Feature Quilt – “Octopus’s Garden”

Hello everyone,

I thought I’d do another feature post on the making of a finished quilt. Today I’ve chosen to feature “Octopus’s Garden” as it’s my most recent lap quilt (and current favourite!), which is available to buy here. I don’t always take many pictures while I’m making my quilts, but I took a fair few on this one. Hopefully you find it interesting to see how I work…

octopus's garden handmade quilt

I knew in advance for this quilt that I wanted to make one in orange and pink shades, so I hit my favourite fabric shops with a plan. A couple of these are from a collection, ‘Chicopee’ by Denise Schmidt, but they are mostly odd fabrics that I matched together by eye.

After deciding to challenge myself with some curvy scallop shaped blocks, I set out designing the layout on the computer.

I buy all my fabrics by the fat quarter, and as I hate wastage, I use the computer to accurately work out the best way to get the most pieces from the fabric without waste. In this case, when I decided on the size and shape of each piece, I printed a to-scale template to use in the cutting….

…and so I cut the scallops, 72 of them!

I then used my computer layout to lay the design out on the floor and decide on the positioning of blocks for even distribution of pattern and shades.

Once I was happy with the design, I started sewing row by row until they were all joined together.After squaring up the final block, I added some sashing and borders to frame the design. Doesn’t it remind you of a mermaid’s tale?

The next stage is basting together the three layers. This is not my favourite part of the process by a long way! In my small dining room, it is very hard to stretch out all three layers of the quilt totally flat, which is very important to avoid unwanted puckering during quilting. I now use bulldog clips to clip it to the table and do half of it at a time, which so far is the best method I have found.

Once the tedious bit is out of the way I can start quilting, and for “Octopus’s Garden” I chose to do a meandering free motion quilting design to tie in with the under the sea vibe that the scallop shapes created. I find this type of quilting very therapeutic to do as you get into quite a rhythm when you get going and it’s quite hypnotic!

Next I dug out a coordinating fabric from my stash to make the binding. This was a very light fabric so I layered it up several times to make a durable binding which is still very soft. I love doing the binding, it feels like the icing on the cake and it really pulls the quilt design together.

After a wash to wrinkle and soften it up, the finished quilt was complete! I’m so happy with this one that I could quite happily hibernate underneath it for the rest of the winter! I might make one for myself. I’ll add it to my to do list…

The name came very quickly for this quilt. My fella said it reminded him of a Beatles album cover, and from there it was a no-brainer “Octopus’s Garden” was just perfect!

And, if the song doesn’t put a smile on your face during a gloomy mid-week, then nothing will…..

L xx


Filed under quilts

2 responses to “Feature Quilt – “Octopus’s Garden”

  1. Mandy

    I love this quilt! How did you sew the scallops together? Are they raw edge?

    • Hi Mandy,

      Sorry for missing your comment. Thank you for the compliment, it’s one of my favourites too. The individual scallops were sewn together in a row with a normal seam, and then the rows layered on top of one another and applique’d round the curves.

      L x

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