Creative Play 2023 No. 2 - Nature/Organic; Kawandi Style

 I’ve partially adopted a more sustainable lifestyle since moving back to a rural area almost 20 years ago. Reduce, reuse, recycle has always been the name of the game out here in the country. And historically, quilting began as a way to upcycle or recycle and reuse bits of fabric from other projects or purposes.

I decided to add a new skill to my quilty toolbox and chose to make a Kawandi style quilt. (Check out the hashtag #Kawandi…it’s super inspirational!) 

It’s an interesting technique where you hand stitch pieces on a foundation starting from the outside and working your way towards the center. Kinda like a reverse log cabin block.

Choosing The Fabrics

A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.

For years now, I’ve stashed away my husband’s cotton polo work shirts, with the idea of making a bed quilt one day. He’s worked in construction and/or farming all his life, so I’ve got quite a pile!

I prepped a ~15” sq. base piece with scrap “backing” fabric and scrap batting and grabbed my favorite hand sewing supplies.

I chose some shirt fabrics and paired them with scraps I have on hand. I wanted a more organically colored piece…a step away from my usual neon-esque color palette hahaha.

The First Round of Piecing

A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.

This process was definitely a learning experience.

The (recovering) perfectionist in me kinda wants everything to line up nicely and generally lay flat. But this quilting process is inherently imperfect…and I (finally) embraced it and learned to really love it.

The main challenge was making sure the edges of the fabric remained folded under & making sure there was enough overlap so raw edges didn’t peek through.

Sooo many pins and pricked fingers! 😥😆

I enjoyed the slow progress & the tiny stitches adding wonderful texture made it sooo worth it.

The Second Round of Piecing

A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.

I’m loving the texture!! Each round of stitches goes faster than the last as they decrease in size. A bulging “belly” of batting is forming at the center. 

The Third Round of Piecing

A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.

We’re at the home stretch!! I’m super excited to see it complete. 

The Final Patch

A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.

Traditionally, rice is put in the “belly” of the piece under the final piece(s) to feed the belly.

Since corn and soybeans are so important to hubs and I as farmers, I place a couple of each grain under the final dark teal piece.

The Finished Piece

A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.
A kawandi style hand pieced quilt in natural colors in cotton fabrics upcycled recycled from clothing and scrap fabric. Sustainable quilt quilting.

TEXTURE galore!!! I’m so very happy with how this Kawandi turned out. I can’t help but touch it and feel the ripples across the surface.

While I enjoyed the leaning process of making this Kawandi, I doubt I will make another by hand. But, I can see myself trying it using a sewing machine. I will keep you posted.

This quilt ended up at about 15″ wide by 15.5″ tall. I still need to add a handing sleeve and find the perfect place to display it.

The Background of My Creative Play Challenge No. 2

This year, I’ve decided to challenge myself to a bi-monthly (6x a year) creative adventure.

For my SECOND Creative Play Challenge, my self-imposed constraints were as follows:

* My second prompt is nature/organic.

* Quilt Size: Any size.

* Limitation: At least 50% of the front of the piece should be recycled/upcycled scrappy fabrics.

* “Deadline” of Friday, April 28, 2023.

The Next Challenge; No. 3

Here are the details of the next challenge I have set for myself. I have an idea in mind, but won’t reveal it right now.

I will be posting progress pics on Instagram at Rachelle Handmade

Feel free to join the challenge at any time!!

Take care and stay weird, my quilty peeps. Luv, R.

Creative Play Prompts in 2023 with Rachelle Handmade

2 thoughts on “Creative Play Challenge No. 2 – Nature/Organic; Kawandi Style Quilt

  1. Betsie Mathews says:

    I love your choice of colour; very harmonious, and the texture is superb! I made a Kawandi style cloth without the batting and it lacks that beautiful texture that I see in yours.

    1. Thank you, Betsie! I agree, the batting is necessary to get that wonderful texture.

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