Roughly two and half years after starting this quilt, Latticework is now finished!
The Latticework quilt is finished! Finally! This quilt has a long history, it took quite a while to get here, finished, but boy I am glad that it is. This quilt started way back in September 2011 where I asked my new at the time Always Bee Learning bee mates to make some 8.5" paper pieced string blocks. You can see my original block HERE. Then after receiving all the blocks, they just sat there FOREVER. Then last year, May 2013 to be exact, these string blocks were transformed into a new quilt block that I designed, and then was turned into a finished quilt top, you can read about it HERE. After the top was finished, I quickly basted it and there it sat until February 2014. Officially 2 years and roughly 5 months later I quilted this quilt.
This quilt was quilted with my brand-new-to-me (used) Juki TL 2010q in February of this year. I haven't yet blogged about my new machine, but hope to in the near future, because honestly it has been a game changer for me. This was my first time free motion quilting a quilt this large, and really the first project that I completed with my new machine. I used a 50 weight white thread fromConnecting Threads, only had 3 bobbins, so needless to say I had to stop and load them a lot, and I tried out three different free motion stitches using the 1/5" free motion foot.
The first bit of free motion stitching that I tried out was in the "strings" sections of the quilt, where I quilted a large flower, which if you look REAL HARD you can see above. I wanted a fairly dense stitch to really lock down all those strings. It worked, but since the fabric is so busy, I find the quilting really doesn't show up that well. Which is ok, because it is FAR from perfect. The second bit of stitching that I tried was the pretty leaves in the narrow white strips. This shows up fairly well and I was really happy with the result, you can see this above and below. It was so fun stitching those leaves, which is now my favorite part of the quilt.
The third stitch can be seen above and I'm not sure what to call it, but it was stitched in the larger expanses. I marked the lines with a washable blue marker and then tried to "trace" those lines. It turned out OK, but honestly this quilt was pretty much entirely on the bias and there was a lot of fullness in these spots, so my quilting was really just to try and ease in the fullness. That worked better in some spots, not so good in others. The above photo is a good example of that "fullness." I am hoping that after I wash this quilt, a lot of those issues will resolve themselves (I hope.)
Here is my stitching up close. Not too bad, especially for my first go with a new machine. I had minimal thread breakage, only a few hiccups and overall truly loved quilting this throw quilt. Not once did I ever think that it was hard to fit in the machine, which is such a nice change. The larger harp of the Juki made quilting this a breeze and just so enjoyable. I set my machine up on my dining room table with the extension table attached, and the table supported the weight of the quilt and I really worked on having good posture and staying relaxed while quilting.
The backing was pieced from yardage and I took special care to carefully match up the pattern, so it is really hard to find the back seam. I have found that I really like just having a simple one print backing. It is quicker and I don't have to stress about the backing so much. I bound the quilt in another Heather Bailey print, because you have to stick with Heather Bailey, since all the prints on the front of this quilt are her designs! The finished quilt measures 62" x 75" and I used a 80/20 cotton/poly Pellon batting. I haven't washed this quilt yet, but I will before it is given to the intended recipient, I guess I am hesitant to try and wash it in my high efficiency washing machine. Have any of you washed a larger quilt in an high efficiency washing machine with success?
Roughly two and half years after starting this quilt, Latticework is now finished!
This is officially my last finish of the first quarter 2014 Finish Along hosted by Katy of The Littlest Thistle. You can see my first quarter Finish Along list HERE.
I started the New Year out wonderfully by winning this gorgeous bundle of Radiant Orchid fabrics from Hawthorne Threads. You see I had planned on entering the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge hosted by On the Windy Side and Play Crafts, but I had a very different idea in my head, that included only one Radiant Orchid print, because honestly I didn't have any of this color in my stash, which is odd because purple and pink are my favorite colors. Once I won the bundle (thanks so much Hawthorne Threads) a new plan started to form and I immediately ordered three black and gray prints, also from Hawthorne Threads.
I started to sketch, form a plan and design some blocks. I knew I really wanted a very graphic modern quilt. One that only featured two colors and a design that was based solely on triangles and arrows. Right away I realized that some of the blocks were not going to be able to be pieced traditionally and I hoped they could be accomplished by paper piecing them. Well it worked! I drafted two different paper pieced blocks for this quilt, totally designed by me! The "arrow" shaped and the large "zig-zag" blocks are paper pieced. The rest of the blocks are traditionally pieced, mostly a lot of triangles.
