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Sunday, April 13, 2014

A week of quilting

Last week was quilting. I had intended to post this in instalments, but the quilt developed its own momentum, and here is the account of the whole week.

On Monday I set off to Hettie's Patch with my hexagon patchwork bedcover neatly ironed, to get some wadding, backing and advice on creating my quilt.

I ended up with polyester/wool wadding and a slightly-marbled neutral cotton backing. I had intended to buy enough quilting clips to hold my (vast) edges together, but the staff at Hettie's Patch insisted that this was unnecessary, and that glueing was the way to go, so I ended up with a can of spray glue instead.

My feeling is that this was a mistake. Although I followed their instructions about laying out the fabric, folding back, spraying and smoothing, the size of the quilt, the fact that I had no table big enough and needed to use the floor, made for difficulty.

I know it would have been difficult anyway, but I think I'd have been better off with the clips - and/or safety pins.


I was determined to quilt this myself - but did find it difficult and daunting. On Tuesday I began in the centre, intent on stitching along the edge of the black hexagons. I managed three rows in the centre, then switched to stitching every second black row.
It wasn't the thickness that defeated me, but the weight pulling on the needle and the difficulty of manoeuvring the fabric along the angles of the hexagons.



It took me all Tuesday to quilt the hexagons. On Wednesday we had friends to lunch, so I got little quilting done, but re-did a section or so where the tension had been loose.
On Thursday, I straightened, readjusted and pinned the border sections. I  released the fabric from the glue to get it smooth and even. I then ruled a starting line using an old 2 metre-long window-opening rod and a chalk pencil. Once I had the starting line, I could quilt in straight rows around each side.

Originally, I had intended to quilt the edges by hand in red and purple perle thread.  I decided, however, that the edges would be better without colour and a lot quicker by machine.

At the end of Thursday I had something that resembled a quilt and only the edging left to do!

On Friday I cut into strips the fabric I had left from the purple hexie centres.  I attached these to each of the four sides on the inside of the quilt. Again, I had originally intended to hand stitch the edging down, but could see no real advantage. I also recall seeing an example of someone using a decorative stitch on a quilt border, so decided to give it a go.


I chose a stitch that seemed to complement the hexagons and was fairly simple. It worked well, although again, the weight of the quilt made it difficult to prevent the stitches distorting slightly as can be seen at the left hand end.



That left the task of checking all the stitching and cutting all the threads.


On Friday afternoon the finished quilt went on our bed. The hexagons have dimension and the weight has proved  perfect for our autumn nights.


As a final touch, this morning, after a visit to Spotlight to buy a permanent fabric marker, I added the label my friend Vivienne sent as part of my birthday present earlier this year. I have called the quilt Re-collections, to capture the sense of memories in the quilt as well as the use of fabric and ideas collected over many years.

Thanks to all my friends and family who have encouraged and supported me through what for me has been a large project with quite a few unknowns. I wouldn't have made it without you all.






8 comments:

Lyn Warner said...

Congratulations on completing your big quilt! Enjoy sleeping under all those good memories.

Jillian said...

Thanks Lyn. It IS very cosy!

margaret said...

this looks amazing and you have done it so quickly, looks so at home on your bed. wonder what your next project will be

Jillian said...

Thanks Margaret. I am planning on smaller projects for a bit!

katherine said...

It is beautiful and great that you have it ready for the cold nights that are now here. Although if you listened to our local weather last night on tv you would have heard we had a top of 20 overnight and 31 during the day. Certainly didn't feel that warm lol.

Jillian said...

That's. Astounding, Katherine. We have had warmish nights and mild days - but not that warm! The quilt is doing well at the moment, but won't be warm enough for winter.

Monica said...

Brilliant, Jillian, absolutely brilliant. You have motored through this project, undaunted, and it came out beautifully. Fantastic work. I bet you are appreciating it every day now.

Jillian said...

Thanks so much, Monica. I must say the quilt is just great on the bed. I'm glad I went with the wool-poly mix. It is cosy and easy to adjust without it sliding around. I've been interested to read that others share my difficulties with weight in quilting. Love being part of a community of stitchers.