Rainbow cushions

Every now and then, when it happens to catch my eye, I pick up a copy of Quilting magazine when I go to Tesco. Not long before the first lockdown, I got a copy with a couple of rainbow coloured designs on it. Inside, I found a fabulous design for a Somerset folded patchwork cushion.

Now I’m never very good at Origami. It requires a certain level of precision that I can’t maintain for very long. My attention tends to wander, and mistakes creep in. But this one had to be worth the effort.

The only other time I have attempted anything like this was in 1/12 scale, using tiddly bits of 1/4 inch wide ribbon. Every time I tried to sew anything down on that project, something moved ever so slightly and messed everything up. Once bitten, twice shy.

So it took me a long time to get round to it. I knew that once I started sorting my stash, I would get to a certain stage where there was mess everywhere. Inevitably, I wasn’t going to have all the colours I needed in my stash, and this isn’t the year for keeping an eye open for extras when out and about.

But a few weeks ago, I made a list of what I needed, and started the hunt for candidates. I needed 4 squares in various sizes of each of 8 colours. Well, there are four courners, and you need to join them along the sides with 4 more. To make that work with seven colours of the rainbow, indigo has been dropped, and turquoise and pink have been added.

As it turned out, I had almost all I needed. I needed a turquoise and a yellow, but as I didn’t need a specific match that was easy enough to rectify online.

Some of my squares are rectangles, but by using a bit of paper I worked out that as long as I had the correct measurement one way and more than half the measurement the other, it would work. The idea is to fold the square in half, then fold the top corners to the bottom edge to form a flying goose style triangle, and then layer them up to make the pattern. That means if one measurement is correct, and the other is long enough to hide the raw edge, you are in business.

Mostly, I’m very pleased with the way this turned out. I had a little trouble with the last two rounds of triangles. I have a feeling that the geometry wasn’t quite right, and it would have been better to cut the fabric a little larger. But it could easily be me not being accurate enough. It doesn’t matter, because I can live with the result. I have to look quite hard to see the problem.

I was particularly pleased with the way this random selection of fabrics worked together. I thought while I had them all out, I might do another of the designs. But the only one that would work with a cushion I’d got was 25 different half square triangles. I’m not keen on sewing bias cut edges together, so I like the various methods of making multiple half square triangle blocks at once. That would mean both sides of the cover being the same, which I wasn’t sure I wanted.

I’ve been looking at the hunters’star block for a while, and I thought I’d see if I could make it work for this. There are all sorts of methods for doing this block, including using a special ruler, and another that involves long bias cuts. Then I found this post about combining half square triangles and squares. I cut 3 coloured 3.5 inch squares and 3 white squares for each block, and ended up with a square of about 18 inches. The half square triangles were made four at a time, sewing all round the squares, and then cutting across both diagonals.

So what else can I do with these fabrics? I’ve been meaning to try wonky log cabin for a long time, so I did a block of that, and quilted it in a spiral.

I decided this one shouldn’t have a plain back, so I’ve sewn together some 2 1/2 inch strips, quilted with random lines. I think the two sides of this cushion work well together.

I briefly considered making another using a house block. I’ve seen one on Pinterest that just uses red and white fabrics, in 4 blocks.

I can’t quite get my head round translating this idea into many colours.

So for now, I’m quitting while I’m ahead. I’m now running out of boring cushions that came with the sofa!

About The Proof Angel

I am a freelance editor and proofreader, working with a wide range of clients from large companies to individuals. I can help you to communicate clearly by carrying out a final check, or by suggesting ideas get your message over. I am an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading. I also have a sideline in textiles, as The Rainbow Angel.
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