I am so proud of this one. My first original designed quilt! She measures 54" x 63," a good lap quilt. It did take me longer to get the top finished than I originally planned, those paper pieced blocks took a while and then the actual layout of the quilt took longer. I thought I was being clever by having both 16" and 12" blocks, but when it came time to lay them out, it just wasn't what I had pictured in my head. Then I decided to turn the blocks on point and voila, it was perfect, except I had a lot of gaps to fill in. Thus meaning I made a lot of (10 to be exact) 4" x 12" filler blocks. Oh and all those outside triangles to figure out!
When I was about 3/4 of the way done with the top I realized I was going to run out of my three background prints. Paper piecing eats through fabric and I had only ordered 1 yard each of the three prints. I started to panic because I realized I now needed to try and buy more of the three or add in another. Late one night I started to dig through my stash and found the perfect fourth print, which I had a little less than a yard of, it was the text print seen above. Actually the four background fabrics are:
Art Gallery Chromatics (the lightest gray print)
Art Gallery Oval Elements (the black print with large ovals)
Timeless Treasures Dream (the black with tiny metallic dots)
Michael Miller Madrona Road by Violet Craft (the black with white text, the one I added last minute!)
I am really glad that I added in the forth background print and since I still had to make a lot of those 4" blocks, plus the outside edge triangles, I was able to blend in that print without it being noticeable that it was a last minute add in! I used every single print from the Hawthorne Threads bundle, and I tried to scatter the prints throughout the quilt randomly. Some blocks are more successful than others, but the majority have a high contrast, which I really enjoy.
Oh and I don't want you to think I am some super math genius to figure out the different sized outside triangles, otherwise known as quarter square triangles or setting triangles. I used a great free app called, The Quilter's Little Helper Essential Quilting Calculators by Robert Kaufman. This app was a lifesaver and I was able to figure out every one of those triangles without any problems. I highly recommend it!
Here she is in all her Radiant Orchid beauty! This is my entry into the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge - Radiant Orchid hosted by On the Windy Side + Play Crafts. I am entering it into the "Just The Top" category and it measures 54" x 63." Click on the little circle below to go and see all the other entries, trust me, there are some beautiful quilts being entered in this competition!
Linking up to My Go-Go Life: Sewjo Saturday! This was my only finish this week, heck this was the only thing I really worked on this week period! Glad to have the quilt top done and looking forward to working on new projects!
I don't know about you, but I'm sick of this wintery ice slush weather we have been having. I'm ready for Spring! Since I can't change the weather, I can change your mood! Looking through old blog posts and my photographs, I realized I never showed off the finished Bloom Bloom Pow quilt top. So here she is! Almost exclusively Denyse Schmidt and matching solids, this top measures 57" x 67" and will be a great lap quilt.
Here is the wrinkly quilt top photo, in full sun. The only reason I include this picture is because the colors are the most true in this photo. So bright and sunny, I do love this quilt! Now I just have to figure out how to quilt her! Feel free to share any ideas you might have, I would greatly appreciate it!
As of January 1st, I had officially finished 70 of the 100 City Sampler blocks from the book, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks by Tula Pink. Knowing that I had worked on these blocks in spurts for at least six months, I knew I wanted to finish them all and get the quilt top done! Finishing blocks 70-100 took about 3 days total. I picked out all the fabrics, cut everything out and then chained stitched like crazy! Now I had all 100 blocks complete. Yeah!!!
All along I knew that I would be making the "City Planner" quilt layout that is included in the book, so I had to decide on the sashing solids. Why didn't I order these fabrics months ago? Who knows, that would have made so much more sense. So I got in touch with Hawthorne Threads, and the lovely Becky helped me with picking two gray fabrics that complimented each other and complimented the blocks, which were constructed out of the line Constellations by Lizzy House and a variety of blue solids. I ended up deciding on two solid (Silver and Charcoal) fabrics from Hawthorne Threads new line called Hawthorne Hues. They were perfect, and have such a beautiful hand to them, it really was a dream to work with these new solids. Oh and I bought these fabrics, so I'm totally not biased or anything, they really are nice. They ironed really well too. Just saying.
