Three weeks ago I was doing a very happy dance having just finished the top of my Cottage Garden quilt. This is the one from a book of the same name by Kathryn Whittingham I thoroughly enjoyed making this quilt, embroidering the blocks and piecing it together, it just worked beautifully! The book is available from her website, Patchwork Katy, and she ships abroad now too!
I rashly decided it deserved to be hand quilted. I say rashly, as the last quilt I hand quilted was the Down the Rabbit hole quilt, a lovely quilt, but a huge quilt which took forever and I was left telling myself I’d never hand quilt again…I’ve obviously got a short term memory issue!
I backed the quilt with the same neutral oak leaf design which I used for the light borders, of course I didn’t quite buy enough so I add a strip of ‘piano keys’ down the middle…well I would have had enough if I’d cut the sashing down the length of the fabric rather than the width! I used a batting which was in my stash, I thought I’d ordered my usual hobbs 80/20, but this feels a little more man-made than that, so I’m not sure what kind it is. Which is a shame as it’s actually lovely to hand quilt and seems to have a bit more loft.
I decided to use Gutermann Sulky thread and ordered three variegated ones and an ivory one. In the end I’ve just used the variegated ones and they’re lovely to stitch with. I wasn’t sure about the two darker ones at first as they look quite orange, but they actually work really well as the pink of the quilt is quite a corally sort of pink.
This week I lost my sewing room for a few days as Helen came home from the Army and installed herself in there with various sewing projects. I decided it would be a good time to start quilting. I set myself up on the landing with my big comfortable purple arm chair, a footstool and a good light. A wooden sewing tray I bought in Hexham proved ideal for keeping everything to hand. I could sit and chat to Helen whilst she sewed on my machine and I quilted.
I started off in the centre, just stitching quarter of an inch in from the seam. I had already an idea for how I would stitch the squares and pinwheels, but I was stuck with the red churn dash blocks, in the end I posted on a hand quilting facebook site for ideas, many were a lot more complex than I wanted, particularly as it is only 6″ square. One lady suggested two concentric circles and that’s what I did, which fits in nicely with my squares and pinwheels. For these I had the idea of stitching a leaf or petal shape on each one, it would be easier than stitching round each square and I felt it fitted in well with the garden theme. Well I have to say, I think it’s worked brilliantly!! I love the little flowers and leaves…
I have surprised myself this week, as I’ve really enjoyed hand-quilting this, to the extent that I’ve done very little else, hence the lack of posts this week! I’m still not sure about the size of my stitches – I feel they’re too big for normal quilting but too small for big stitch quilting! My stitches wouldn’t win any prizes but I’m happy with how it’s turning out.
I’ve already quilted over three-quarters of the main design! I’m still pondering how to quilt the border though. I like the idea of a scallop shape along the 2″ wide cream sashing,meeting every second piano key. My thought initially was to do the leaf pattern where the scallops met the piano keys, but really this would end up just being a zig-zag of leaves. At the moment I’m wondering about a tulip sort of shape every other scallop with maybe just a small circle in between…any suggestions gratefully received, though it has to be simple!!!
Another question from those who’ve done scrappy quilts! Thinking ahead to binding…I don’t have enough of anything to use just one fabric to bind, I could buy some more but I feel a scrappy border would work.I have enough of the two dark olive greens to do a scrappyish border, I wondered about also adding squares of the dark red in between the greens. ..but how long should the green strips be to still have a scrappy border look
This hand quilt-a-long is organised by Kathy, it’s a great way to keep motivated on your project, we just post every three weeks. Please follow the links to see much more hand-quilted inspiration.
I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday.