Aspects of Water I


  • 32 scraps of assorted blues from dark to light (two shapes will be cut from each piece). No piece need be larger than 4 x 7in. (13 dark fabrics, 10 medium fabrics and 9 light fabrics.) Note, if you have a smaller assortment of fabric you can duplicate some of the colours.
  • 28 x 28in calico for backing
  • 28 x 28in wadding
  • 30 cm fabric for binding - a FQ would be sufficient if you piece the binding strips
  • Water erasable pen, sharpened soap or similar

Finished Size

24 x 24in (61 x 61cm)

Skill Level


Lesley says, "This project is based on the Aspects of Water hanging which I made for the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles AGM challenge. I played around with paper and created a unit that I liked, which fitted together with a curve that pleased my eye. I decided to cut them as two separate templates rather than paste them into one unit, so that I could cut the materials in different colours. This created a flow of colour across the surface."


  1. Make a flannel board or lay the pieces onto the wadding as you cut them out. If they are pinned in place it can be rolled up and put away.
  2. Make card templates from pieces A and B. Alternatively, design your own from tesselating shapes.
  3. Divide your fabrics into piles of dark, medium and light tones.

TIP! If you want the fabrics to have a frayed look cut a bit larger to leave enough ends for fraying later.

Figure 1: Layout of pieces
Figure 1: Layout of pieces.

Cutting out

  1. Draw around the template A on the RS of the material with a water erasable pen or similar (you do not want this to show when you have sewn your work.) Add a seam allowance to A and cut out. Cut 32 A units in the same way. Note you need 32 units in total but your proportions can differ, ie you could have more light and medium units and less dark ones. You do need a bit of contrast across the whole top or it will look rather bland.
  2. Draw around the B template on the WS of the fabric and cut out along the drawn line. Cut out thirty two B units and place onto a flannel board as you are working, to make sure you maintain the correct placing.
  3. Cut the calico backing 28in square.
  4. Draw a grid onto the calico 3 x 6in. This grid gives the placing lines for the units (eight by four).
  5. Place several A pieces over the top LH area, overlapping seam allowances in the same direction each time. Pin.
  6. Place the B pieces over the A pieces. Match the edges of the Bs to the drawn lines on the As and pin (see Figure 1). Note if there is a small area of seam allowance that is surplus to requirements,cut this off and cut off the same amount on each unit, as you work.
  7. Set the machine to a fairly close zigzag, with a narrow stitch. You may wish to make more of a feature of the stitch and so use a bigger one or use a decorative stitch. Stitch the units down as you go, a small area at a time. Follow the curved line not the straight edges, that are left free.
Aspects of Water, Detail of the blocks showing the curved quilting lines
and bead embellishments.

TIP! Stop stitching just before the end of a rectangle and check the thread colour is appropriate for the next unit. It creates a smoother changeover if part of the new thread colour is on the previous unit as well. Alternatively, consider using a variegated thread.

Quilting and finishing

  1. Iron and make a quilt sandwich with wadding and backing.
  2. Quilt the sandwich together, by hand or machine. Lesley used free quilting in gentle curves across the quilt top following the lines of the fabrics.
  3. Trim the edge of the backing and make sure your piece is squared up.
  4. Cut sufficient binding 2in wide. Fold in half and press. Sew to the edge with 1/4in seam and hand sew to the back.
  5. Sew any beads or other embellishment to the front. Lesley has embellished with added threads couched to the top and finally beads and shells held in place by netting.
  6. Make a label and name and date your work.

Lesley decided to leave some edges raw, so left fabric with a sufficient allowance to fray these edges. To keep a reasonable shape when it hangs a fine fibreglass kite spar is fed into the top bindings, the bottom ones are left to hang slightly wavy. To complete the piece a small ring is attached to the top corner.

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 10 Number 1 - January 2002