Polka Dot Cottage: My Skinner Blend Quilt

My Skinner Blend Quilt

Posted May 13th, 2009 by

Almost finished

The Skinner Blend, for those of you not familiar with polymer clay techniques, is a popular method for color-mixing, that results in a sheet of clay that has a perfectly smooth gradation from one color to another.  I use Skinner Blends extensively in my cane-making, although by the time I’m done manipulating them, what you actually see are woven raffia ribbons, flower petals, and tiny triangles, among other things.  Skinner blends give depth and realism to canework.

Why am I telling you this? I’m not really sure, since technically it’s not possible to Skinner Blend fabric, in the true sense of the phrase.  I guess I just wanted you to know where the inspiration came from.

Mothers Day quilt

I suddenly decided on Sunday, that we needed a beach blanket, and that it should feature blues and greens, like the ocean.  I dug through my stash, pulling out some Denyse Schmidt, a handful of Heather Bailey, a couple of Joel Dewberry prints, a little bit of American Jane, and a whole lot of thrifted or swapped sheets and pillowcases.  As I sat on the floor setting out my potential quilt blocks, I realized I could make a blend – blue in one corner, green in the other, and aqua in between.

I decided that 5×5 wasn’t going to be big enough, and also that I needed some solid colors to break up all of that busy-ness, so I headed to the thrift shop and bought a small pile of pillowcases to finish the job.

Quilt top

Arranging everything by color proved to be more difficult than I initially imagined.  When you are putting together a diverse group of patterns, not only do you have to deal with hue changes, but you also have to take into account varying degrees of brightness.  I decided that in addition to the blue corner and the green corner, I’d also have a light corner and a dark corner, which helped to guide my placement decisions.  I also made up my mind not to study it too, too hard, because there were always going to be changes I could make.  The arrangement isn’t perfect, but I’m not sure it’s really possible to make it blend perfectly, in the confines of a 6×6 square.

Using some leftover strips

For the back of the quilt, I used a solid light aqua thrifted sheet. It was just a bit too narrow, though, and so I used some of the scraps from the front of the quilt to make a strip that I could attach to the sheet to widen it.

Rock pockets

From that point on, I turned to Erin’s instructions for her rock pocket blanket and finished sewing it up.

Floss for tying the quilt

To tie the quilt at the center of each block, I decided to stick with my blending theme and use six different colors of embroidery floss, starting with the purpley blue in the blue corner, and ending with the yellowey green in the green corner.

Tying the quilt

It was a pain in the neck, but I love the way it turned out.

Top stitching

I really worked hard on this quilt.  I have a tendency to cut corners and work quickly, when it comes to things that I am making for myself and for my family, but this was different.  I was overcome with a desire to do this well.  Why should I save all of my best work for strangers?  So I measured where before I might have eyeballed, and I ripped out mistakes that before I may have just put up with, until I ended up with something I can be really proud of.

The finished quilt

There’s just one problem.  I think it’s too nice for the beach :-D

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