Part of the vision of Girt by Sea was for the three of us to create our own versions to inspire you and sew-along with you. Here is our choices and the stories behind them.
Find out more about Girt by Sea and buy your copy of the pattern:
There was a point a little way back where I considered several different options for Girt. I’m sure it was at least a micro second… aaaaaannnnnd then I thought “who am I kidding? Of course I’m doing a rainbow!”
It may have also been that I was staring at a gorgeous Alison Glass Sunprint 2017 rainbow recently arrived from Clair of Clair’s Fabrics!
Seriously, how do you go past a saturated rainbow? Plus, no-one does them better than Alison Glass. I knew that I wanted my rainbow to be split into 8 colours (because teal is a colour of the rainbow, right?) and that I wanted the rainbow to radiate around the quilt rather than from the centre out. So, I worked out that I would need 4 print fabrics for each of the 8 colour sections.
Fortunately for me I have an extensive Alison Glass collection… sigh… and could dip into my stash for the complementary colours.
I calculated that I would need 32 fat eighths to make the quilt. In some colours there are more than 4 prints – I wanted to use some scraps and some other favourite prints that weren’t quite fat eighth size.
Then it was time to decide on a name. Rainbow fart was tossed around for a while, but ultimately discarded. I started thinking about how a rainbow relates to the Aussie theme that Girt by Sea evokes and (with some help from our resident wordsmith Alison) realised that we live in Oz!
From there it was a hop, skip and jump down the yellow brick road before I came up with the name – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
My quilt has been an evolution. I knew a certain someone would go full on rainbow so wanted something different to that, something that was also me, what I wanted to create.
It started with a conversation with Clair of Clair’s Fabrics. My original brief to Clair was for a lovely soft, quiet, neutral style bundle. I had already bought some soft teals so was going to include them as well.
This was Clair’s first suggestion. I loved it but the bright blues didn’t appeal to me. Take them out (on the right) and I was loving where this was headed. I wasn’t sure at that stage how much fabric I would need but was thinking around 12-15 fat quarters (it’s all detailed in the pattern now!).
I’m terrible at describing colours and tones, I just know what I like when I see it. So I went to Design Seeds on Instagram and found this image. I know it isn’t the quiet, low volume look that I was going for but it really appealed to me.
So these were the resulting fabric pulls. LOVE! but still not quite right. I needed more variation, more depth. Rather than fat quarters, could I look at fat eighths and have more fabric – YES! Thanks Clair.
And this is how Clair and I (cause I couldn’t have done it without lots of input from her), arrived at – “Into the deep”.
Being able to call Clair from Clair’s Fabrics a friend is not only a joy because she’s one fascinating lady, but also because I can go to her house, walk through the rooms full of fabric and pick out treasures!
Even so, I found it incredibly hard to put together my bundle for Girt By Sea. Not only was there simply too much choice, but I realised that I don’t normally choose fabrics for a project in this way at all. I’ve either already got my fabrics and choose a project to suit them, or, particularly with a medallion quilt like this, kind of make it up as I go along, when I can see what looks right where. This would be the first time I’d had the pattern first and then chosen all the fabrics before even starting.
“Just find one or two things that you love. Don’t worry about how they go together at this stage” Clair advised. So I browsed the shelves, picking out various bolts of gorgeousness, but kept gravitating back to Cotton and Steel and finally settled on a selection of Print Shop by Alexia Abegg. “Now,” my guru said “find anything and everything that coordinates with those prints. Don’t think about whether or not you like them.” Wow, was that a game-changer! I’m not sure I would have picked out this spiky print normally, but look how it coordinates beautifully with the rusts and also pulls that neon pink into play!
The final step was for Clair to work her magic in helping me cull all the coordinating fabrics I’d picked out so that we were left with the ones that really work as a complete package. I can’t describe quite how this happens, but even if you love a particular fabric, if it doesn’t play nicely with the others you have to let it go. That said, a little quirk is what makes your quilt uniquely yours, so even though the neon pink sits pretty much all on its own in this bundle, we both agreed I should keep it!
The bundle of fabric I left Clair’s house with took me totally by surprise! Although I loved it, it was a complete departure from how I had anticipated making this quilt. But when I showed the bundle to Jane, she said “It’s the colours of Australia!” and it all fell beautifully into place. I hadn’t intended to do a literal interpretation of Girt By Sea, but here was the blue of the sky, the aqua of the oceans, the green of the mountains, and the red of the earth. And that neon pink? Well, that’s what makes my quilt “Flirty Girty“!
Our bundles are available through Clair’s Fabrics now – just search ‘Girt by Sea’.