Now it was time for construction. The City Planner layout uses all 100 blocks and makes a king size quilt. Oh my, what have I gotten myself into? So I started cutting, and sewing, and laying out blocks, and sewing some more. Goodness gracious! I included the below shot to show what it looked like when I was laying the blocks out on my living room floor. I started with the layout that Tula used in the book, then had to move around blocks according to the same fabrics or solids being next to one another. By the end I moved a lot of them, but the original layout concept is still there.
Once I had finished all the rows, then it was time to add the sashing in between. I don't think I have ever sewn 104" seams before and needless to say it took way longer than I ever thought it would. It grew and grew and got big and heavy, oh my. Here it is, in all its finished glory!
I will start with saying that I have been working on this steady for two weeks now, and everything in the world has been trying to stop me from finishing it. Originally my husband was going to keep the kids one weekend so I could finish, then that fell through. Then we had the crazy snow storm here in the South, and in total the kids missed four days of school. Talk about a freak occurrence, and then of course I had to go and get sick, like fever, all the cold symptoms...yuck. Needless to say that DayQuil has been my best friend as of late and the only reason this quilt was actually finished in time tolink up with the Sew Along over at Sew Sweetness.
I also want to apologize for the poor quality of these photos, this quilt is really too big for me to wrestle by myself, and be it that I was working in a fevered stupor today, this was the best I could do. Laying it on the dry spot in the yard. Standing on my step stool, tip toeing, the photo below almost shows the whole thing, which measures 104" x 104." Though the colors look a bit dull in the photos, in real life it really is pretty, be it that the Constellations fabric line technically has no gray in it, the blocks really stand out from the background. All those shades of blue, both warm and cool, all in one harmonious mixture. There is a touch of yellow throughout, and bits of black and white and all those constellations and stars.
This quilt is for my husband, using his favorite colors and will be for our bed. At one point he was helping me adjust a row (he isn't aware this quilt is for him) and said, "I really like this one, did you know it is my favorite color combinations of blues and black." I chuckled inside, because yes, I did know that. Now the test will be to see if he reads my blog! HA!
At this moment, I do plan to quilt this one myself. I just ordered king size batting, and I bought 108" wide backing fabric (3 yards) so I wouldn't have to piece the back. I think I may try spray basting on this one, because the idea of pin basting it makes me want to cry. You can see my little "helper" below, who desperately wanted to be included in the photo shoot and didn't understand why I wouldn't lay down on it and let him take a photo of me, on the quilt. Nope, not today. Maybe when it is finished.
Thanks to all who sponsored the quilt along, and a super big thanks to Tula Pink, who wrote an awesome book that didn't have any mistakes (or at least none that I found,) which is pretty impressive for a book based on measurements and numbers! It was a fun 8 months, I loved seeing all the other entries and all of the blocks posted to Flickr. Though the quilt along is over, you can make the blocks at any point, trust me, they really are rewarding and fun! Well I think it is time for another dose of medicine (NyQuil this time,) so I will sign out for now!
P.S. I titled this post "Labor of Love" because just like when you first have a baby, you think, why would I ever do that again? Then time passes, you forget about all that hard work and you have another. Thus, this is how I feel with this huge quilt. I am hoping in time I forget how hard it was to wrestle this beast and will make another large quilt! But for now, nope won't be making another king size quilt anytime soon!
My last quilt finish of 2013, just in time, four days before Christmas. I say just in time because I wrapped it up on the last day that my son was in school, so it was a total surprise. He never saw the fabric, the process or anything, the whole thing was done during school hours and then quickly hidden before he got home. This quilt started when I bought the panel designed by Jill McDonald from the Out of this World collection. I just loved it and knew my son would too, he has been fascinated with the planets and space this year.
Once I had the panel, I decided I liked the overall size, be it that I wanted this to be a wall hanging in his room. The length was great, but the height was a tad too skinny, so I added in the skinny Lizzy House Constellations black borders and then the yellow polka dot by Micheal Miller (dumb dot maybe?) Oh and before I forget I also had to add a skinny white border in between the panel and the black border because the panel was cut in a way that I needed to add some white in order for it to look even and correct. It was a struggle to match the white from my stash, but in the end, found a "close enough" and went with it. Thankfully you can't even see the seam and you certainly can't tell that it wasn't originally there..
