Have you heard of Marimekko? They are an iconic Finnish design house who are famous for textiles and interiors. You will probably recognise the fabric I’ve used for this quilt – the famous Unniko or poppy print, which was designed in 1964 and has enjoyed continued popularity ever since.
But what can you do with such large scale prints? Of course, you could use them as a backing, but I think when you are paying a premium for designer fabric, you want to make a feature of it. Rather than get too tricky and add more fuss, I decided to keep it simple with a monochrome palette and create a quilt top with a retro feel.
Here are the details so you can make one too.
All seams are 1/4″. The finished quilt is 47″ wide by 65″ long.
1 metre of Marimekko Unikko – I just squeezed enough out of this amount – you might want another 1/2 metre just to be sure. I got mine from Yulki’s Marimekko Fabric Australia– a fabulous new Aussie seller who specialises in Scandi fabric.
1.5m black solid fabric for quilt top and binding
2-4m of fabric for backing – this is similar to what I used
Good quality white thread for piecing
Good quality black thread for quilting
A hera marker (for accurate quilting)
I pressed my fabric with a good quality starch style spray before cutting.
18 x 10″ squares from the Marimekko print (use the 12.5″ quilt ruler for accuracy)
34 x 5 1/4″ squares from white (use the 6.5″ quilt ruler for accuracy)
34 x 5 1/4″ squares from black (6.5″ quilt ruler)
Quilt assembly –
Take a black and white square and sew them together. Repeat with another black and white pair and then sew the two pairs together to create one of these checkerboard units.
Repeat with all the black and white squares until you have 17 checkerboard units. Use your 12.5″ square ruler to ensure the units are 10″ square. Trim if required.
Lay out your Marimekko and checkerboard units until you have a pattern that works for you.
For this particular quilt I started with 3 Marimekko units and 2 checkerboards in the top row, so the Marimekko would form the corners of the quilt. I alternated squares until I had 7 rows, giving me Marimekko corners at the bottom of the quilt.
Stitch together each row using a 1/4″. I find my 1/4″ piecing foot very helpful for achieving accuracy.
Once your rows are assembled, sew the quilt top together.
Put together your quilt sandwich with the backing, batting and quilt top. Baste either with pins or spray.
Quilt as desired. I have used a simple cross hatch design though the corners of the smaller squares.
Using black thread, there was no room for uneven lines or error – there is nowhere to hide with black on white quilting!! I prefer not to use disappearing ink pens in this circumstance as I’ve heard to many stories of the ink not disappearing and leaving marks!
To get accurate quilting lines, I used my long quilting ruler and a hera marker. A hera marker is a tool that you use like a pen, and it creates a sharp crease in the fabric. Ideal for straight line quilting and no residual marks!
Once you have quilted your quilt, trim up and bind in your preferred method. I like to make my own straight edged binding, machine sew it to the front and hand stitch to the back. I learned this method from the book The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman, and it works well for me.
Another tip – you might find that quilting with black fabric is a pain because the fluff from the batting gets all over it. Don’t stress – finish the quilt, then at the end run a cheap adhesive lint roller over the quilt. They are available from dollar stores and your black patchwork will come up as good as new!
Make sure you pop over and check out all the Scandi fabric loveliness at Yulki’s – it will probably give you some great Christmas gift ideas for a fabric-a-holic (or just to add something special to your stash!)