Last year I had the opportunity to make my first pilgrimage to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. I went with my friend, Edie McGinnis, so that we could see our mutual friend, Victoria, while she was there teaching, and also see her exhibit of quilts the museum had hanging.
Naturally, we looked through all the exhibits while we were there, and there were a couple of quilts that particularly struck my fancy.
One of them was this tile quilt:
Isn’t it fabulous?
I’ve always wanted to make a tile quilt myself, and this quilt inspired me to get started.
So today I’m sharing the beginnings of my Tile Quilt, and showing you how I’m doing it, and you can just feel free to make one for yourself right along with me, OK?
It’s no secret that I have a lot of scraps — too many scraps, in fact.
Since my first order of business was to choose a background for my Tile Quilt pieces to live on, I decided that I would also use scraps for that. I’ve decided to use up bits and pieces of low-volumes, or light solids, and piece them together however they work to make base blocks.
Here’s my first one:
It doesn’t really matter what the background looks like, or how you piece it, since most of it isn’t even going to show. You simply need a base for your pieces. Mine are about 10″ on a side, to make it easy to handle while I’m appliquéing. (And so I can feel like I’m getting a block done faster than I would if it were larger!)
I have this bucket of random scraps in odd shapes — since I can’t throw anything away:
I just pulled a few pieces from that to start with, and chose one and popped it there in the center, and needle-turn appliquéd it down.
Then I just kept adding pieces next to it:
Until I had the middle fairly covered.
My next step for this block is to square it up to a specific size, which I have not yet determined.
Meanwhile, I’m working on a second block:
Another scrappily pieced background, and I’ll just place these little pieces all over it.
When I get this one’s center filled up, I’ll square it up as well, then I’ll join the two blocks together, and add more tiles to fill in the gaps. My quilt will not have the obvious grid that the one above has — it’ll just look like one big giant field of tiles.
Right now my shapes are fairly small and simple, but I may add some more irregular shapes to it as I go to fill in the gaps later.
I’ll post more pictures as I get more of it done. I don’t get to sit down and work on it for very long at any one time. I just add a few pieces when I’m too tired at night to do anything else. So it’ll be slow going, but I’m fine with that — it’s not a race.
If you’ve ever wanted to make a Tile Quilt your ownself, I hope this inspires you to jump in and join me! You can use whatever method of appliqué you prefer; even raw-edged appliqué would be great (and much quicker), but I enjoy needle-turn and the slow process, so that’s the way I’m doing mine.
You can also use larger pieces to make it go faster; I chose to use the small ones because that’s the scraps I want to use up.
If you want to see how I do my appliqué, I have a tutorial here on appliquéing a leaf that will translate easily into doing these tile shapes.