Scrappy Cotton and Steel Red Fort of Agra Quilt
My scrappy Red Fort of Agra modern quilt using Cotton and Steel Fabrics is probably my favorite one... at least so far. Each time I sew this pattern I love that one just as much all the previous. It's such a fast and easy block based quilt pattern. And I am always up for making a new version.
My scrappy Red Fort of Agra is the second time I recreated this pattern. The first time I had decided my mind was a steel trap and I could remember how to write the pattern and all the measurements without writing them down. You see then I was in my 30's and not quite based in reality. Just kidding. I obviously over estimated my abilities because when I was ready to remake the pattern I had no clue what I had done before. So that meant starting from scratch.
I knew I wanted to make this version larger than a throw. I was hoping it might be big enough for a twin. It's about one row short of a twin. But I really didn't have any specific measurement in mind. Because Red Fort of Agra is a block based quilt pattern, I decided on how many blocks vertically and horizontally I wanted.
Next, I chose fabrics. At this time I was in my flat in which I have a decent size stash, which completely irritates my husband. But I have an excuse... I can't just go down to my neighborhood quilt shop and get what I need. I also can't just order something online and hope it comes in a week. Nope, I have to order and pay international shipping, then possibly pay customs. And the post office in our area isn't exactly reliable. When we have gotten something in the mail usually a guy randomly shows up at our door. He speaks Hindi very fast, I speak basic Hindi and Urdu slowly (I'm working on it). I eventually figure out he wants my husband to come to the post office with him. My husband isn't home. So when my husband has time one day he goes to the post office to pick up said package. This can be a several day process depending on who is working, if they are open, if someone is on a lunch break, if they can find it, if they charge us customs and we have the funds to pay, and finally... if the package is still in one piece. And this all happens in sweltering heat with no AC. Did I mention we don't have a car? Yep, that can be an issue too. So all that to say, I use what I have in my stash.
I happened to have a lot of random Cotton and Steel fabrics from a club I was in. I really had no idea what I was going to use them for. So I pulled all the fabrics that I thought might possibly go together for the smaller four patches. I focused on rust, reds, blues and even some golden hues. I was short on a couple of these, so I randomly pulled some fabrics from different designers and added them in.
Because the Red Fort of Agra uses two different looking groups of fabrics I went through my stash and pulled out all the Cotton and Steel Fabrics that looked low volume or more of a neutral color, grays, creams, light pinks and beige. These I used for the larger blocks. I do not have the specific names of these fabrics listed in this post because the fabrics are older and the designers of these prints now design for Ruby Star Society.
When I make a pattern for the first time I usually don't figure out how much yardage I need. I really should... but I usually just kind of figure out how to make the block and then start cutting and figure it out as a go. So I just started cutting up the fabrics depending on which pile it was in. I don't remember because we have been in the US for so long, but I am pretty sure I have a lot of scraps and pieces left from this quilt.
After I finished all the blocks I laid them out on my bed for placement. But I also just randomly sewed them together because I couldn't fit all the blocks on my bed. This is a great quilt because if you have enough fabrics in it you don't really need to worry about placement that much. I just try to make sure the large squares do not get sewn next to another large square of the same fabric. But I don't care about the little four patches. There are so many of those and the focus is usually on the design as a whole it's not super noticeable if there are some little squares doubled up.
Backing was a little tough for me to choose. I usually don't love the color green. But most of the fabrics I used for the quilt top were no longer in stores. I wanted to choose something in person and not order online so I could make sure I really loved the fabric. I chose a new fabric also by Cotton and Steel, but from different designers than the old fabrics. At this point those talented designers had moved on to Ruby Star Society. There really aren't greens in the quilt top. But the fabric stood out to me and I love the little gold flecks in the backing fabric.
I brought the finished top with me to the states. Up until this point I had never had a quilt quilted for me. Either because of cost or because of not having the opportunity, I had never sent a quilt out. But this quilt felt special because it had so many fun fabrics in it and I definitely didn't want to get rid of it, I decided to look for a long arm quilter. I looked at different options on Instagram and decided to send my quilt out to Kaitlyn from Knot and Thread Designs. Why did I choose her? Her prices were good, she had lots of information on her website so I didn't feel intimidated, up until then I was a little afraid to send a quilt out. Kaitlyn has all her edge to edge designs on her website so I could easily decide which one I liked or disliked. She also has a form to fill out and clear directions on how to send her your quilt. I couldn't decide which design I wanted so I listed a couple on the form. When it was time for my quilt to be quilted she contacted me and we chatted back and forth until I found the right pattern for my quilt. I just love the quilting she did on this quilt! It turned out perfect.
I chose a gray binding for the edge. I wanted the binding to be neutral and not take away from the fabrics or pattern of the quilt. I went into a local store and the women who helped me gave me some options that were very loud and distracting. I ended up choosing a boring gray. But I love how it kind of frames the quilt without drawing attention away from the main design of the quilt.
I just love how there are so many fabrics in this specific quilt. It makes each section look different from the others. When we were staying in the creepy basement in Georgia (see previous posts) I used this quilt every night. The house we were staying in didn't have a queen sized comforter so my husband used the one on the bed and I used this quilt. It felt like a little piece of home in the middle of a lock down in a stranger's house.
Thanks for reading. Don't forget to grab your copy of the pattern.