Lace Swirl quilt complete!

Here is my first entirely hand printed quilt top using my Melly Marks Lace Swirl Kit! I am loving it, I love the movement of the zig-zag half square triangles, the gradation of colors, the simplicity too. 

Later in the process of making the quilt top, I nabbed a few handprints created using Swirl Vine Kit to fill out the pattern and make a few more blocks. You can see these above. I just needed specific colors and a few more pieces of fabric, and these were quickly available.

One thing that I have totally fallen in love with because of this quilt is printing on Cotton Sateen. The peach pink at left is an example of this, though it is quite difficult to photograph the subtle visual difference and in blog post, it is impossible to illustrate how soft this fabric is. I printed just a few pieces of the cotton sateen, I don’t have much on hand, but wanted to use it anyway and think it a success. Having even a few pieces of this cloth in the mix livens up the top tremendously, lending a subtle sheen and a soft touch. 

I tried to stay within an analogous area of the color triangle, from purple, reds and yellows. I printed a total of 34 Lace Swirl Prints and 54 Chevrons. This means I printed about 5 yards of cloth! From start to finish, this quilt was printed, steamed, washed, cut, pieced, basted, machine quilted and bound in one months time! Wow. Pretty snazzy.

Getting from Here to There

Since taking this Free Range Textile Printers show on the road, I have printed about 80 Lace Swirl and Herring Bone fat sixteenths in total. In keeping with a recent love affair with Half Square Triangles, I went to work trimming them all to 8.25″, I like to cut them one at a time to maximize them as much as possible. After which, I paired them, right sides together, in groups of two, with an eye toward a light/dark pairing. I then marked them with pencil before piecing, cutting and ironing. 

This quilt has me thinking about the use of starch when ironing, so I went to Facebook to ask others for their experience. This interesting thread emerged. Check it out!

My love of the Half Square Triangles will not abate! The initial cut size is such that quilt tops quickly emerge, which is especially to my liking. I like making quilts, quick and easy. Large blocks help me do that. 

I really appreciate the back side of handprints too. The above print (the red) must have been a really juicy print to smoosh through the cotton print cloth like that! And it is so pretty to see how the printed layers of color interact with each other.The above quilt will be complete soon. I am excited about it so far. Can’t wait to show both sides, in good lighting. Normally I track these print jobs pretty closely. This time, I went about the entire thing in a much different manner. Tracking got cast to the wayside. I could track this lot retrospectively, by counting and comparing. I will see how far I can get. I could lead to a ‘printers must’ or pattern. 

To explain what I mean by a “printers must”, I need to harken back to my days as a sample cutter for a small women’s wear company. At the beginning of the day, I would be given a, “cutters must”, which looked something like this. From this, I could discern the path and needs of each cut sample on my docket for that day. Basically, I was given a pattern and the ‘cutters must’ were the directions. 

This in the hope of offering a Playful Fabric Quilt pattern. I have a bee in my bonnet. Goal #1 Make a downloadable pattern for Melanie Testa.com.

Lace Swirl Quilt Top

This last weekend was quite productive. I took Bucket to my twice yearly quilt retreat and made great progress while #freerangetextileprinting. Then, I came home, switched out the newspaper and tinfoil I had been using to steam (this is a link to Pokey Bolton’s blog related to our Playful Fabric Printing blog hop-who chose the steamer as a topic), and got to work. I now have about 39 Melly Marks Lace Swirl and 50 Chevrons printed and ready to cut and piece!

This is why I love steaming and boiling. Steaming and boiling is a transformative experience. I love seeing the prints pile up, all stiff like potato chips, then, I like seeing the final shade after boiling and drip dry. 

I think this is a great coloring of the Lace Marks multicolor print set. The swirl is printed in Medium and the innards is Light value (I can figure out which color number if you want this info!) Combined with the pale pink ground, I feel this color way really highlights the lacey design. 

Here is a pile of ready to iron handprints. They look like potato chips to me. They act like it too. I am so excited to make a new quilt top, I could eat these like potato chips! If only they tasted as good.

I hope at the end of making this quilt to come out with a ‘pattern’, that states how many prints, provides a color way, and breaks down the making the quilt. I hope you might like this idea. I would love to hear your thoughts about this.


Here is the “Insider Info” portion of today’s program 🙂

I am offering my first Etsy Shop coupon code, use the code MELLYMARKS1 to receive 4$ off an order of 20$ or more, in my new shop! This code will be available until March 28.

And, join the Playful Fabric Printing Community page on Facebook.

Additionally, comment if you would consider becoming a Sample Maker for my upcoming fabric line, to be release at Quilt Market!!!


I hope to teach at Schweinfurth Art Center in May, please join me. This class will expand upon the principle presented in Playful Fabric Printing.

We were tired of living in a house and the finer points in the life of a #freerangetextileprinter

I couldn’t rush my current Speed Print! I would really like some Chevron single color prints to fill out the use-ability of these hand prints in a quilt top. I had previously hoped to steam and sew this coming weekend, a retreat weekend.

But. I have decided to slow down and do it all.

Check out the last quilt I made at Retreat!! The Peacock Quilt is also on page 125 of Playful Fabric Printing!!

But, this time, I will be printing the fabrics for a quilt and not lugging my sewing machine. I have taken out and am dusting it off, the Free Range Textile Printers bucket. I am taking this show on the road!

Peach inspected all sides of the #freerangetextileprinter ‘s Bucket. She admits it lacks necessary tools and will require re-inspection prior to launch.

I love retreat group. I miss these gals and I look forward to getting away, even for a short while.

I don’t know how many pieces of fabric are in this Speed Print session, but when it comes time to piece and make a quilt top, I will be one content quilter.

Are you a member of our Playful Fabric Printing community page on Facebook? We post videos, answer questions and participate in discussion about member work! There have been some great fabrics printed and shared, recently! You are welcome. Please join.