The backing was totally from my stash. The ABC print on the left is from JoAnn fabrics a few years back. The middle yellow dot is the same print as the front and then the B&W tickets to the right are a Timeless Treasures print. I used a high loft polyester batting for this one. I wanted that plush and soft feel to it. I am also super proud to say that I lined up the backing perfectly straight in reference to the lines on the front panel. All of my quilting that is on the back is perfectly straight, especially since a lot of lines ended up on that narrow strip. I was super nerdy excited about that, my backs always end up a tad wonky, but not this one, it was perfect!
I knew all along that I wanted to quilt this one by hand with pearl cotton and large stitches, which I did around every motif, actually twice around every motif, you can see that below. What I did not expect to do was to end up tying this quilt also, a technique that I have never tried before. After I was finished with the hand quilting, I felt that it needed a tad bit more, but couldn't decide on what to quilt and in the end I ended up tying in the center of each motif. If you look really hard below on the Mercury block you can see a little yellow knot on the planet. I tried to blend in all the ties, especially on the motifs. I didn't want that to stand out. I also tied around every 5" on the yellow polka dot border. That was so easy and quick, I may have to do that more often, especially on quilts that won't be handled a ton.
The finished quilt measures 36" x 42." I used a solid matching Kona red for the binding, which was totally machine stitched on (so quick!) I also added five loops to the back top, to be able to hang this one on the wall. Opening his present Christmas morning, my son seemed to love it and quickly explained to me all of the planets. It was so nice to have it finished in time, a total surprise and seeing him open a handmade gift on Christmas.
This was my second (and final finished) project listed on my fourth quarter finish-a-long list. I am happy to say that I met this goal and can link up over at She Can Quilt. Thank you so much Leanne for hosting a great year of the Finish-A-Long!
Officially finished, here she is, Emerald Cut. What started as part of the 2013 Pantone Quilt Challenge hosted by a.squared.w, almost nine months later is a finished quilt. Originally I had no intention of entering the challenge, and then one day while daydreaming an idea hit that I just had to pursue. An emerald quilt block made out of emerald fabrics. I quickly ordered a bunch of emerald prints and a few solids, most of which were Art Gallery prints, with a touch of Lizzy House and Joel Dewberry. Then I began to draft the pattern, made some templates, whipped up a test block and the rest is history. Actually the test block turned out perfect and is in the quilt (the one with the horizontal placement.)
Once I had six blocks, I decided for a simple modern layout and sticking with the "Jewel" theme chose a nice Jewel tone shot cotton for the background (which I think is called Prune.) I used three prints to make the backing, the top and middle prints are Anna Maria Horner, and the bottom an Art Gallery Print. Once I had my top and back, and some 100% cotton batting, I was ready to baste. I pin basted this quilt and there she sat for quite a while.
I wasn't sure what color thread to use or what quilting pattern I wanted to try. After growing tired of "thinking about it" I went to the store and picked a lovely emerald colored thread that I felt would stand out on the shot cotton background, but blend into the blocks themselves. Then I had to decide on quilting. I can't remember how I came up with this idea, but i knew I wanted to somehow incorporate "sparkles" into the quilting. I wanted those emeralds to twinkle and shine! Be it that I wanted my quilt to have a modern feel, I chose a very organic straight line quilting that stopped and "sparkled" every now and then with no real pattern. The lines are roughly 5/8" to 3/4" apart and the sparkles or stars are just randomly placed. I aimed to have more sparkles on the actual jewels themselves with a few random ones extending just beyond the jewels onto the background fabric.
You can see from the photo above and below that I was very organic with these lines, they wiggled all over the place! The quilting process was fun and easy, no big problems and was relatively quick too. I want to say that I quilted this one in roughly two days here and there, starting and stopping a ton. Which is a nice feature of this type of quilting. You can stop after each line if you want too.
I'm not going to lie, this quilt wasn't even close to square (or rectangle!) Once I was done quilting, i laid her on the floor and she was seriously wonky. I spent a good amount of time trimming the edges and making her as square as possible, and by the eye, it looks square, so I guess that is what matters most. Who cares that the top edge measures 1/2" longer than the bottom edge!
