Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Dutch Treat, The Happy Quilt

I saw a Dutch Treat quilt a few years ago, that was made by Clare Kingslake. At my then local quilt shop, a few ladies came together once a week to sew a block together with Clare helping out and giving advise. I envied the ladies their skill and determination, not thinking that I could ever do that, but I bought the book by Judy Garden anyway, just for in case, and started collecting lots of red and white prints for one day.
Then in December 2012, I decided that it would be my evening sewing and that I would just do a few blocks and see how it goes. Rather than doing it in all the red prints, I decided to use a collection of fabrics that I had bought on a trip to Colorado, which would look better in our house.
The fabric collection is called "Suede" and is by P&B Textiles. I had bought 14 different colours and the Dutch Treat quilt is made up of 14 rows of 14 blocks, so that seemed to be it's destiny. I had a lovely mottled caramel/gold/cream fabric, that looked really good with the other fabrics, and had enough of it too, so no need to get any extra.
My first block was stitched using a blending cotton thread, but I was not happy with the result, so started experimenting with different threads. I definitely got the best result using YLI 100wt silk thread, although a friend of mine has used Superior Bottomline for hers and she recommends that. Another friend suggested that I try out the Superior Monopoly thread, which she uses for appliqué, but I am very happy with my silk threads.
I used the same colour thread throughout, as it blended really well with the top fabric.

When I first started making the blocks, I did 3 or 4 a month, just whenever the mood took me. A year later, I realised that this could take many years to complete and not being blessed with a lot of patience decided to set myself a target of doing at least 10 every month. For a while this worked really well, but then things got in the way again and the project got put aside. I then discovered a group on Facebook for people doing "Dutch Treat" quilts, so I joined the group. This was just what I needed to restore my enthusiasm, so with renewed energy, the last few blocks were tackled.

Blocks done in 2013

If I ever do another block quilt like this, that is what I will be doing, join a group, because if nothing else, you get so many ideas on the group, you see so many different ways that people are doing the same design, there is always someone that can advise if you get stuck or don't know if the colour is working and it also keeps the momentum going. Some ladies in this group has made 4 Dutch Treat Quilts and although I got to the point where I hated this quilt and would never ever do another one like this, I am actually now considering doing another one, but in different fabrics, maybe rather than using all the designs in the book, to draw up some of my own and make it "my own treat".
This is the first attempt at doing reverse appliqué for me and some of the blocks were really hard to do, like the "Field of dreams" block, which I redid 3 times. Others that I thought would be really hard, turned out really well and was much easier than I thought. Some will always remind me of where I was when I did them, like the Napa Valley block, which I stitched on a quilting trip in France travelling through lots of vineyards. Rather than call my quilt "Dutch Treat", I have decided to name it "The happy Quilt" as the colours are so cheerful and I am so happy to be where I am right now, at the moment, today, this month, this year!

First time I laid out the completed blocks
Field of dreams block

"Napa valley" , the grapes that I stitched in France
I still have 8 blocks to do, but have started putting all the sashing strips in, hopefully I will have them all done before the weekend, when I go to Houston, so that I can measure out the border and mark the design out to start the appliqué on this while I am away from home. I don't have the backing fabric yet, but I have located a few shops that stock extra wide fabric in this range, so will be buying my backing while I am on the Quilter's Quest shop hop in Virginia and Maryland, after Houston. I might even be looking at fabric to do my next "treat" with!

Starting to play around with ;about

Deciding which colour to use for backing

While I am Houston, (I am not going to market, just to festival), I have enrolled in a few classes and hope to meet up with some friends from around the world, like Alex, who live in Australia, and Anne, who lives in the UK, but far enough that I only see her at quilt shows! And of course I will be meeting and making new friends, some that I have been corresponding with through good old Facebook, very excited about this.
I will not have a lot of free time to shop or look at all the amazing quilts, but will make use of every spare minute to go and enjoy the exhibitions and will post photos once I am back home. Now off to go and pack my class requirements, yippee!!!!

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