Friday, February 28, 2014

Anniversary Quilt

This month (February) my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary! I knew I wanted to make something special, and last year when I saw an antique french wedding "boutis", I was inspired.

All the material for the quilt was "gifted" to me - I won a gift certificate from SewCalGal's Free Motion Quilting Challenge (bought the fabric), and I was given a gift certificate when I helped make a quilt last year for the school where I volunteer (bought the batting and thread).

The quilt is 93" (235cm) square. I used double wide fabric for the quilt (Bella by Moda, in cream - 6yds), with wool batting (Hobbs Heirloom Queen size). The thread is Bottom Line by Superior threads - it is a 60wt thread and was lovely to sew with, and it hardly showed backtracking.

I had one 3000yds cone, and when I started to run out, I had to use regular cotton thread in the bobbin. The last bit of quilting was the parallel lines in the outer border, as I was running out of thread my lines kept getting wider apart - I did go back and add more lines here and there, when I was finished, and had leftover thread.

I knew that I wanted to make a relatively simple whole cloth quilt, because I wanted it to be "my now style" of quilting (very little marking, free-form, favourite quilting designs...), and I wanted to have it as a backdrop on my bed for throws, bed runners etc. and not worry about covering it up.

Here is how it all went together -

As I was pinning the three layers, my sons were surprised to hear that this would be a quilt - it is just one piece of plain fabric, where were the colours?!
I measured the top of my bed and figured out how big the centre feathered wreath would need to be, and where the feathered border should go. I then placed small pieces of masking tape on the quilt top as a guide.

Using a Hera Marker on a piece of string I drew the centre circle. 

I also marked about 6" on both sides of the line as a guide for the area the feathers needed to fill.

I filled in the centre of the wreath with simple cross hatching on a 1/2" grid. 

For the outer feathered border I marked the wavy line around the quilt top with the Hera Marker.

The feathers filled in about 6" on both sides of the line too.

I quilted the Cathedral Window background on a 1" grid.

Lots of marking and lines to follow! In hindsight I should have made the feathers larger.

I do really like this background though, it reminds me of crocodile skin and has a great tactile quality.

I marked the scallops before quilting the outer border, by tracing around a quilt that was the right size and had scallops (this is Winding Ways).

I added small feathered wreaths (about a 7" circle - I traced around a plate) in opposite corners - this one has 25 and the other our initials. I quilted "scribbling" around the letters and numbers to make them stand out.

I chose parallel lines for the outer border because I wanted it to look like fringe (although in this picture it looks like wheat - which is appropriate since we live on the prairie). I also added our children's initials in this border.

The binding is cut on the bias using this method.

The whole quilt was free motion quilted on my domestic sewing machine. It was much easier to quilt a whole cloth quilt than a pieced quilt top of the same size because there isn't the added weight of seam allowances. Also wool batting is wonderfully light, soft and "squishable".

Because people ask - I think it took about 80 hours to quilt, at times it seemed endless (for Cathedral Windows every 1" line is stitched 3 times!). I pinned it on the last day in January, but all the quilting was done this month, and I finished hand stitching the binding last night! It was definitely a labour of love, but I would make another one, just not right now- 

it looks like this outside, so now it is time for some colour!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Favourite Tools

I am currently working on a large whole cloth quilt and wanted to share some of my favourite tools that I have been using.

This is a Hera Marker from Clover (I know I mention it all the time), it is my absolute favourite marking tool. It just makes an indentation in the fibres of the fabric, so there is nothing permanent or damaging left behind, and nothing to remove later (the fibres bounce back in time). I attached a piece of string to it, to mark circles, and I have marked 6" increments along the string with a felt marker so that it can be used as a measuring tool too. It does need a hard surface underneath it when marking.

These are my newest purchase - Tron spring action scissors. They are so fine and sharp, plus they get around the pressor foot and under the quilt very easily - just lovely (they came highly recommended and I can see why). When I quilt feathers instead of back tracking up and down the spine, I just stop and reposition all the time, so there has been lots of threads to clip, these have made the job a breeze and they are pretty too.

This whole cloth quilt will be over 90" square, but because it is just two pieces of fabric and wool batting it is much easier to quilt on my domestic sewing machine than a pieced quilt (no seam allowances to add weight). I do have a good sewing machine, in a cabinet (which is wonderful!).

The quilt is my February project, and there will be lots more pictures when I am finished.

I have also been knitting and spinning -

I knit an entrelac hat from wool that I spun. It is my own design.

 This is my first ombré yarn that I have spun (BFL and silk from SweetGeorgia Yarns).

This shows the shading better. I am knitting a shawl with it.

Like lots of places we are still in the depths of winter! But is shouldn't be for much longer.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
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