Emerald Cut is bound in Art Gallery Oval Elements in Eggplant. Honestly the binding is my favorite part of this quilt, I just love that I used a print for the binding, but it blends in so well you hardly notice. I love it! Though I have been favoring machine stitching the binding, I finished this one by hand. I felt this quilt was more a piece of art and since it will be a wall hanging, I wanted it bound nice and properly. Finished, Emerald Cut measures 34" x 50." A special thanks to my mom who helped me with the photographs this weekend! She wins the whitest sneakers award for sure!
The Emerald Cut quilt was the first project listed on my fourth quarter finish-a-long list. I am happy to say that I met this goal and can link up over at She Can Quilt. Thank you so much Leanne for hosting a great year of the Finish-A-Long!
It all started with a single cut of fabric, 5 yards to be exact. It was cut, lined up, cut up some more and then pieced together. A whole lot of 60 degree triangles, actually 684 triangles. Stitched into 114 hexagon blocks. They were then stuck onto a design wall, admired for a bit, then sewn into rows, 22 rows. Then those 22 rows were sewn together, and TA DA! I have a quilt top, one I am so happy with!
My mom helped me take photos this weekend. The wind was blowing, thus the "action shots," but you get the idea. I oriented the quilt this way on purpose. I imagine the top is the sky, slowly fading into the colors of the land, since the bottom half is more color heavy. I love how you can't really see butterflies and only color and some really great movement. The top measures 53" x 67," much bigger than I originally anticipated, but with a pattern like this you don't really know what your finished size will be, it all depends on how many of those hexagon blocks that you use. I was able to use all of them, yep all 114. It just worked out right, easily too, they just fell into place and the math just worked out. I was pleasantly pleased not to have any left overs and I get to admire every single block that I created.
The photo above is REALLY what the quilt looks like, in full sun, wrinkles and all. BUT, it really shows the TRUE colors the best, thus this is why I included the photo in the post. The colors are really rich and vibrant. So pretty. The other photos were taken in the shade, which explains the fact that the wrinkles just fade away and it looks perfectly flat and awesome, but the colors are just ever so dull compared to the photo above. Just being honest!
I had to include the back shot. Just look at all those seams, all those triangles. It looks really neat like this. It isn't that neat in real life, but it sure looks it here. I love it!
This quilt top is my entry into the One Block Wonder Quilt Along hosted by Jen at Quilter in the Closet. Thank you Jen for introducing me to such a cool technique and hosting such a great quilt along!
A finish! Actually I have had this one done for a bit, just waiting on the opportunity to get decent photos of it and yesterday was the day! This table runner was started as part of the Dancing Stars Quilt Along hosted by Amy at Amy's Creative Side. All the fabrics were from my stash, the stars were part of a Liberty charm swap I participated in last year and the blue and green solids were scraps from my stash, and boy did I have just enough scraps to make the required amount of stars. All of the stars were paper pieced and I decided to have three of them with the text background, just for a bit of variety. I also used that same print for the binding, sorry I don't know what that print is, but I do love it.
Once the top was put together, I basted it with pins, used a piece of scrap batting and I had a yard of another text print for the backing. Then I had to decide on how to quilt this one. There is sat for quite some time, which usually happens with me, I get stumped on the quilting process. Then it came to me, a chevron pattern! So using the block layout as the basis for the scale of the chevron, I started quilting the design 1" apart. I hated it. I kept going in hopes that it would grow on me, and it didn't. I felt like the spacing and where the lines fell on the blocks looked horrible and like a mistake. So now what? Rip it all out, live with it? Ughhh...
After some consideration, and really not wanting to unpick all those stitches, I decided to go back and quilt in between each line, thus making the quilted lines 1/2" apart. Yeah! This did the trick, all those flaws seemed to disappear, the texture was great and the pattern was oh so much clearer. I was thrilled that it worked out and you can see the pattern plain as day on the back of this table runner, see below.
The piece of fabric I used for the backing wasn't quite the right length, so I had to piece it, so technically there are two seams below, can you find them? I think the seams blend in so well, the print and the quilting just hide the seams so perfectly, you really have to look for them.
I used my new favorite technique, machine stitched binding. Oh so fast and oh so neat and tidy. My corners turned out pretty well, or at least good enough for me and I didn't have to redo any parts of it. This technique works so well for me and if you are curious about the technique yourself, you can find out how, HERE.
This project was on my Third Quarter Finish Along list (hosted by Leanne at She Can Quilt.) I am happy to say that I finished it and now it is ready to gift. The only problem is, whom to gift it to?
