Lucy’s Crab Shack Quilt

It all started last year when I won a Lucy’s Crab Shack (by Sweetwater for Moda) charm pack from a giveaway on Rachael’s blog. I’ve never really been interested in quilting before – it seemed fiddly and time consuming. Not to mention that accuracy was a required skill, one that I’m not too good at.

So six months later, that charm pack and some additional yardage has become this!

It’s a fairly good representation of what is going on in my brain most of the time – a disorganised riot of colour with not much planning!

I made the charm pack into pinwheels without any thought for what the quilt would eventually look like. Lesson One learnt – plan a quilt before you start making it. Some of the pinwheels ended up being slightly different sizes, so this made for huge challenges when sewing the quilt top together. There are lots of spots where the corners don’t quite meet up and the piecing is not accurate. C’est la vie, right?

I also originally went with a more random pattern, then I changed my mind and decided on the prints moving in a diagonal pattern through the quilt top. This has meant that the dark pink polka dot really stands out, so I’m not sure it was the best choice. Oh well!

I bought some yardage of various prints from the Lucy’s Crab Shack range and made some into squares to go on the quilt top, and once that was pieced and completed, I made the quilt back using three large pieces.

The really hard part of this project for me was the basting and quilting. I have absolutely zero experience in doing this, so I studied up by reading loads of quilting blogs, checking out You Tube videos and skyping with Jill (thanks Jill you gave me a big boost of confidence!) to get some expert tips and ask questions.

I kept it simple – I quilted approximately one centimetre either side of each row and column seam of the quilt top. Free motion just looked way beyond me and I’d rather practice that on scraps before I attempt it on an actual quilt. It’s the kind of thing I’d need to see in person to learn how to do it. Here is what the final product looks like:

For a first time quilt, I’m pretty proud of myself. It was one of the biggest projects I’ve ever done, and I’m glad I didn’t procrastinate any longer.

That said, there are a lot of things I will pay more attention to next time. They are:
– plan it all out from the beginning, or use a pattern.
– pay serious attention to accurate cutting and piecing
– machine stitch the binding to the FRONT of the quilt not the back, so the hand stitching is on the back (oops)
– mitre my corners better
– try to get a flatter finish when basting so the fabric doesn’t bunch (it only bunched a teeny bit) – quilters, how do you avoid this? I feel like I pinned it in the extreme!

The things I think I did well are:
–  Actually finish the whole thing.
– Kept going and trying even when I felt like things weren’t going well.
– Making and sewing on the binding (I do really love the pink polka dot binding).
– The size, I ended up with a perfect size for Lucy’s cot and eventually I’d like it to be a lap quilt for her. I envision her curling up with a good book and her quilt on a winter’s afternoon in years to come.

Thanks also to the great bunch of people who are with me over on Facebook and Instagram – you gave me lots of encouragement and help during the process and I really appreciated it!

So despite the mistakes and inaccuracies, I’m really happy with the finished product and the main thing is that Lucy will now have it for a long time and know that it was made for her with love from her Mummy.

20 thoughts on “Lucy’s Crab Shack Quilt

  1. Congrats, Ros!!! It looks fabulous!!! I really like the diagonal rows of polka dots standing out. I'm with you on the tinsy bit of bunching. I used a million pins, but it still happened on mine. In reality, I was the only one who noticed it (oh.. and all the quilters who looked at my blog). Every time I Skype my son, I see my quilt. I know it's been well used. Have you planned your 2nd quilt? I'm aiming for two this year… a rag rug picnic quilt and a memory quilt.

  2. I like that it's a little bit structured with the diagonals and a little bit random. What a great first quilt! I can't give any advice since I still haven't ventured into the world of quilting – I'm scared of the accuracy!

  3. For a first quilt this is brilliant. For any sort of quilt this is very good. I have made quite a few quilts and some have been ok and some have been disappointing. I was reminded that humans are not intended to be perfect. "Only God creates perfection!" I have learned lots from youtube, the source that satisfies. I recommend a basting spray for really making things easier. Quilting is satisfying in the long term and knocks the socks of little old aunties. That makes it worth every minute.

  4. Oh Ros! I love it! Makes me feel all warm and cosy inside. What a fantastic achievement. Little Lucy will love that forever. (I've got one put away for Emelia but she's not allowed to touch it. LOL Maybe I should let her use it.)

    Anne xx

  5. it looks awesome Ros! I love that for your first-ever quilt, you dived in and made pinwheels, not just sewed squares together.

    I struggle with accurate strip-cutting more than anything – no matter how much I iron the fabric and carefully fold it before cutting, I still haven't mastered 100% accurate cutting, it's always a little out. That of course then has a knock-on effect to seams being out, no matter how accurate the 1/4-inch seam is … I think it's why I shy away from making BIG things, and stick to little things – little pieces = easy to cut!. I have such a long list of quilts that I'd love to make though, and I've decided this is the year I finally get accurate cutting and seam-allowance under control.

    Did you use a walking-foot for your quilting? That can help a huge amount with bunching. I hate basting, and use minimal pins but it always turns out fine if I quilt slowly with a walking-foot.

    Rita from Red Pepper Quilts has a really good tutorial for machine-sewing binding on – it avoids the hand-sewing stage, though it takes a lot of practice to get really accurate at it. Accuracy seems to be a recurring theme with me today … 😉

    Congratulations on your first quilt, Lucy will love it, it's gorgeous. And you've written a great post too – in years to come you can read it through again and see how far you've come! Cat x

  6. When you're looking at getting your points to line up accurately, the biggest thing is to make sure you square up your blocks after you make them…. (it's a pain in the neck, but it definitely makes a difference). I know some people use spray startch to keep their blocks from stretching too much also.

    As for basting, I still have trouble with basting sometimes. I like to start at one end, then roll the quilt as I baste, then turn it over and do it again to make sure it's all compliant. Even then though, sometimes you get the little bunches.

    This quilt looks fantastic!

  7. Beautiful quilt, great job! What a great accomplishment! :o) I really want to make my first quilt soon too, but I'm a little intimidated! You did a fantastic job with yours!

  8. Your quilt is beautiful! I second the previous commenter who suggested a walking foot for quilting. It makes an amazing difference. Some quilters also use a spray baster (505 basting spray is popular) and say that it helps with accuracy as well. I've never tried it, so I can't comment on that.


  9. It looks great! Have you got a walking foot? They help pull the fabric through the machine – so no tugging or stretching. Also I always change my needle before I start quilting. It also helps if the backing fabric is of similar quality as the front – fabrics with more open weave will tend to stretch more….

    Any way, good on you for getting it done!!

    feel free to link up with my sew weekly prompt…



  10. Congratulations! Finishing your first quilt is quite an accomplishment! I remember my firsts, and boy did I have some corners that weren't quite right. It gets easier with time, and for really intricate work on a star quilt I did it by paper-piecing. Here's to many more quilts to come! ♥

  11. I can't wait to make a quilt using the Lucy's Crab Shack fabric. I just love it!!
    Mine will be only the second quilt I've made in recent years (since high school) so I'm looking for pattern inspiration at the moment.
    You did an awesome job! Lucy will be very lucky to have this quilt to curl up under in years to come.

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