Way back in May, at a craft fair, I attend most months, I was approached, thanks in no small part to a runty border collie puppy, by a lovely couple who spotted my Good Fortune bed runner.
They loved the warmth of the colours and the busy look of the juxtaposed strips but they wanted it bigger, with more piecing. Of course, I said I could do it, not knowing if I could even get the fabric. As it turned out, I couldn’t actually find the fabric I needed in the UK and found it on Etsy – as luck would have – the three jelly rolls that I had worked out that I needed to make the super king size quilt they wanted. We agreed on a 8ft x 10ft (96″ x 120″) quilt as they wanted not too much over hang but I wanted to give them enough for a pillow tuck. Anyway the rolls were ordered and I was able to use a local ebay based fabric shop for the border and backing fabrics.
It took a little while for the fabrics to make the journey over from the States and it arrived in mid June. To give me the size I wanted, I went with 5 strip blocks (not sure if this counts as Rail Fence, perhaps someone can let me know). I knew they wanted “the more pieces, the better” so was not worried about it being too busy for the, I was a bit concerned about the green fabric, not because it isn’t beautiful, but people react to green in very disporate ways, a bit like marmite. It’s my favourite colour but would it suit my couple?
Any way the strip set piecing began; I’ll accept a small slapped wrist for not trimming my selvedges before I started but I had a method and it worked for me.
So strips were sewn together and pressed so that
all most of the seams went in the same direction! Then pressed flat. Then the strips were cut into 4 10 1/2 inch blocks.
Sets were sewn and blocks were cut until I had 80 blocks and then the assembly began; strips of 8 blocks sewn together and then, the ten 8 block strips sewn together to make the main quilt top. It seemed enormous. It’s the biggest quilt I have made, the previous being a quilt for my king size bed (6’6″ square). But as I finished the main piecing the weather changed from sunny-but-cool to hot, hot, hot!
The weather helped me though: I was able to spread the quilt top out on our lawn to measure for the borders. It had a grey narrow border, a pieced, scrappy border and a wide grey border.
Luckily the weather lasted, I don’t think I could have easily made it last year with the continuous monsoons we had as I have nowhere in the house big enough to spread it out. Once the border were on I spread it out again to measure for the backing. Sadly I didn’t remember to take a picture of the backing which in the end I pieced with a rectangle of the grey, to break up the green, my nerves were still present, obviously. It looked lovely though.
Anyway the finished quilt top looked like this:
It was pinned flat but was a bit blowy and very, very hot.. Scrabbling round the garden pinning it to the turf was no mean feat, and the next day, making the quilt sandwich in the same way, my new neighbours must think I’m a bit bonkers. I pinned it securely in position and then basted it properly the next day.
I still hadn’t decided how to quilt it, I favoured an all over largish stipple to counteract the geometric lines but my clients were a bit dubious, or unsure. In the end I decided to use a geometric design, but chevrons at 2 inch spacing. I must admit to almost taking it all out at one stage because it was so hot, and the quilt was so big and heavy and I knew that the free motions stipple would have been quicker! I had hoped to have it finished in three to four weeks but I phoned my lovely customers and apologised for the slow progress but I was finding I could only quilt for about 15 minutes at a time. They were very understanding and as soon as the weather cooled a little I was able to complete it.
The scrappy border was added and then the quilt was washed, I speed hand sewed the border to the back as the forecast was promising rain and I wanted to dry it outside in the fresh air.
I am delighted with the finished quilt, in love with all Kate Spain’s designs, and am happy to report that my lovely clients have added this beautiful thing to the other lovely things they have in their beautiful home.
I think I may have given the impression over the last couple of posts that I am a bit down. I hope this blog doesn’t come across as wallowing or depressing as most of the time that’s not the way I feel at all, occasionally, a bit of a wallow is quite therapeutic and allows one, well, me anyway, to spring back with vim and vigour. The vim and vigour might be a bit more evident if we had had the much mooted T-shirt day yesterday. It was dull, dreich and miserable. I put my newest quilt on the line for four hours and it made absolutely no difference to it. It just sat there, waving its funkiness in the grey air.
I brought it in 4 hours later weighing approximately 0.0025 grammes less than when I put it out. There was, as they used to say in a part of the world where I once lived – frequently in Post Office queues, “no drying”.
But it is now finished, dry and folded and in a little while when the light gets better I will attempt to photograph. I am really delighted with this one. If you thought I was chintzy and traditional at heart well, you were wrong. The fact is I love it all.
I have used the Kate Spain Terrain patterns (a jelly roll) and some additional yardage (a yard and a half) of a matching print. The quilt it has yielded is bigger than my recent ones being about 40″ x 60″ about the right size for a first bed, a coverlet for a single or a throw for the back of a sofa. The way she has used the colours which are strongly contrasting make me want to sing – they really are joyful. It is, as you can see very simply pieced and echo-quilted to emphasise the strips of colour. This looks particularly effective on the back of the quilt. The thing I am most pleased about is the binding. I have made a binding strip from some of the left-over strip and well, it just works really well and I’m delighted.
Today I will be mostly playing with my (sshh!!!) new sewing machine. It has a larger harp area for rolling my quilts, droppable feed dogs and 84 different stitches. It also hums pleasantly, in a reassuring, germanic way and just feels more “the ticket” for a more industrial set up. It was not what I thought when I bought Hannah a sewing machine for her Christmas present last September (which she never got, see here).
Now, all that said, I’m off, back to my hollow and there I will wallow … in glorious mud. It must be a legacy of Junior Choice but I cannot hear the word wallow without that song coming to mind.
Off to hum Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud in a reassuring, germanic way for the rest of the day.