Spring Lilacs - Modern Quilt Made from Fabric Scraps

Spring Lilacs Quilt | Shannon Fraser Designs #quiltsinthewild 

I love it when a quilt project is a journey. Like a story that you’re writing up as you go along. Don’t you?! 

The freedom of creativity. How a small idea leads to uncharted territories and, through exploration, blooms into a new pattern. This was that kind of a quilt journey. 

It all started with triangle scraps leftover from the flying geese I used in my Playtime Quilt. I have a hard time throwing away those pretty little cut-offs. So, I stacked them in a pretty little bowl I brought back from Japan. 

Flying geese fabric trimmings sitting stacked in a blue and gray ceramic bowl from Japan | Spring Lilacs Quilt | Shannon Fraser Designs #fabricscraps

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And then thought about them everyday that they sat on my table, just beckoning me to create with them. But there they sat for months on end, until one day I decided to schedule them in my Quilter’s Planner and finally decided to piece them together back in January. They were such little cuties and, paired together, the blue shot cotton made this graphic chevron motif. What a happy little discovery! 

Hourglass blocks with raspberry shot cotton triangles attached to two opposite sides | Spring Lilacs quilt | Shannon Fraser Designs #hourglassblock 

In came the orphan hourglass blocks. I liked the idea of them being on point. With my continued dedication to work my stash off this year, I had just enough of the Raspberry shot cotton by Kaffe Fassett to border them up. After I got them all pieced, I realised I made the hourglass blocks look more like half square triangles, but with a lot more work!! 

In any event, I liked the added lines this brought to the overall design. 

Navy blue central chevron feature of the Spring Lilacs quilt | Shannon Fraser Designs #halfsquaretriangles

With a good chunk of the Blue Jean shot cotton leftover, I knew this would be the background and backing. I figured this worked out perfectly as I really wanted the focus to remain on the central chevron design. 

What I hadn’t counted on was having my mother-in-law stop by for a visit and compliment this quilt. She was really taken with it and I instantly knew I would gift it as her birthday gift. At that point, it was a baby size quilt and I had worked out all the materials to complete that size. 

I had been mulling incorporating some *Essex linen in Flax into the mix, but after I made the central chevron panel, I decided to forgo the linen and just focus on the shot cottons in Blue Jean and Raspberry. But with the need to increase the size, I had no choice to bring in some more fabric. The Essex linen was my go to. Plus, I know she loves blue and beige and it works with her interior décor. It was perfect! 

Pin basting the Spring Lilacs quilt | Shannon Fraser Designs #pinbasting

I added a larger border in the beige linen around the design to bring it up to a generous lap size. Although this wasn’t my initial plan, I love how the soft colour complimented and framed the darker blue. I find the central design really stands out more because of this addition. Not to mention it gives the eye some breathing room. 

Spring Lilacs quilt on the dock in front of a lake in the summer time | Shannon Fraser Designs #modernquilt

Asymmetrical blue and beige quilt backing on the Spring Lilacs quilt on the end of a dock in front of a summer lake | Shannon Fraser Designs #modernquilt

I had a plan for the backing. And then, while lying in bed at night, it dawned on me to go asymmetrical. My original thought was to steer pretty traditional and border the blue square on all sides with the Essex linen. But the more I thought about my idea to border only 2 sides, the more I really liked the idea. So much so, I was really intrigued and excited what this would mean for the look of the quilting on the back. It would elevate it from classic to contemporary and I loved that! I just needed to remember the plan in the morning! I really should place a pad and pen next to my bed…this happens way too often! Thankfully, I did remember and as I pieced the backing, I grew more and more excited about the quilting. 

Quilting the Spring Lilacs quilt on my Juki and the corner quilting detail of the finished quilt | Shannon Fraser Designs #machinequilting

Quilting detail on the Spring Lilacs quilt using 40wt Aurifil Thread | Shannon Fraser Designs #aurifilthread

Quilting with my Juki TL-2010Q is such a joy. The stitch quality is phenomenal and, paired with Aurifil Thread, the resulting quilting really stands out. I decided on 40wt Aurifil thread in the colours *Wine, *Blue Gray, and *Silver White. They all match the Raspberry, Blue Jean and Flax perfectly. 

I quilted each section differently. The raspberry central panel I stitched ¼” on either side of the squares. The blue got a mix of triangles and ½” organic straight-line quilting. The outer beige borders got 1” straight lines, which makes a square motif in the corners where the lines intersect – swoon! 

Since I was trying quilting different techniques, I encountered a few issues. Fabric bunching kinda issues…ugh, just to name one. Even with mishaps, it felt good to step outside my quilting comfort zone and try new approaches. And, I’m glad I did as the different quilt designs paired with the different feel of the shot cotton and linen feels simply amazing! The hand feel on this quilt is scrumptious! From the über soft Playground fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics, and the soft Shot Cottons, to the texture of the linen, it’s a total sensory experience. The dense line quilting creates these soft pillowy hills that just make you want to curl up on a couch with a hot cup of tea and a great book! 

Handmade quilt label in beige linen with raspberry shot cotton border | Spring Lilacs quilt | Shannon Fraser Designs #quiltlabel

And of course, no quilt is complete without a label! I’ve actually grown fond of my custom quilt labels, they just seem to finish the quilts off perfectly! Plus they use up scraps from the project – how bad can that be?! 

Make your own with this easy DIY Quilt Label Tutorial.

It has taken me forever to share this project with you as my plans to take pictures of this quilt in the wild got foiled on so many occasions! We would be driving up North on a beautiful sunny day and then bam clouds would roll in and rain would soon follow just as we got all unpacked! I lost count how many times this happened to me! But when I finally caught a nice day and loaded the files when I was back in the city I was so excited by how they turned out. So, I guess the moral of the story is things happen when they’re meant to happen! 

Spring Lilacs quilt on the dock in front of a lake in the summer time | Shannon Fraser Designs #summerquilt

I’ve also come to realize that I love quilting without a pattern. I love the thought process. The endless possibilities to explore. And then seeing those ideas form into a unique and custom quilt. So fun! Do you like to quilt without a pattern? 

Happy quilting my friends!

xo

Shannon

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