Lilla Quilt - a Testing Version Comes to Life

Lilla Quilt Improv Quilt Pattern

Testing, Testing

45'' x 45''

About 18 months ago I started working with Lotta Jansdotter on the Lilla quilt pattern. We wanted to time it so a pattern came out when her Lilla fabric line was launching. You can read more about the process here. Before I made anything with Lotta's fabric though I needed to test out the block designs and instructions.

How many of you have stacks of selected fabrics? Colour inspiration hits and you pull fabrics. Then the piles sit there until time or secondary inspiration suddenly appears. Well, when I needed to test the blocks I pulled one of those stacks at random. This particular one was chartreuse and navy, inspired by an outfit Lady Edith was wearing on Downton Abbey once. But as I made more blocks the chartreuse collection of fabric was clearly not going to be enough so I picked peach to play along.

As we tested I had to take pictures in greyscale so colour did not cloud our judgement. Always a useful step, no matter the project.  Once we were happy with all the blocks - some got swapped out at this point, I think I designed about 30 in total - I went straight to making them in Lotta's fabric. And the test blocks were set aside.

Improvisational quilt pattern Lilla Quilt

A few months ago I remembered the blocks and decided to put them all together. More accurately, I found the pile of blocks under a bunch of other stuff and suddenly remembered that they could be a quilt.

You see, the Lilla quilt pattern provides 25 different block patterns. The cover quilt on the pattern uses all 25 four times over. My version here uses each one once only. Queen size versus baby. Of course, you could only use a handful of the patterns instead of all of them too.

Then the quilt sat, basted, for a couple of months. I started the quilting, but it wasn't quite right. Neither was my machine. So I ripped and repaired the machine. Then, two weeks ago, I was looking at a photo of Lotta's original paper cuts that started us down this design path. Ah ha!! Quilting inspiration. A couple of Morning Make sessions later and the quilting was done.

The binding is this great Cotton and Steel. It happened to be sitting in a pile of fabric for another project, but it was too perfect here. And it matches the back perfectly, a piece of Anna Maria Horner's Loominous fabric. 

Cotton and Steel Lotta Jansdotter

In all my years quilting I will fully admit to having a hard time following patterns. But once you start writing them you see things differently. Suddenly you get excited at the possibilities. No one says you have to make it exactly the way it was written, or the way the pattern cover shows. I think it is fantastic to see these two quilts side by side, to see the differences. And I made them both.

The Lilla pattern is a mix between improv and precision piecing. It provides guidelines for the improv work and walks you through it. If you are new to improv, this is a great introduction. There is just enough precision piecing to provide order to those who crave that too. Don't like a block design? Don't make it! Love one particular one? Make 30 of them. There is so much freedom of expression in this pattern. 

Loominous fabric Anna Maria Horner

Pattern available wholesale and retail through C&T Publishing.