Friday, May 9, 2008

Optical Illusion quilt

Inspired by an optical illusion book belonging to (and challenge by) my son, I designed the following pattern and quilt. I haven't used many batik fabrics before, so I thought I'd try my hand at these. Feel free to download my pattern and try it yourself. Let me know if you make one. I think mine came out pretty cool.
Keep in mind your dark and light fabrics have two have good contrast and they need to read as solid, or your quilt will blend. Your quilt will probably turn out pretty cool if it blends, but it won't have the same illusion quality.
Now, the construction is fairly straightforward, but I'm not the best at butting seams. So I used a cheater method and some Quilt-Fuse, which is used for watercolor and grid quilting. I pieced the entire quilt in an afternoon. See a product review here. It's a great shortcut, and it works like this:
  1. Cut your squares (in my case, squares and rectangles) to size.
  2. Line them up, right sides up (pin them in place if desired) on the Quilt-Fuse background (Quilt-Fuse is fusible lightweight interfacing with a printed grid, so it's easy to line up the rows).
  3. Fuse in place with an iron.
  4. Fold the fused quilt over on itself (with the interfacing on the outside, right sides together), and sew each horizontal seam. Be careful to keep an even seam allowance, using your 1/4" seam guide. Don't press yet.
  5. Clip your seams at the intersection of the grids before making the vertical seams. This will allow you to to butt the seam allowances, alternating one allowance up and one down, at each intersection.
  6. Now sew the vertical seams, maintaining the same 1/4" inch allowance, and being careful at each intersection that the seam allowances are butting as planned, as it goes under the presser foot (the top and bottom allowances should be going in opposite directions).
  7. Finally, press the entire quilt.
I made half the quilt at a time and sewed the two halves together. The interfacing makes for very easy machine quilting--the needle slides right through--but it may be too thick for hand quilting, and this quilt is doesn't have the same soft drape that other quilts have. So be aware of this in your planning.
I added thin dark, medium and light borders, and then one larger medium border, and rounded the corners. I've never done this before--I used a rotary cutter and dinner plate, and pre-done binding by Moda (so easy it feels like cheating!).
It was also hard to figure out how to quilt this thing, without blending it too much. So I found some Sulky variegated thread and quilted a straight starburst pattern off-center throughout. You can see the center in the large, lower, left, light square. (And you get extra points if you can say that out loud.)


Sam said...

Wow!! What a GREAT looking. It looks so beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing.

Lyn said...

That is too cool, would be great for babies!!! Thanks for sharing!!

Quilt Online said...

it is wonderful. ilove the design.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon this great quilt when searching for optical illusion quilts! Love the quilt and, especially, your 'cheater' method. Can you tell me what the finished size on this quilt is?

Thanks again for the great pattern and simplification!

Alison in CA said...

Thanks! I'll have to take measurements when I got up to my mom's, which is where this quilt lives. It's smallish, a lap-sized quilt. I'll keep you posted.

LaDonne said...

Hi! I cannot read the cutting instructions for the Optical Illusion quilt. They are dimmed on my computer. Please provide so that I can make this beautiful quilt. Thanks.!

Alison in CA said...

If you click on the image with the measurements listed, you should be directed to the full-sized image or PDF file. You should be able to see the dimensions then. I hope this helps!

Alison in CA said...

Just in case it doesn't work for you--

Here is the direct link to the image:

Post here if that doesn't work! :)

LaDonne said...

Thanks, Alison, that worked. Now to decide whether to use solid black and white or tone-on-tones. Will send photo when finished.

Alison in CA said...

I think high contrasts will work the best--but let me know your results! :)