Portland waterfront quilt

Portland waterfront quilt 1

When I read that these fabrics were inspired by the Portland waterfront – one of my favorite places to run, bike, and admire all the bridges – I knew I had to put them to some use.  I think it’s actually harder to create a quilt when your focus is on the fabrics, because you don’t want to cut them up into small pieces – you want to admire them whole cloth!  But, of course, the point of a quilt is piecing together small bits of cloth . . .

My compromise was to use a variety of 8″ blocks – some 10″ square, some assembled in four 3.5″ blocks, and some assembled in two 3.5″ x 8″ rectangles.  In this way, I kept the fabric pieces relatively large, but I built in some variety above and beyond just a “bunch of squares.”

Portland waterfront quilt 4

The fabric is from Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park collection, in colors breeze, navy, and clementine.  I used Robert Kaufman’s Brussels Washer Yarn-Dye, in color denim as the outer border – this is gorgeous fabric, I love the variations in the dye and how soft it is.  I used white fabric from my stash to sash and bind the quilt.  My favorite block is Bridgetown – the design is based on each of Portland’s many bridges that span the Willamette River.  I can recognize and name each one of them!  The yard of Brussels Washer was just the tiniest bit too short to finish up the border, so I used a bit of the leftover Bridgetown to finish off the upper right corner – I think it looks like I meant to do it!

Portland waterfront quilt 2

For the backing, I like to use up the remainder of the fabrics from the front – it creates a quilt that is almost two-sided, and it keeps my leftover fabrics stash from becoming too huge :)  I cut apart the remaining fabrics in whatever widths each dictated in order to span the entire length of the quilt.  Then, I used the remaining small pieces to piece together one long row .  I measured these all, figured out what additional length I needed, and cut 3.5″ white strips to piece in between.

Portland waterfront quilt 3

The quilt is sized for a twin-size bed, which makes it approx 72″ x 90″.  My one dissatisfaction with the FO is that I didn’t get it cut as straight as I would have liked, so the border at the top came out looking crooked.  I told myself that it gave the quilt a more modern bent to have the inner frame a little off-kilter from the outer frame.

I quilted it by stitching straight lines diagonally through each of the large blocks, then I freehand quilted in the border.  How to quilt is always a difficult question for me – I want the design to add to, not detract from, the pieced pattern.  I usually end up dissatisfied with my choice of quilting pattern – when the focus is on the fabric, not the finished design of the FO, it’s hard to come up with a quilting pattern that complements or accentuates the fabric patterns.

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3 comments on “Portland waterfront quilt

  1. Oh my gosh, I love your quilt! Such a great way to show off fabrics without compromising creative piecing. I love those colors, especially the block of the cherry blossoms. Enjoy your new quilt! It’s just lovely.

  2. l concur! Lovely!
    esp. love the off-kilter on the reverse side!

  3. I love how you used the fabrics! This is a beautiful quilt and the Robert Kaufman is a great addition.

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