I’ve been loving all the rainbow quilt projects I’ve been seeing around the place and have been wanting to join in, so when Abby from Things for Boys was looking for pattern testers for her Luminous quilt block, I volunteered. I was also in a bit of a sewing funk, so small projects with a deadline were ideal to get back into the swing of things, I have so many sewing plans and I want to get stuck in (I’ll be heading up to my sewing room for the day just as soon as this is posted).
A quilt, even a small one, in the time available was beyond me (it’s a miracle if I get one completed in a matter of months, as opposed to years), so I decided to test both the rainbow and two-tone block on their own, each in a different size. I stocked up on rainbow fabrics (Kona brand purchased from GJ’s extensive collection), which will come in handy for the many future rainbow projects on my sewing “wishlist”, and went through my stash for two-tone inspiration.
As I was going through my Christmas collection, I was thinking how the design was a bit wreath-like. I was also aiming for a cushion with this one, using the 18 inch block, so I decided a Christmas cushion would be a great addition to December’s decor. From there it was an easy decision to try my hand at fussy cutting my favourite santa fabric (the santas turned out to be the perfect size!), though choosing the remaining fabrics was a bit trickier. I initially thought it would be a good idea to break up the red with some additional cream, however, you can see from the layout below that that was not going to work, the wreath effect was totally lost.
The design actually works far better with more red, as you can see in the finished product below.
My quilting was very simple, I’m still not very good even with just straight lines, so I tend to go for a forgiving quilting design by quilting just around the inside edge of all my seams (stitching in the ditch is way too dangerous!). To incorporate more of the green, I made some flat piping to frame the design. I really like the way it turned out.
The back is rather bright, having made an envelope-style cover using the red star fabric. I should have interfaced the pieces, or lined them, as the back is rather flimsy compared to the front, but considering this will be a seasonal show piece, not designed for year around practicality, it shouldn’t matter too much.
Project two was the 12 inch rainbow block, which could be used for all sorts of things I think, but I decided on a tote bag.
The block itself is gorgeous. Abby and I have talked colours extensively, and she has changed up a few from what she initially recommended to use. In particular, the yellow corner could use a little extra pop, so the final pattern recommends a brighter orange and yellow, and I think the blues have been edited. On the whole my block still looks great, I really love it, and I think you could substitute colours with whatever you have in your stash if you didn’t want to go out and buy every colour recommended, without it affecting the final result.
Another way of doing it would be with prints, which Ms Midge demonstrated with her test, it looks awesome as well.
In terms of construction, this is a very effective block that is actually surprisingly simple to put together, it came together really quickly and Abby’s instructions are really clear and easy to follow. The pattern includes heaps of extra guidance and tips as well, including how to put a couple of quilt options together, which is nice as some patterns can be fairly basic and don’t recognise that not everyone is an experienced quilter.
I initially wanted to use a deep grey fabric as the backdrop (the same as a bag I recently made for myself), but Spotlight was out of that colour, and my choices were black, purple or an army/khaki green. Black was too harsh and green clearly wasn’t going to work, so purple it was, and it looks great, possible better than the grey would have.
I was going to try for a slightly more complex bag, with a flat bottom and possibly separate side pieces, but I decided a flat, square backdrop would be best for the block (this decision was possibly aided by a good ounce of laziness).
I used batting in between the block and the bag fabric, which I think was important because of the use of white fabric – the purple would have shown through otherwise. The quilting was fairly simple, using aurifil thread in white (which gave amazing results, I’m definitely using aurifil wherever possible in future) and a rainbow Mettler thread which is coming up to being two decades old. My mum bought this for me very early on in my sewing days, I want to say in the first year or two of high school, but I’ve never found a use for it until now. Completely by chance, the variegation in the thread perfectly matched the sections of the piece, so that green thread ended up with the greens, blue ended up with the blues and so on. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried, it was the perfect final touch for the design! It might be a bit tricky to see, but hopefully the pictures below help (click on them to see them larger).
Note: I was provided the pattern in exchange for testing, but all thoughts and opinions as described here are my own.