Finally Quilting

So way back in June of 2011, I started fussy cutting some unicorns and started putting together some blocks. Slowly but surely from then until lets say August of this year, I put together enough blocks to make a queen sized quilt top. I don’t have many pictures of the block assembly, but I’ll still tell you how things went down on this project.

Though I loved the colourful blocks, they started to look rather too busy and overwhelming all on their own. So I decided when I was nearly halfway to make complimentary muslin bordered blocks to alternate with the colourful ones.

Back in May, I went into intense production mode on the muslin blocks while out in the Quebec countryside in Charlevoix during a long weekend. When I got back, I realised that I only had a handful of blocks left in order to have a finished quilt top!

Scrappy Block

At this point excitement really kicked in. Having borrowed a friends floor to lay out all the blocks, I made a very scientific analysis of the balance of colours in the quilt and determined what there needed to be more of. Finished said remaining blocks. Then on an intense crafturday, I went through and re-trimmed all the blocks (moderately epic), then proceeded to leave them in a nicely trimmed pile for at least a month, if not two before attacking them on a sewing Saturday.

Rather than going through hours of possible quilt layouts on the floor, I decided to continue the “not too precious” process of this quilt. I separated the colour combinations into separate piles and systematically sorted the blocks into rows. After sorting them, I looked through them briefly to prevent too many repeating colours in the same row. Then I went to town sewing them together. By the end of the day I had a finished quilt top.

My brother let me raid his stash of fabrics to put together the quilt back. I combined some crazy 30’s reproduction rabbits with some pink woven ginghams and mystery fibre denim for the backing.

Quilt Back

I’ve really earned the quilting moniker of Miss Cut while working on this quilt. At many stages in the process, I’ve stopped thinking just long enough to screw up my cutting. All the quilt blocks are bigger than originally planned because my quilting ruler is 6 inches wide and not 5 (Miss Cut number one). When making the backing strips, I forgot to start measuring at the 0 on my cutting mat (not the first time THAT’s happened either) and had to sew an extra seam to get the proper width needed (Miss Cut number 2). THEN when measuring for the final length of each strip, I totally came up with some random number that wasn’t long enough and ended up with extra seams again! (Miss Cut number 3).

Not that it really matters in the end. The quilt is pretty scrappy even without a few extra seams here and there. It’s pretty funny how I seem to lose my brain completely at some stages of the process.

It's (almost) a quilt!

So I managed to get the back done in time to spend Canadian Thanksgiving weekend putting together the quilt sandwich. And because I’m a giant nerd, spent nearly a day trimming all the extra threads from the seams and raveled edges of the fabric before finally basting it together. Those little raveled threads at the edge of a project are my number 1 pet peeve, and I just couldn’t knowingly leave them on the inside of the quilt. Not that it really matters, they’re on the inside of the quilt where no one will see them, but I’ll know that they’re there. It’s like a Tell-Tale Heart thing.

So since Thanksgiving (mid October), I’ve been hand-quilting this quilt. And I’m even going as far as echo quilting the muslin blocks. I tried one block and love the result so much that I find it totally worth the extra effort.

<3 hand quilting ripples.

I’m sure some people will think I’m nuts for hand-quilting this, but they probably haven’t seen my slowly-growing Hex-a-quilt that I’ve been working on since the spring of ’09. I much prefer the look of hand quilting to machine quilting, so it’s worth the extra time and effort. And half the blocks have reasonable outline quilting in crochet cotton, which is remarkably fast to do. I often finish quilting 3 or 4 blocks in an evening.

Quilted Block

Outline Quilting Detail

Quilted Block

Unicorn! UNI-CORN!

Though I’ve being playing around the idea about quilts for a couple of years now (have started several projects and managed to accumulate quite the fabric stash), it’s only in the past few weeks that the full impact of making quilts has hit me. And hit me hard it has.

Due to an undisclosed communal quilting project that has recently been completed (don’t worry, I’ll show pictures once the time is appropriate) I have finally realised how fantastic making a quilt is. And also how nice it would be to have a home made quilt. For reals. This is the closest I’ve come to owning a home made quilt.

I’ve had quilts before. Even had baby quilts. But they were mostly of the “pre-quilted fabric, just add binding” variety. The closest I ever got was a “home made style” quilt that was heavily discounted in the bedding department one year. Now that I’ve encountered a real, honest-to-goodness homemade quilt, I realise how poor a facsimile it is.

K. Now I’m getting a tad off topic. Sort of. Quilt = Great. Me. Want. Own. Quilt. So I could barely contain myself while finishing up this secret mysterious non-disclosed communal quilt project, and keep from starting another one right away. But I was good. I waited 20 whole minutes after finishing stitching down the binding before whipping out the fabric for the next on.

After seeing and suggesting the latest in the Old Red Barn Quilt-a-long to a friend who wasn’t inspired, I realised that this pattern would work wonderfully for my stash of thus un-planned Far Far Away fabrics.

Fussy cuttin' UNICORNS!

Early Saturday morning, I started fussy cutting unicorns while chatting with my sleepy roommate. We were up early as we had plans for dim sum with friends. While ironing and slicing fabric, I kept singing “unicorn, Unicorn, UNI-corn!” in the style of King Haggard in the Last Unicorn.

By the end of my awesome 4 day weekend, I had a nice little stack of fabrics going. 4 blocks done and a general strategy for the quilt. As you can see, the plan of attack involves diving into my box of 1930’s reproduction fabric scraps. The purples used are the most perfect match to the pinky/purple in the one Frog Prince fabric from the Far Far Away collection.

Unicorn, UNI-CORN!

I do have enough of the Far Far Away to make the entire quilt, I do really like idea of the borders using one colour, but many different fabrics. It would have been nice to have a cosy quilt entirely made of double gauze, but I plan to get a nice Nani Iro dot or floral print for the backing. Maybe some nice cotton lawn for the binding. Hrm. That would be a nice touch.