This is the quilt I was going to finish when I finished my Tula Nova. Luckily I had a day off a week later and this was top of the pile! Two years after I started it, my Fancy Forest quilt is now a finish!
I started this quilt as part of the Elizabeth Hartman All The Animals Sew Along hosted by @gnomeangel in 2018, but I only got as far as the foxes and the rabbits. In Autumn last year, I picked it up again and pushed it over the finish line - a finished quilt top. I love the rainbow effect - which I wasn't sure was working at the half way point.
I love the owls - I've made loads of these blocks now, yet I still managed to sew one together wrong. I was away at the Sewing Shindig Retreat that weekend, so I couldn't just recut the pieces I messed up. We had such a laugh about my little mistake, which I didn't realise until I'd finished piecing my owl, that I decided to leave him and not redo. So I have 7 mean owls and one slightly sheepish one! I think he's cute and he reminds me of a fabulous weekend! And the final blocks were made two weeks later at our Local Modern Quilt Guild retreat. So this quilt is full of memories.
It took me a while to get round to basting the quilt. I'd bought some Elizabeth Hartman extra wide backing for it when I first started making it, but when I came to layer it up, it wasn't big enough. I swore! Then I went online and managed to pick a bit more up in a sale, which was something of a miracle given how old this fabric is.
I thought I knew exactly how I wanted to quilt it, but then I saw some quilted that way on Instagram and decided that actually, I wasn't keen on the finished appearance. So I thought vertical organic staraight (i.e. wobbly) lines. I did four lines and then unpicked them. Back to the drawing board. The eventual quilting pattern was a sudden brainwave as I was feeding Josh in the middle of the night. Vertical "straight" lines but over shorter distances! It's a zigzag with soft curves and random heights. There was an initial learning curve, about which way I needed to have the quilt - I found it was important that the previously quilted section was between me and the machine, rather than behind the needle, so I could see it and not cross over the previous quilting lines, and whilst that meant I had to force quite a large chunk of quilt through my machine, it was definitely worth it - but I do appreciate the larger throat space on my machine now! The quilting also turned out denser than I had originally visualized, but I love it.
And my final touch of genius was the binding. I'd originally planned to use the same navy fabric I'd used the background. But I couldn't find it. So I'd ordered some rainbow and white striped fabric. And then I found a rainbow. And the minute I saw it I knew I had to have it! It's Buzzin Around Stripe in rainbow from Andover and it was perfect! I don't recall ever getting so many compliments on a binding before!
The finished quilt is a whopping 67" x 91" and is a Finish Along finish!