I have a book review and project to show off today! I will start with the book, Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting by Natalia Bonner. Natalia machine quilted one of my quilts for me a few years back, you can see it HERE. When I heard that she was publishing a book about quilting on your home sewing machine, I was fascinated. I immediately read the book cover to cover, but didn't feel confident enough to really tackle any projects, so the book sat for a while.
The book starts with the basics of quilting and how to set up your machine for free motion quilting. The first part of the book, the majority of it, are the patterns and techniques. The book goes over allover quilting, background fillers, borders and sashings, custom quilted blocks and finally quilting on applique. You can get a feel for how this part of the book is laid out by seeing my photo below. There are quilted examples, then drawn images to see how the technique is stitched and written instruction. It makes it all so clear and simple to understand. The second section of the book is six original quilt patterns by Natalia Bonner, this is a neat addition to the book. Lastly the book ends with stencils or the quilting patterns full scale. If you don't feel confident enough to draw the stitches free hand, you can use these pages as stencils, and trace the patterns onto your quilt first with a washable marker, Hera marker or whatever your favorite method it. This section is nice to see the actual scale of these patterns. The book is a really good reference book in regards to looking up patterns and getting ideas of how you can quilt your quilts, it certainly has come in handy for me!
OK, now on to my project, fast forward to the middle of this summer when I realized that my niece's birthday was approaching quickly (beginning of September) and I had this fabric panel that I was wanting to turn into a quilt for her. The panel is by Deb Strain and from the Luv U collection of fabrics and I had purchased it quite a while back, knowing that eventually would make a quilt for my niece. After deciding to go ahead and use the panel, I just added two simple pink strips of fabric to each side and then a pretty Riley Blake floral print on either side of that. I just wanted to make the quilt a tad bit wider, but not any longer, the panel was the right length (42".) Once the top was done, I had a solid piece for the backing, so I basted it together with safety pins and then had to decide how to quilt it.
This is the point that the book comes into play. At first I thought I would hand quilt it, but couldn't decide on a good pattern. I also had a problem to work around. The panel was printed slightly off-grain, so instead of being straight up and down, it had a good lean to it, like the top went to the left and the bottom went to the right, so I really wanted to try and quilt it in such a way to shift it back to straight, or at least to visually look straight. I wanted to stretch myself and do something other than just a normal plain stipple. I pulled out the book and started looking through the patterns. Once I stumbled upon the the "Loops and Hearts" pattern found on page 30 (see above photo,) I knew it was the perfect pattern, and a great learning pattern, because honestly the only free motion quilting I have done so far was the basic stipple and I felt ready to broaden my horizons.
I set up my machine, loaded some light pink quilting cotton thread, and just went for it. Since I was trying to shift the quilt back to straight, rather than a lean, I started quilting on the panel in the upper left hand corner, then continued quilting diagonally all the way to the bottom right hand corner. Once I had the feel for the pattern, I was on a roll. After I had this section quilted, I then just had to fill in the upper right corner and the lower left corner. Honestly, it didn't turn out perfect in spots (far from it,) but once I got the hang of it, I had some really nice sweet spots, see the photo below to see the pattern up close. All in all it took me around 2 hours to quilt the entire panel section, and I was pleased as punch with the results.
Once the panel was quilted, I then had to decide how to quilt the side borders, so I turned back to the book. After looking through it for a while, I decided to dive in and try the "Poppies" pattern found on page 70. You can see my flowers below, I was also pleased as punch with these results too. Yes, they aren't perfect, but what flowers are? So I did a line of Poppies on either side of the panel in the light pink strips. Eek...I'm drawing with my sewing machine and thread, how cool is that!!!
One set of borders to go, so once again I consulted the book and decided on "Swirls" found on page 66. I actually found this pattern to be the most difficult for me, it was a larger pattern and I struggled to get "even and smooth" circles, but on a whole, I think it turned out fine and was a great learning experience! You can see my less than perfect results below, but heck, this quilt is for a five year old, I don't think she will mind.
