I made a T.A.R.D.I.S! My brother had a birthday last week, so I made him a quilt. I started plotting and planning this project in January. It was late December when I first saw the Relatively Dimensional quilt pattern by Hunter’s Design Studios. (There is also a Dalek pattern which tempts me!)
When I encountered this pattern, I knew that I had to make it! The sample on the pattern, however, I found very flat. It was sewn with Kona solids, and if I am honest, I hate quilts made entirely of solids. The argument that it allows for denser, more interesting quilting falls flat with me. Dimension and texture are essential in quilting, but can also come from the fabric. I considered prints that read as solids, as the T.A.R.D.I.S. is old and has been through a great many journeys. The paint on the police box would be weathered and chipped, the grain of the wood apparent and its appearance generally pocky. The wood grain I would achieve through quilting, but the paint texture had to be in the fabric.
After much deliberating over textured solids, I went with Stonehenge fabrics. They have the weathered look I wanted for the police box. I had been wary of Stonehenge, despite its popularity, because, to my mind, they resembled batik fabric, which I dislike. Batik is unpleasant to work with, stiff and smelly, and too kitschy for me with its tie-dyed effect. Yes, I am rather picky about these things and more than a little matchy-matchy! Stonehenge fabrics are of a typical quilting weight and quality, and they read as solids, but have a lot of texture. I even found a lovely starry night print for the borders of the quilt.
The quilt was reasonably easy to put together. It is not comprised of blocks, but of horizontal and vertical sections that are then assembled. The cutting is a bit strange and I did not like the process presented in the pattern. There was no cutting plan; instead, the designer cut, then assembled each section. This is not how I work. I like to start by cutting everything, which is what I did for this one. It was irritating, as there were several pages of instructions which I had to go through for the required cuts of each fabric. I wish there had been a cutting diagram for each fabric, instead of these jumbled cutting and assembly steps. I believe that cutting in advance, as I did, provided for a much more efficient use of fabric as well. I organized it all by section, then proceeded to assemble each part of the quilt.
The pattern gives no indication of fabric requirements for the quilt backing. I used the quilt backing calculator to help me determine how much fabric was necessary for this 50 x 80″ quilt top (almost 5 yards!!). This was also an irritant, as it should have been in the pattern. I have been getting creative with quilt backs for the last several months, and came up with a plan for this one. I found a Stonehenge planet panel, which I thought was appropriate.
I created a plan, which required bordering the panel, then a larger border to complete the back.
I had the panel and thought I could get the stripe I wanted for the first border, but had no idea what to do about the second border. Fate intervened.
Yes, I know I could have carried on, patched the hole with some interfacing and settled with some random fabric for an outer border. However, I could not co-ordinate the backing to my satisfaction and the puncture in Pluto’s orbit was the death knell for that backing plan. I had always wanted to do something related to time and had been looking for fabrics with clocks. There are few out there at the moment. I finally stopped matching the quilt top and back, and returned to my favourite fabric: the melting clocks from Katarina Roccella.
The quilt back does not reference the quilt top, except in theme. I don’t care! I love it. It is gorgeous and exactly what I wanted: clocks for the time lord!
I chose stripes for the binding. Stripes in quilts can be a pain, but are great for binding. I always cut continuous bias binding, which makes the direction of the stripe irrelevant.
As to the quilting: I kept it simple in the borders, but learned wood grain for the door panels.
I am very pleased with this quilt, and my brother tells me he will curl up under it for Doctor Who marathons.
En route to Nova Scotia in July, I stopped at Joann Fabrics in Bangor, ME to get this pattern.