Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DIY Project: The Traveling Picnic Quilt in a Tote

I completed my massive picnic blanket earlier this year, and since then we've gotten so much use out of it! We take it to the beach; to picnics; to the park; we bring it camping; and to hangouts in San Diego with my in-laws. It's super crowd friendly too, as you can easily have at least 8 people have picnic on it. We've spent several days in the park, with 4 adults laying on it, plus a crawling baby, with lots of room to spare. It handles anything, it's a total beast!

However, it is also really, really heavy, and very, very large. Even when rolled up and trapped into one of my awesome quilt carry straps, it's quite cumbersome to bring around. It's fine when we're driving, but not really something you can bring on a flight (if you want to bring any other luggage). So, having a couple of trips with some picnic potential coming up this Fall, I thought I should make a smaller, more travel-friendly version for us. This is what I came up with:

For the quilt top, I used a fat quarter bundle I already had in my fabric stash, with a couple solids mixed in to break it up. I wanted a simple, large block, that wouldn't be too time intensive, as this quilt is made to go on the ground. I cut 10" by 10" squares, saved a few as 20" by 10", and ended up with this random barely-even-a-pattern. To be honest, while I loved all the color in this quilt, I didn't LOVE all of the individual prints. I really loved two or tree of them, the rest where kind of meh for me. However, by the end, it came together much better than I anticipated, and I'm quite happy with the resulting quilt.

For the batting, I used my favorite bamboo batting. It is very low loft, and makes thin, soft, quilts perfect for a summer night. As I wanted some more thickness and warmth to this quilt, I decided to try to double the batting. It's something I've wanted to try for a while, but didn't want to pull the trigger on one of the other, bigger quilt projects I'm currently working on. Not without trying it on a smaller project first.

I was very pleased with how it turned out. The resulting quilt is high loft, with a thick and fluffy quality, without being at all heavy. It's perfect! Double bamboo batting is definitely something I'll do again.

For the backing, I used a solid gray cotton, with no adornments, to balance the intense quilt top.

For the binding, I used a store-bought bias cut double binding in a coordinating color. I didn't do my usual fold over of the spare backing, and then add the binding. Instead I cut all the extra material off, folded the binding right over the raw edge (no pinning), and attached the front and back at the same time, using my machine. The final quilt is 70" by 70".

I made a matching tote, using the remnants from the project, to carry the quilt on its travels. The tote is a simple double cotton solid, with a contrast bottom (not visible), and a little bit of appliqué. I made it a little big, so the quilt would be easy to get in and out of the carrier (having recently been camping, the frustration of fitting a too-large tent into a too-small tent bag was fresh in my mind). This also means that any picnic basket spill-over could easily be toted in here as well.

 I have another idea that I'm going to try with this quilt, but that's for another post. 

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