I threw up a quick pic of this quilt in my previous post, but it deserves better than that. This is the quilt that started my on the path to becoming a quilter; it’s now finished and gifted, but my quilting journey continues.
It started way back when my sister announced her wedding and I enthusiastically declared that I would make the happy couple a wedding quilt, despite having never made any kind of quilt whatsoever before. Luckily(?) I’m a fast learner and had prior some experience with sewing machines to draw on. I did some research, found a heart pattern I liked that looked achievable and then got thoroughly overexcited buying fabrics in reds, pinks and creams, with no real idea of how big the final article would be or how much fabric I’d actually need. Then it dawned on me that perhaps a bit of practise on a less high-profile project might be a good idea, so I started a bargello instead, using the very cheap sewing machine I bought from a local supermarket.
It quickly became apparent that I didn’t completely have a handle on things when I started to assemble that bargello, so I bundled it – and everything else – up and disappeared off backpacking for most of a year. On my return to Wales, I sought out the lovely quilting group that I’ve been part of ever since and they pointed me in the right directions! With the bargello finished, I plugged away at the Wedding quilt heart blocks and top assembly, found some great fabric for the borders and back, and finally layered everything up.
Then more stalling happened when I realised that I wasn’t quite sure how to approach quilting it! By this time, I’d done other large bed quilts and was slowly building my FMQ skills, but it wasn’t until I was asked to dog-sit for a month by a quilty friend that I finally sunk my teeth into the quilting. She has a Horn cabinet, something I’d never tried before, but I quickly realised that this was just what I needed to help me quilt such a big item. Having armed myself with a surround to fit my Pfaff QE4.2, I set about quilting up a storm of spirals!
The hearts were quilted in the ditch around the outside, and I got really brave and did feathers in the top and bottom borders. To manage the size of the quilt, I mentally divided the area into approximate quarters and quilted each one from the centre out. This meant that, despite the large size of the quilt, I only had to wrangle at most half of the bulk of the quilt through my machine’s throat at any time. Trust me, that was plenty! Stopping the rest of the quilt from slithering off the table became the other big challenge.
Out of curiosity, I weighed the pins after I finished quilting – half a pound of metal! The quilt is heavy by itself, but that’s still a fair bit of extra weight to wrestle with.
I love how the back of a quilt shows off the quilting, this one is no exception! You can see the strip of “spare” hearts I pieced into the back – this is what happens when you start making a quilt without knowing how big it’s going to end up being! You can also see how the swirls “evolved” during the quilting process. Luckily, that’s not as obvious from the front!
I’m both proud and relieved to have finished this quilt, it was a first in many ways and taught me so much. Thankfully, my sister and brother-in-law seem thrilled with it too!