Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Christmas quilt

This is the Christmas present for my sister and her husband. A quilt! A BIG quilt! Can you tell what it is?

Maybe this helps? If you are geographically challenged, that's Denmark. In quilty pixellated form. Blimey that was a big job! I have never made a quilt this big before. And I couldn't even be certain if it was the right size, because I couldn't exactly ask about the size of their bed because this was a Secret Project.

The one I've been practically consumed by through all of August. I am very pleased with the result. Especially the colours. Which is funny because originally I wanted to use three other colours: orange, green and turquoise. But the only shop hereabouts, which sells Dylon dye, didn't have any of those colours (what are the odds!?) and buying them off the interwebs meant almost twice the cost + having to wait for the dye to be delivered.

In hindsight I don't think those original colours would have worked so well. Sometimes Making It Work turns out better than your original plan!

The fabrics I used are a combination of thrifted ones, gifted ones, some I bought and even one of my own designs.

I quilted it using lime green sashiko thread. Just that little bit of contrast from the green. And there was green in the fabric I used on the back too, almost the exact same one! The back is a quilt cover + pillow case which I took apart and then sewed together to just exactly fit the quilt (phew!).

There's no batting because they live in Napa and it sounds like it is pretty warm there so I figured that wouldn't be necessary. Plus, I actually like the feel of thin quilts..

Here's a corner of the back, with a wee tag I stitched on with the year. The quilt is self bound. I like that. It makes things a lot simpler. I like stitching the binding. It has its own rhythm, very calming.

Well, it would have been a lot more calming if I hadn't been finishing the binding IN Denmark! Several hours was spent behind closed doors to get it finished for 'Christmas'!

I don't think I realised just how much work goes into a big quilt like this - and if I made another one, it would probably be a bit quicker now that I know what works and what doesn't...

I've been trying to figure out how much time I spent on it...

The first thing I did was make the pixel grid.. a couple of hours for that maybe.. It had to be just so, you understand. The dyeing probably took a couple of hours (that's not including the time the fabric was actually IN the washing machine, because it's not like I sat there looking at it the whole time!). Then there was the ironing of all that fabric.. maybe 3 hours.

And the cutting of the aquares! Bloody hell. Atleast I got a square ruler the exact size I needed, so I didn't have to do any measuring and marking. And once I started cutting multiple layers that sped things along too. But still, the cutting was probably 6-9 hours..

In case you're curious, there's 23 x 24 squares in the quilt. That's a lot! :-)

Then laying it all out on the living room floor. It only just fit. That probably took about 8 hours because I had to double check (and triple check!) that everything was in the right place.

Slowly getting there...

And then it was ready to be sewn together. Well, once I had made a pile of each row, held together with elastic bands and tagged so I knew what was what. When I had sewn a handful of rows, I'd then sew those together and slowly, slowly the top came together. I have no idea how long that took - more than I expected it would! Maybe 12 hours?

Then a couple of hours to sort out the back. Another couple to pin front and back together. And then the marathon job of quilting it. Which was actually the thing I was looking forward to! Plus the binding... What can I say, I like hand sewing! :-)

Anyone keeping score how long this took? 50 hours? 60 hours? Crazy!

But worth I think! And I think they like it. :-)

Maybe next year I'll make one for us.....


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