Quilt finished at long last!

It has been a long time coming, but toward the end of my first burst of holiday time I finally got a proverbial wriggle on and made some serious quilt progress. I have created a series of blocks that each showcase leaves from a specific eucalypt, and embroidered the name of the eucalypt onto the block with eucalyptus-dyed silk thread. Who knew I had it in me?  I thought I had decided against embroidery as a child, never to go back.  I tracked the old posts on this project because I wondered just how long I have been working on this quilt (or not working on it, which is the routine case, of course!)  Just between you and me, this post in July 2013 is my first intimation on the blog that this project was in my mind.  Blocks sitting waiting for courage here.  Blocks finished here.  Sashing attached with help from a visiting friend here. Dyeing the border here.  Back finished here.  Finally, it was assembly time!  Here is the back, pinned out flat on the floor, wrong side up.

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I love the wrong side.  Of most things. The back is made of a mix of recycled, inherited and thrifted fabric.  Next, the minimal batting option for women of a certain age in a warm climate: an ancient flannellette sheet, well past its prime.  It’s hard to tell it was ever blue now.

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The top, pinned out over the rest, is made of stash black fabrics and a mix of recycled and thrifted fabric again:

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All layers pinned together, I decided on machine quilting, coaxed by a friend. The quilting part has never gripped me.  My last quilt was tie-quilted and not really ‘quilted’ with stitching much at all. Clearly the patchwork is my main interest, and the dyeing, of course.  Then, time to make the binding.  There were plenty of leftovers.  I made metres of binding and followed the instructions in Block Party by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks.   As usual, with less precision than the authors suggest might be warranted.  Just the same… here it is, kept tidy until stitching-on time…  Second Skin was right behind the ironing board, and seemed perfect for multiple reasons…

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I do understand bias binding, and there are places for it, but I can’t see the point when binding a straight edge, so I went with on-the-grain binding and contrary to the instructions, sewed seams straight across at 90 degrees (okay, it creates less bulk to use 45 degree seams–that part, I concede). I made an exception when I had a moment of curiosity and finished with a lovely 45 degree seam–seen under sewing-machine-mood-lighting below.  Because who needs seams that match?  Maybe next time I’ll give all the binding that treatment, you just never know.  I followed the instructions for mitred corners.  Simple and effective!  Much better than my own past efforts at reverse engineering without instructions.  Done!

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Apart, that is, from the metres and metres of hand stitching required on the back.  And here it is, midsummer!

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But all such jobs come to an end, and now, finally, I have a quilt I love.  I am surprised by how much I like the embroidery.  It just glowed in the sunlit window the day I tried for pictures.

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I like all those blocks with their Latin names and motley prints.

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And I like its all-over-leafiness and the nicely bound edge.  I expect this quilt will be a companion for many years to come, and this is such a happy thing!

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Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

24 responses to “Quilt finished at long last!

  1. Submarine Bells

    Magnificent! Your quilts are absolutely glorious! I look forward to seeing it “in person” sometime so that I can admire your handiwork. 🙂

    It’s almost enough to inspire me to try something similar. *Almost*. Because I know, from long and bitter experience, that the level of detail-oriented precision that quilt assembly requires is beyond me, and what I’d wind up with would no doubt look more like this:


  2. Susan

    A ‘happy thing’ is right!!! Everything about it is perfect! I had no idea a quilt was in the offing so had to go back and check your older blogs. It is always a PROCESS 🙂 I really, really do like your embroidery. Nice work, it makes/finishes the piece nicely. YEA!!


  3. WOW!!
    Incredibly beautiful!


  4. hours of satisfaction and entertainment when contentedly awake under it! it’s a beautiful thing. I saw an article about a quilt made from a collection of a woman’s deceased husband’s shirts (he had a thing about lovely, mostly striped shirts) it wasn’t quite a traditional quilt, and buttons and other shirt parts were used to great effect, in fact two were made, for his two daughters. the concept of a quilt offers great scope for narrative, I think. story here http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/24/dads-spirit-warms-us-in-our-comfort-blankets


    • Thanks, Jane! I will look forward to reading when I am back to a computer… I agree, textiles carry so many stories and quilts allow them to come together to tell new stories in different contexts…


    • Dear Jane, thanks so much for linking me up to this story. Now I am back in www-land, I have been able to read it. I loved it! I made a quilt with 900 3 cm squares in it years ago… I began hand piecing when I was in primary school, with my grandmother’s scraps and some from my mother, so the quilt was full of memories of things that each of them had made, some of them for me. There were scraps from my primary school book bag… all kinds of wonderment.


  5. Congratulations, it’s a splendid, lovely quilt. Great idea (and execution) with the embroidered names. Had a good giggle with my morning coffee: “women of a certain age in a warm climate” – wouldn’t feel spoken too at all. ha.


  6. What a stunning quilt. It is beautiful. So much hard work for a perfect result.

    Liked by 1 person

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