A Single Girl Quilt for a Mermaid

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There’s nobody easier to make/buy/pick out gifts for than my sister. She has maybe the most well-defined personal taste I’ve ever seen, which can be narrowed down to: Country/Tribal/Western, Non-Preppy Nautical, and Just a Smidge of Emo (black nail polish, tiny Sharpie tattoos.)

Part of the reagiphy (1).gifson I love making gifts so much is it’s fun to experiment with different colors and themes than I would choose for myself, and interpreting that theme in a way I still think looks good. I knew I wanted Christie’s quilt to be this pattern, mermaid/ocean themed, and in her favorite color combo: turquoise and brown.
IMG_8174.JPGDenyse Schmidt’s Single Girl is not a quilt I ever thought I would be drawn to, but something about those busy, colorful “squircle” rings set in a serene solid background just gripped me. It’s so visually fun and interesting, so different than my usual orderly squares, and perfect for using up scraps and small bits of fabric.

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pre quilted Single Girl 

While turquoise and brown might not be my favorite color combination, I love a color challenge and couldn’t be happier with the results. Instead of dark turquoise, it’s aqua; instead of medium brown, it’s rich bittersweet chocolate brown; and shades of coral, navy, teal, cream, and peach round out the palette.

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Aside from the background and backing, I actually didn’t buy much fabric for this quilt– most was scraps I already had, or fat eighths/quarters purchased as needed to complement the prints in my stash (you only need about 2-3 yards total of ring fabric.) The patchwork rings are improv pieced, meaning you get to sew scraps together in an curve more or less mimicking the pattern piece, then you lay the pattern piece over it and cut around to make a clean curved piece. It’s fast, it’s fun, and gives you a lot of freedom in terms of sizes and color layout. After just completing the Adventure Quilt a week or so earlier, this imprecise method was just what I needed. Sewing the curved pieces took a little practice, but if you use pins and go slowly it’s hard to mess up.

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I sent this quilt out to be longarmed because “scale” scallop quilting would be the final  touch to really convey the mermaid theme, and I’m so glad I did. I usually don’t want o to shell out the cash for longarming, but a few of my seams weren’t super flat and the quilting really nailed everything down.

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Even though I don’t usually use quilt patterns, I think Free Wheeling Single Girl is really well made and I’m already planning another for myself!

  • Pattern: “Free Wheeling Single Girl” by Denyse Schmidt
  • Quilt top fabric: scrappy, with an emphasis on aqua, brown, and coral, with mermaids and under the sea motifs. Background is Cotton Supreme Solids in Iceberg.
  • Batting: Hobbs 80/20
  • Backing: Pure Element in Grapefruit, a solid from Art Gallery
  • Binding: Whisper Palette Jewels by Lizzy House
  • Quilting by: Thread Bear Quilting
  • Number/size and type of blocks: 48/12″ (I think?) improv pieced curves
  • Finished size: twin

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