It feel like it's been forever...who am I kidding? It has been FOREVER. The beginning of this was over a year ago. The mammoth project started about 4 weeks before Keegan's 8th birthday. He's well over 9 now, so lets just say we are ALL happy on all accounts that this quilt is COMPLETE.
He has duly reminded me many times over the past 18 months that he is still waiting for it. The thought of surprising him with it was my initial though, but I realised he'd have fun designing his favourite blocks into quilt squares, so I didn't do that. Lucky! I was a bit surprised he didn't want the TNT block (I really wanted to do that because it would have been waaaay easier than THE FISHING ROD that he did want).
We designed some of our own blocks using graph paper and coloured pencils - the fishing rod, powered rail, torch, egg, bookcase and enchantment table. Because we are both a little bit particular (him more so than me) about things looking right, most of the blocks had to be 16 x 16 squares (yes, your maths is correct if that came out to 256 itty bitty squares for each block). What a biatch they were. Of course that's why it took me so long. The thought of lining them up exactly. Gah.
And sewing them into the exact same size squares. This is probably Basic Quilting 101 but I'm not a seasoned quilter. You can probably skip this bit if you are. The key here is in the 1/4" seam allowance. Because I hadn't done all of the blocks in one hit, I couldn't remember how far out my machine's guide was. Turns out, it is quite out. Like 1mm. 1mm over 16 blocks equates to 1.6cm!! That results in a lot of trimming, re-sewing seams and a few swear words.
There are however plenty of good uses for a block that doesn't quite turn out square. A cushion. A wall hanging. A pencil case.
My advice is to double check every seam. I recommend you iron seams flat, measure, re-measure the finished size then finally trim the seam allowances last. It's much harder to sew the straight lines once you've disrupted your lovely fusible grid holding everything close together. Some of my blocks don't line up perfectly but you can't tell. Right.
A tip on ironing the seams open or to one side - I wouldn't bother ironing the seams open. It made no difference to the finished quilt and it takes ages and ages and ages longer. I started the quilt ironing seams open and by the end, they were ironed to the side. Care factor was waning and really it made no difference.
The whole pattern for this twin size quilt was based on one from Slightly Off Quilter, who put it together for one of her fellow quilters in a discussion board, which can be found here. The base pattern measurements are for 16 x 16" square blocks (finished size). Each block has eight rows and eight columns (64 blocks) made from blocks cut to 2.5" square. The blocks with the tiny squares - 16 x 16 squares (256 blocks) had squares cut to 1.5"x 1.5".
I found a fabulous tip from Tricia at My Rainy Day Designs about using fusible grid paper to line up the squares. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing this. You are welcome. If you can't find fusible grid paper, plain fusible interfacing works well with lines drawn on it in pencil or pen. Tricia did have patterns of blocks listed on Craftsy, but apparently the Minecraft powers that be weren't too keen on that. So you will need to use your eyes and imagination to recreate the blocks all by yourself.
I may not have used 50 shades of grey, but this quilt does have over 40 shades of colour! 9 shades of green, 7 shades of brown, 3 shades of grey, 8 shades of blue, 3 shades of red, skin colour - 4 shades, 2 shades of yellow and two of orange, white, black and a few purples thrown in for good measure!
Clair's Fabrics is an excellent place to start for a massive range of Kona solids and is where I began my search for solid colours. I use my local quilting store Southlands Sewing Centre to source the colours I didn't have and needed to match, sometimes you just need to go and buy fabric in real life! The green backing is called Broken Stripes, which I bought that from another one of my favourite online fabric stores, Utopian Threads. The minecraft strip was originally from Spoonflower though I scored it through a destash group on Facebook. Keegan was pretty insistent that I used it, and since he really didn't want the green backing I'd bought, I had to aquiesce somewhere!
Was a little breezy trying to take photos today!
I had the quilting done by the fabulous Michelle (she has to be fabulous with that name!) from Kwerki Quilting who came recommended from a friend. We absolutely love the job she has done on this, it's truly amazing. If I'd quilted this myself, we'd be waiting at least another year for some substandard straight lines! She had it done in just over a week with this fancy pants geometric pattern.
In the beginning, this was going to be a 'twin' size quilt. Somehow it's ended up a bit bigger - perfect to hang down the sides of the bed and for snuggling under on the couch. I hope you feel a little bit inspired to try something for your own minecrafty peeps!
Pattern by Slightly Off Quilter here and My Rainy Days here
Fabrics from Clair's Fabrics, Southlands Sewing Centre, Utopian Threads and Spoonflower
Machine Quilting by Kwerki Quilting