It’s time for a very happy dance! I have finally finished my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt!
I started this quilt back in January 2017, it was a BOM by Sarah Fielke, my main aim when I signed up for it was to learn how to do needle-turn applique. It was great for that, Sarah gave excellent instructions and videos on how to do it. It’s a gorgeous design and I finally finished it in about March 2018. This is the quilt just as I had finished piecing it, it’s lying on the frame of the long arm quilter.
I had decided mid way through the quilt that there was too much hand sewing on this quilt to turn round and send it off to be machine quilted. It’s a big quilt, about 96″ square, so there’s no way I could quilt it on my machine either. I decided I would hand quilt it…
….there were several times over the last 18 months when I questioned that decision!! However, I did take it to a long arm quilter to be machine basted, I just didn’t have the floor space to spread it out on, so at least it was securely tied for the months I took to hand quilt it. She used a very fine quilting thread and although you can still see the lines at the moment, I’m happy they will disappear after a wash or two.
I’ve learnt a lot over the 18 months it’s taken me to quilt it, to be honest if it wasn’t for Kathy’s Hand Quilt-a-long then I think it would still be in a heap somewhere. Just knowing I had to write a post about my progress meant I at least spent an evening working on it, so huge thanks to Kathy!
My quilting has improved a bit during the 18 months, I’m very glad I chose a very busy backing fabric as you can’t actually see very easily where I’ve missed stitches or they’re not very even.
I tried various tools – I tried metal thimbles, leather pads, wrap-around thimbles, I eventually settled on a Clover silicone thimble which Kate kindly sent me, together with some Birch needles which also saw me through the project. My final bit of quilting having finished the big border, was to return to the centre, I’d not finished the Dresden circle in the middle. I quilted a daisy sort of shape along the spokes.
Having finally reached the end of all the quilting, I still had to bind it. My original plan was to bind it with the backing fabric, I knew I had enough left. When I laid it next to the quilt though I felt it was too busy. I started playing with pieces from my stash, in particular the pieces left from making the quilt. I felt it would be better with a green binding, I tried the mid green first, which wasn’t quite right, then I found a small amount of a dark sage green. It looked perfect and there was just enough.
It took me a couple of evenings to stitch the binding down – I use 2.25″ strips, folded in half. I machine stitch the front and then hand stitch the back.It takes a while to hand stitch the back but it’s the only way I get a neat finish.
I also remembered my plan to use buttons for the rabbit’s eyes, instead of trying to applique tiny circles…
The last thing to do was a label. Last year Sarah Fielke (the designer) came over to the UK for some workshops. I went to one of her talks and asked her to sign a piece of fabric. I then back-stitched over her signature and added my initials and the date before stitching it to the back of the quit.
I’m really pleased with my quilt, I love the design and the colours have worked out pretty well. It’s a learning piece when it comes to hand-quilting, there’s good bits and not so good bit’s! I can’t say I’m a great lover of hand quilting at the moment, but perhaps it was too big a project for a first time in 25 years. It’s so big that my family couldn’t actually hold it right out without fear of it trailing on the ground! What I can say is it hasn’t put me off and I’m already considering hand-quilting another quilt!
I’ve already planned my next project- but you’ll have to wait another three weeks to find out. All I will say is I have show it before 🙂
Hand Quilt Along Links
This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another. If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.
Kathy, Margaret, Emma, Tracy, Deb, Susan, Nanette, Edith, Sharon, Karrin, Gretchen, Kathi, Bella, Daisy and Connie
I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the link for more hand-stitching inspiration.