The Bamboo Quilt
Featuring fabrics by Sevenberry: Kasuri from Robert Kaufman.
When I saw these irresistibly beautiful fabrics called Sevenberry: Kasuri by Robert Kaufman in my local fabric craft store Fabric Fanatics, I purchased a bundle of them with no quilt design in mind. As I was finishing my then work-in-progress Disappearing Hourglass Moroccan Tiles Quilt, I began searching for quilt ideas and inspiration for the Sevenberry: Kasuri fabrics. My design ideas revolve around Japanese themes and cultures. Finally, I settled with this variation of the pick-up sticks quilt design that gives an illusion of bamboo branches in the finished quilt, hence the name Bamboo Quilt.
Up close, you will see that the Sevenberry: Kasuri line of fabrics are designed with embroidery, particularly sashiko, in mind. I am not into embroidery, but the fabrics are more than beautiful enough on their own.
DESIGN & DIMENSIONS
Here are the dimensions of the Bamboo Quilt.
STEP 1: Cut Fabrics
Note: S.A. = Seam Allowance
From the black and indigo fabrics, cut Background Rectangles:
Since I have a variety of the darker indigo fabric, I try to cut them such that I have a balanced number of cuts from each print.
From the beige fabrics, cut Bamboo Strips:
Note that the finished width of my Bamboo Strips is 2 cm but I have indicated 4 cm cut width, which may seem excessive. See Step 3 below to find out why you need such wide cut.
Tip! If you want your bamboo branches to have finished width other than 2 cm, remember to cut your Bamboo Strips to include seam allowance of half the finished width on both sides i.e. the width of the strip cut should be twice the finished width. This is JUST for the Bamboo Strip. You can use your regular preferred seam allowance such as the quarter-inch everywhere else in the quilt. See Step 3 below to find out why.
STEP 2: Piece Background Rectangles
Take the smaller rectangle cuts from Step 1 and piece them (with your chosen seam allowance) to form larger rectangles that should come out the same size as the whole cut rectangles.
STEP 3: Slice Rectangles & Sew On Bamboo Strips
In this step, use seam allowance of half the Bamboo Strip width (in my case, it was 1 cm). By doing so, I am taking away the same amount of width from the Background Rectangle as the amount of width added to it by the Bamboo Strip (about 1 cm lost from each side of strip is compensated by the 2 cm wide finished Bamboo Strip).
If the block has a second Bamboo Strip, use the same slice-and-sew method to add the second Bamboo Strip. Be careful to leave enough clearance on the left and right edges of the blocks for seam allowance for sewing the blocks together later.
The size of your blocks after adding the Bamboo Strips (regardless of how many strips were added) should be the same as the rectangle that you started with before adding the strips. However, if perhaps due to inaccurate cutting and piecing you end up with blocks of different sizes, you can (and should) trim them down to a consistent size. Remember to also trim down any untouched rectangles to the same consistent size. In my case, there were two black rectangles that were not added with any Bamboo Strips, and they had to be trimmed down too.
STEP 4: Applique Leaves
I prepared the applique pieces the same way I did in my Mini Orange Peel Quilt and then sewed them on using the machine stitch that mimics hand applique stitches.
Tip! Vary the shapes and sizes of the leaves to give them a more organic and realistic look. In my quilt, I had actually hand-drawn my leave templates instead of using the symmetrical orange peel shape you see in the above illustration.
STEP 5: Sew Blocks and Sashing Together
My sashing strips were cut at 6 cm width and my seam allowance was a quarter inch. This results in finished sashing width of 4.5 cm. I used the same black fabric for my sashing.
Piecing in Progress
STEP 6: Add Border, Baste to Batting & Backing, Quilt & Bind
My quilt has a scrappy border made up of the various dark indigo fabrics used in the main quilt panel. For binding, I used the same black fabric I used for the sashing.
I quilted it using meandering quilting in this deep teal colour thread.
As for the backing, I used this beautiful fabric with cranes print, which I find very apt for the overall Japanese themed quilt.
Here's the finished quilt again!