quilt Pattern: Tula Pink “City Sampler” – You can buy the book via these links Book Depository (click here) | Amazon (click here) | Fons & Porter (click here) | Keepsake Quilting (click here) | Interweave Store (click here) and if you do so I will make a small commission on the sale which will go towards helping me to run this amazing event. (Thank you so much!)
Fabrics: Lizzy House for Andover Fabrics
Quilted by: Raylee of Sunflower Quilting
Quilting Motif: Baptist Fan
Quilted with: Aurifil #2600 50wt
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