Apparently I started this quilt on 21st January 2011. I've just read through some old blog posts about it and read that I hoped to finish it by January 21st 2012 - a year after I started it. Excuse me a moment while I laugh hysterically. We are now three years on from that, and four years on from when I first started it and I can finally tell you that it is FINISHED!
As in done.
|I managed to get a couple of photos outside in between the|
flurries of rather pathetic snow #notquitejuno
This was my first foray into quilting, and was started as a monthly class at my local quilt shop and we used the book "Essential Sampler Quilt" by Nikki Tinkler. I pulled fabrics from my "stash" - again I must laugh hysterically - at that point my stash took up one 9 litre Really Useful box. Oh how times have changed. The first block I made for the quilt didn't make it into the final quilt, and along the way, as a refined my colour palette, a few more blocks didn't make it either. These are now sitting in the orphan block pile - some are even quilted. But I'm glad I sacrificed those blocks, because I love the simple palette I've ended up with. And I really don't love some of the fabrics I had originally picked out!
|Pieced and quilted before I changed my colour scheme...|
I didn't like all of the blocks in the quilt, so some got substituted out, but we still covered lots of techniques making this quilt that I'd never tried before: bias applique for a celtic knot block. I loved this technique, bought myself a little Clover iron, and bought a book full of similar blocks. One day, I will make a whole quilt using this technique.
Drunkards path and wedding ring blocks: my first attempts at piecing curves. In fact the first Drunkards path block was a discard, so I tackled curves twice. Having bought "A Quilters Mixology" late last year and discovering that my local quilting club has the accuquilt die for cutting drunkards path units from charm squares, this is another technique I'm hoping to revisit in the near future.
And foundation piecing - we foundation pieced the mariners compass block and something just clicked. Just a couple of days after completing this block at the class I started my Farmer's Wife quilt and committed to piece it with this technique (until half way through when quilt maths suddenly clicked).
The book instructions were to use the quilt as you go technique to finish the quilt. Scared of machine quilting, I chose to hand quilt. And whilst the technique to join the blocks stunk (you may have heard me mention it here), I absolutely don't regret chosing to hand quilt it. My hand quilting back then is even slightly better than my hand quilting now - I've got lazy by quilting so much with perle thread and using 'slightly' larger stitches.
So - my biggest regret: using the bloody stupid method for joining the quilted blocks together. I added sashing to each of the finished blocks, which enabled me to trim them all down to the same size. Except to start with you only trim the front. Then, pinning batting and backing well out of the way, machine the fronts of two blocks together. Once that seam is pressed and the batting is released, this now needs to be trimmed so that the two edges of batting butt up against each other. Easier said than done. I used some iron on batting tape to hold this layer together. Then the backing is released and trimmed so that one edge folds over and is slip stitched in place to complete the seam. Unfortunately I could not work out how to get this uniform, so my seams definitely don't meet on the back. And even more unfortunately, back when I first started putting the blocks together, my slip stitching wasn't great either.
On the plus side, I picked out a horrific backing material, which while not at all matching the colours on the front of the quilt, is at least busy enough to detract from most of the bad stitching and non meeting seams. My only excuse - it was on sale when I bought it and at that point I didn't know if I would stick with quilting.
I had planned to do some free motion quilting in the sashing on the finished quilt, and I did try. It looked wrong. It just didn't fit with the feeling of the quilt. I tried using some perle thread to hand quilt round the outside of each block, but it just made it more obvious that my blocks were all different sizes. So I added my binding, and in keeping with the feel of the quilt, I hand stitched it down on the back (not my favourite job).
So the quilt is finished. And whilst it is far from perfect, it is a really important part of my quilting journey. I know this post is quite wordy, but when I reflect back on this quilt, it's important that I remember where it took me and how it made me the quilter I am today. Also, coincidentally, as I've read back thorough old blog posts about this quilt, I've realised that I was making it alongside my Farmer's Wife quilt - another important quilt in my journey, and as I write this post, I'm curled up in that quilt!
Finishing this quilt was a goal on my Quarter 1 2015 Finish Along list (and on a few previous ones too!)
And was my January goal for a Lovely Year of Finishes.