Well I never, I’ve only gone and finished a project! My Alaska lap quilt is now sewn together, quilted and bound, and ready for use, just in time for the cooler autumn and winter months.
I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Especially when you consider that I actually started this particular quilt quite early on in my sewing life. It dates back to 2009, when I was living in the US, and I signed up for a Mystery Quilt class, billed as a “Mystery Tour to Alaska”. There were 2 different colour ways on offer, and I choose this palette of icy, watery blues.
I eventually finished putting the quilt top together about 18 months ago, and, until very recently, it had been languishing in my Cupboard of Unfinished Quilt Tops. I know exactly why, too – and for once it’s not just a case of laziness and Quilter’s ADD!
First off, the quilt’s pretty enough, but my tastes have certainly changed over the past 5 years since I started it. Now I liked this quilt, sure, but I didn’t love it. Looking at it now I find the colours to be a bit ‘meh’, and it’s all rather, well, uninspiring and triangular, really.
Secondly, I was totally lacking inspiration about how to quilt the blasted thing. I knew that it needed some carefully-chosen quilting to turn it from somewhat bland into something special, but I didn’t have the first clue about what that quilting should be.
And so in the cupboard it went, and in the cupboard it stayed, until I decided to tackle it as part of my Q3 Finish-Along list.
Unquilted top – bland, dull and meh…
It was my lovely friend Ms E, who first suggested that it needed feathers. Now, I’ve never been a massive fan of feather quilting, I’d always thought of it as rather dull and old-fashioned. But I had to agree that the idea of feathers, with their flowing curves, would give the quilt the illusion of movement. And once the idea was in my head, that’s where it stayed. And grew. Until one day I went out and bought some feather stencils. And the rest, as they say, is history…
Loving all the curves in those feathers!
Quilted circles to complement the curves in the feathers
Close-up of quilted block
The design in the dark blue triangle is a smaller version of the one in the pale blue triangle
Feather quilting in the outer border, too…
Close up of border quilting
The best thing about doing this was it was so liberating! I wasn’t totally in love with the quilt top. It wasn’t intended as a gift, it wasn’t going to break my heart if I totally screwed it up. I didn’t let myself get hung up about ‘perfect’ quilting. I was brave and chose a dark colour thread, which would show up prominently against the mainly pale background fabric. I just went with the flow.
And do you know what? I actually really like this quilt now!
What’s more, it looks like Mr. Boy agrees with me 🙂
Linking up with Audrey over at Glory Be Quilter for TGIFF – why not pop over and check out some more lovely finishes this week?
Well I never, another finish!
Actually, I finished this quilt ages ago, but never quite got round to taking any photos of it. But a timely reminder last week that the Q1 Finish-Along is about to, well, finish, reminded me that this had been on my To Do list. So I whipped out the camera, hopped onto the balcony, and got to it!
I started this quilt back in September last year, when I took a class with Marti Michell at the Carrefour Européen du Patchwork in Ste Marie-aux-Mines. I’ve loved the look of the Kaleidoscope block for a long time, and the chance to take this class with such a well-known teacher, and in ENGLISH too, was way too good to pass up. Now my French is certainly good enough that I can follow when I take classes here, but, well, they can be quite exhausting! I always have to concentrate really hard to make sure I’ve totally understood what I need to do, and then there’s all the having to translate cm into inches, which makes them somewhat challenging at times. A class in English for a change – well, hooray!
According to the pre-course information, highly contrasting colours work the best for this quilt. So I chose black and white, with a pop of yellow.
The quilt top itself was actually finished on the day of the class – which is an absolute first for me. I’m not a super-speedy quilter like my friends Ms JJ or Ms C, and I’m pretty much always one of the last people to finish any given project. But this time I was the first – probably because it was all in English!
Then I came home, and the quilt languished in the back of the cupboard while I tried to decide how to quilt it.
Back in January, I decided enough was enough, and added it to my list for the Q1 Finish Along and the projects I wanted to finish during my fabric fast. And I got stuck in. I started off quilting in the ditch around the distinct Kaleidoscope circles, hoping that this would make them stand out. But it didn’t have the effect I wanted. So I then quilted every seam in the ditch, thinking that this would show up the contrast between black and white.
Now this worked a little better, but it still didn’t have the effect I was after. I wanted to highlight the circular nature of the Kaleidoscope. And given that the fabric had circular motifs and dots on it, I decided to try quilting some circles.
The design then evolved to contain concentric and interlocking circles in the quilt centre, and overlapping circles in the outer border.
It’s easier to see the quilting design from the back of the quilt – and yes, it really is that bright a yellow, one of the many perils of choosing fabric online…
I finished the quilting back in January, and it was one of my first finishes of 2014. And I’m really pleased with it. It’s only quite small (measures 33″ x 33″) so it wasn’t too daunting to quilt. In fact, it was a great confidence boost for me, as I am always petrified that I’ll ruin my beautiful quilt tops with inexpert quilting or a badly chosen design. This time I just went with it, and let the quilting design evolve organically. And I think that it works. Maybe I should have more faith in myself!
So even though I’ve only just got around to sharing this quilt, I’m linking it up with the Q1 Finish Along Finish Party. Why not pop over and have a peep at some of the other beautiful finishes out there?
Well, after last week’s quilting frenzy, and with my sewing activities now somewhat curtailed by my non-working foot pedal, as well as a romantic weekend away in Prague, I have very little to report for WIP Wednesday this week. Like next to nothing, actually…
But before the dastardly kitties crunched, munched and gnawed their way through the foot pedal cable, and in between packing, travelling, sightseeing and drinking yummy Czech beer, I did manage to get a few things done.
Firstly, I cut strips for the last of my Broken Herringbone blocks for the QAL, and started to piece them. When I manage to get them finished, I will have 16 blocks of loveliness to make a very colourful quilt top 🙂 Watch this space!
I finished binding my pink and purple quilt for the quilt show – and I’ve been busy trying to think up a name for it. It’s mainly stars, so I think I might call it Stargazing, but I don’t have to label it and hand it in for another week, so this may well change before then! The quilt’s so big that I don’t have enough room on the floor to lay it out and photograph, so a proper photo will have to wait until the quilt show when it will be hanging up, but here it is, draped over the back of a chair, to give an idea of the colours and fabrics.
And finally, I finished up the binding on my red and pink triangles quilt. But before I managed to finish it, this happened…
… And it happened because my calculations for the binding length were wrong (I was never any good at maths…) Fortunately I had just enough fabric left over to plug the gap, but I did say some Very Bad Words at the time. Mr Boy and Mimi Bubba were quite shocked!
I made this quilt because a friend of mine asked me to show her how. She wanted to make a quilt for her baby, and she fell in love with this pattern. Of course I had to try it out first, to make sure I showed her properly (any excuse to make a new quilt, huh?!) Once her’s is finished, I’ll be posting some photos of her fabulous work – it’s utterly beautiful! She may never have quilted before, but she seems to be a natural!
In the meantime, mine is now finished, quilted and bound – here it is in all its girly pinky-red glory. I hope you like it as much as I do!
So that’s it for another week’s sewing – hopefully next week will be a little more productive!
Linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday… why not hop on over too to take a look?