Sunday, 16 February 2020
Tula Nova [A Finish]
I can't believe it's been nearly two years since an epic day out in Huddersfield with the amazing Tula Pink. That day at Simply Solids was pretty close to the best day ever: a morning lecture by Tula where we got to see some of her quilts - and the amazing quilting by Angela Walters - and then an afternoon workshop with her starting work on the Tula Nova pattern.
The centre that I made that day became a cushion, but I redid my centre and kept going with a rainbow or stars around it to create my final Tula Nova. All of the print fabrics are Tula All Stars with Pompoms and Stripes. The solids are all Kona. This was my first real time working with Tula Pink fabrics. I'd long been a fan of her patterns, but not her fabric. After this day I was a convert. We won't discuss how much Tula fabric I now have, nor how many of my current WIPs are Tula WIPs! But this was the start.
The medallion is all hand pieced using English Paper Piecing. I learned about fussy cutting to get those animals central and the spots where I wanted them, and pattern matching to get those strips where I wanted them. The pieces in this quilt are quite a bit bigger than some of the other EPP projects I was working on and I really enjoyed the changes of scale - plus it went together really quickly.
I knew early on exactly which colourway of the Pompoms I wanted to use as my background but I have to confess, pattern matching the seam was a challenge. But the hardest part of the whole quilt was hand-appliquing the centre to the background. It was so big heavy and so easy to baste it so it didn't lie flat. I did it in two halves and machine basted it in place. And even though it was flat at that point, as I was hand-appliquing it, there were still a few points where I had to ease it a little so it stayed flat.
Adding the borders was a grovelling-around-the-floor job and then I basted it and then I left it. I wanted to hand quilt it, but it just wasn't calling to me. I did a small amount in the middle, but just didn't fancy it. Last week I had a day off work and I was planning to quilt a different quilt. I had a sudden thought that if I added a few machine-quilted lines to the Tula Nova I might feel more comfortable adding the hand-quilting. Once I'd started I just kept going and by the end of the day I had quilted in the ditch across the whole quilt top, and I had decided that it didn't need any hand-quilting. I did the ditch quilting with my machine set up to free motion because I didn't want to be forever manoeuvring the entire quilt through my machine.. Most of the time I'm pretty pleased with how well I stayed in the ditch - there are a few wobbles, but I'll take them! Why are the wobbles always where the thread will be most visible?
In the background I eyeballed a cross-hatch, using the spots as guidance and then I went all round the border seam as well. And all of a sudden it was quilted. The backing I've used was a bit of a treat. This quilt is a special one so I splashed out on some Tula Pink wide-back - Pinkerville in the purpley colour way to match the Pompom of the background. I love this fabric (I love the non-wideback version more - it has unicorns and Loch Ness Monsters!). It feels lovely and smooth!
To finish it off a used the Stripes in the same colourway as the Pompoms, because you can't beat a striped binding! And because this quilt was special, I even hand-sewed the binding. Over the last few years I've finished something each year on my birthday. This year, this was the quilt. Finished just a week short of two years after starting.
The finished quilt is approximately 70"x70". It's hand pieced and hand appliqued using Mettler 60w silk finish cotton thread. It's machine quilted using Aurifil 50w thread (and a smidge of Coats). It is also a Finish Along Finish!