Once the quilting was done, all I had to do was bind it and add fabric hoops for wall hanging. I added four fabric hoops to the very top of the quilt, just in case this became a wall quilt vs. one that was actually used. I used some Patty Young Sanctuary fabric for the binding, such a pretty bright pink. I also used my new favorite way to bind a quilt, totally by machine! I found out about this technique through Leanne at She Can Quilt. She used this method on her Octagonal Orb Quilt, and mentioned that she learned about the technique from Marianne at The Quilting Edge. You can find out the details of this technique HERE. My corners turned out fairly well and I didn't have to unpick any section of the binding, it works like a charm and is SO QUICK compared to hand sewing the binding. I'm in love!
So I know you were wondering if I was able to straighten out the panel with my quilting so that it wouldn't be too wonky. Well I am pleased to say that I was successful. The two photos below are my proof. The photo to the left is what the quilt look liked after quilting and binding. The panel was fairly straight, but the edges of the quilt are pretty darn wavy, a.k.a. it did NOT lay flat. But....after machine washing....all flat and perfectly smooth, as seen in the photo to the right! I was thrilled that since the quilting was fairly dense, the texture didn't change after washing, but since it shrank incrementally, it just smoothed out so nicely.
Here is a photo of the back, washed and ready to gift! I washed it on a normal cycle, with one color catcher, but apparently didn't need it because none of the colors bled, and the color catcher was white when the cycle was over. I threw it in the dryer, normal cycle and it dried so nice and soft. I used a poly/cotton blend batting that was pieced from two smaller pieces to make a whole and you can not see the pieced line at all, even when you hold up the quilt to light.
Once washed, I had my five year old help me hold it up, he reluctantly agreed and was just tall enough! I am happy to say that this quilt has been gifted to my niece and she loved it. I don't think it will make it to the wall, but will be a much loved and played with blanket. I couldn't be more thrilled with that, because isn't that what quilts are for?
Whew....just in the nick of time, I finished it up. What started out as these simple 8.5" x 8.5" string blocks made entirely out of Heather Bailey fabrics, seen in the photo to the left. Twenty-two of these blocks were made by my Always Bee Learning Bee mates in the first round of this group, eight were made by yours truly. Were then transformed into the roughly 13" x 13" blocks below, still featuring Heather Bailey fabrics, but with Kona White added in there too for a bit of contrast. It was a lot of sewing and constructing of blocks, 30 in total. I didn't think I would meet my deadline, but in the end these blocks were constructed into a throw quilt, and now she is together and transformed into a pretty cheerful quilt, if I do say so myself! I love how she turned out. So bright, happy, random and yet structured, such a nice combination of things. It looks as good in person as it did in my head, and I just love when that happens.
This throw quilt measures 62" x 75" and is a great size, not too big, not too small. I did something a bit odd with this quilt, and constructed it a tad bit differently than I normally would. I sewed the finished blocks together with 3/8" seam allowance. I did this for several reasons. The main reason is that when you construct string blocks on paper as a foundation, like these were, when you tear off the paper, the edges of these blocks tend to get un-sewn a bit in spots. Some of these blocks had strings that didn't quite go all the way to the edge once they were trimmed either. Thus the 3/8" seam allowance fixed all these issues. Any raw edges were totally sewn in and encased, and any unraveling ends aren't really an issue anymore. This also explains why I left these blocks roughly 13" x 13", I was sorta (without any math involved) allowing for the extra seam allowance, which worked out great.
This was the type of quilt that as I was making the blocks I started dreading the process of sewing the blocks together in the end. All these strings, so many seam allowances and the fear of the bulkiness involved. Honestly, it wasn't bad, at all, in fact it went together so smoothly I was really surprised. I stitched all these blocks together, yesterday, in about 2 hours, maybe not even that long. I think that since the strings aren't supposed to match up, that the majority of the seams don't line up, thus the bulk I was so worried about, never really happened but in one or two places on the quilt. That was a nice surprise that I did not expect.
I have the backing fabric, so I just need to get it ready, baste and quilt this one. I am looking forward to quilting it, but am still unsure as to how I will quilt it. I think I will sketch things out, but I do know that I want to free motion quilt it, and hopefully I will be able to use my recently cleaned up and restored vintage Singer 15-91that I have set up and dedicated to free motion quilting. I have been dying to use this machine on a larger quilt, so I plan to quilt this one sooner than later! So exciting for us quilt nerds! HA!
This quilt top is my entry into the Festival of Strings over at Stitched in Color. Make sure to stop by and see all the other beautiful entries.
A feisty mom designing, sewing and blogging her way through everyday life!