The September challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors is to make a child's quilt using the new Accuquilt die sent in Box 2 in July. Our instructions were to make something colourful and fun, with space for magic and whimsy. What a fantastic directive!
The die I received was "Cleopatra's Fan". This is a beautiful block, first published by Laura Wheeler in the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1934, and one I have long admired but never sewn.
Since the block looks flowery and feminine to me, when I sketched it out in EQ8, I started with pink blossoms, yellow centres, and green leaves.
As I often do when designing, I substituted white for some of the colours, just to see what would emerge.
I got this, and knew immediately where my design quest was headed.
One of my favourite reads when I was young was the King Arthur stories, and especially Thomas Malory's, Le Morte d'Arthur. We all know at least some of this tale: the gallant Knights of the Round Table follow their King -who has pulled the sword Excaliber from a stone to prove his identity - on a quest to find the Holy Grail.
It's a story that has captivated our imaginations for centuries, and spawned many books and movies.
Even the Monty Python version shows the red flared cross on the knights' tunics.
It's very reminiscent of the cross depicted on the flag for the Knights Templar...and it's what I saw in the Cleopatra's Fan block. What fun: a King Arthur quilt!
In my Island Batik boxes were fabric which worked perfectly: solid black and grey, and a mottled red and creamy white.
It took NO TIME to cut the pieces with the Accuquilt Go! cutter, and the notched sections made piecing a dream.
I appliqued grey fleur-de-lis in the corners. Not only do they symbolize nobility, but to me they bear a striking resemblance to a sword...in this case, Excaliber.
I chose a polyester batting from the Hobbs Tuscany Collection; the label says it "quilts magnificently", and it does.
The piecing of the quilt was quick, but the basting took three tries to get it right. It was one of those days where everything goes wrong...including having the joining seam on the outside of the back. Arrggh - that's a first for me!
Finally it all came together. I used a solid grey for the backing, and in the centre simply quilted in the ditch along the seam lines.
I used Aurifil 50 weight threads both top and bobbin in matching colours.
The outside border is quilted in a rope design, which you can see in this shot. Measuring 45" x 60", it's a great snuggle size for a young Sir Galahad.
Fortunately, we live near the ruins of an old fort, and it was the perfect spot to photograph the quilt.
Mind you, it's doubtful any actual Knights of the Round Table ever visited Fort Beausejour, but we can pretend.
A since thank you to sponsors Island Batik, Accuquilt, Aurifil, and Hobbs batting for supplying the products and inspiration, for what turned out to be a very fun meet up of Cleopatra and King Arthur.