Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sunset Garden Quilt



These warm, rich colours are the ones I long to be surrounded by during our cooler winter days. It was the July school holidays and I was itching to sew, to create something from fabric. Digging deep into my stash, reliving memories of past quilts, I teamed up favourite warm prints with rich solids (some of which I had just bought on a Spotlight sale of $1 per solid fat quarter). There was a mix of organic and conventional cottons, shot cottons and plain solids - whatever I had on hand. Soon I had gathered enough for around 20 pairings (the lime green black moths on the left below was the only block to not make the final selection).




My primary inspiration was this quilt by Blue Elephant Stitches which took my eye quite some time ago. However I liked the idea of using all solid backgrounds and larger blocks. I set to work fiddling with size and construction ideas based on Blue Elephant Stitches' similar 'liberated stars' quilt here. I planned the sizing and cutting layouts to require only a fat quarter of each solid and a fabric piece 10" x 17 1/2" for each print/star fabric (you could cut  two 'stars' from a printed fat quarter). This allows for generous seams too.


My stars are neither 'wonky' nor precise sawtooth stars. I chose to enjoy the journey and eyeball much of my sewing, calling them 'relaxed' stars, while making sure all centre point 'V's' were complete, not clipped off, and ensuring a good margin of solid all the way around the star points for easy seams and later hand quilting. 


Using heavy 12wt cotton thread I machine quilted along the seam lines of each block to secure the quilt well. At this point I trimmed and added the binding, finishing the back by hand, so it was more manageable to hand quilt and preventing the batting leaving light cotton lint all over the dark fabrics.


Then began my favourite part - hand quilting in contrasting silk threads! A perfect winter slow sewing activity. Last year I had bought many Gutermann R 753 Buttonhole silks at greatly reduced prices on eBay, stock from a small  fabric shop which had closed. As far as I know these silks are no longer sold in Australia at all, which is quite sad. Magenta was the only colour I was missing for this quilt, so I used three strands of DMC stranded embroidery thread in that colour from my cross stitch collection of years/decades ago. Perle cotton would work just as well.


After trial and error I found it best to draw my quilting lines with a ruler and Sewline Air Erasable Fabric Pen, one small section at a time. The lines disappear somewhere between ten minutes and two days, depending largely on the amount of moisture in the air. This pen worked well, even on the darker colours, which were easier to work on by daylight. I reserved quilting the lighter colours for night times.




Monday morning I completed the quilting, Tuesday the quilt was washed, line dried and finished on low in the dryer to help soften and smooth the delicious crinkles.



Yesterday my youngest three volunteered to hold the quilt for me, for it is quite large. Each finished block is about 14 1/2" square with the complete quilt measuring 58" x 73" (147cm x 185cm).

The batting is Hobbs 100% Organic Cotton made in the USA. The backing is a combination of two Sarah Watson prints for Cloud 9 Fabrics, GOTS certified organic cotton. The feature print, one of my all time favourites, is Biology which is now sadly out of print. It is bordered by Wild Strawberry in Gray, part of Sarah's current Garden Secrets collection, which is thankfully available at Spotlight in Australia. For the binding I chose Butterflies in Navy from Geninne's Moody Blues collection, also now out of print but still available in some Spotlight stores, including our local store  :)



Late yesterday, just after sun down, I had a wonderful time taking photos of my Sunset Garden quilt, in my garden. I do believe the name suits it well. I have been wondering whether to keep this quilt or offer it for sale. This morning my husband voted that we keep it, even he likes the saturated colours! So keep it we will.  :)


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23 comments:

Julie said...

Such wonderfully rich colours. I am glad you're keeping it after all that work, and it will always be nice to use to brighten your home over future winters.

Janneke said...

This quilt is sooo very beautiful and bright colored and I think you are so right to keep it for yourself. Even if you have already many quilts in the house,yYou would regret it if you sold it. Even the back of the quilt is gorgeous, love it.

Hope said...

Oh my goodness, I love this quilt. All that colour and the wonderful contrast between stars and backgrounds, not to mention the quilting. Beautifully done.

flowersandhome said...

I enjoyed reading the whole story about how and why you chose the colors and decided on handquilting and so on. It would be hard to let this quilt go and sell it so I'm glad your husband also voted to keep it. You should enjoy this quilt for many winters to come. Thank you for sharing this story. It is so inspiring!

Patchwork and Play said...

What wonderful colours Karen- so rich and luscious! And your beautiful hand quilting really adds a special touch to it! Of course you should keep it! It will be loved for a long time, I think!

Susan said...

It's a lovely combination of fabrics and colours. Love the use of machine and hand quilting.....best of both worlds. I'm glad you're keeping it.

✿ chica said...

Adorei as escolhas que fizeste.Lindos trabalhos e belas fotos! bjs, chica

SarahZ said...

It really is a keeper, Karen!!! Geoff loves it too☺️

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What lovely rich colors! A wonderful quilt for fall/winter weather. As always your work is beautiful.

Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

the momma said...

I think this is my favorite of all your quilts, Karen! It is gorgeous. I love it!! I'm glad you're keeping it ~ I would have had a hard time explaining why I had to buy this quilt ;-)
I bet hand-quilting it was a dream.
(what size were your squares? I would have thought 5 inches, for a 14 1/2 in block - but you can't get a 5 in square from a fat eighth??)
stay cosy ~ Tracy

Ana Freire said...

And it looks beautiful!!!!
I love the colors! What a great work, Karen!!!
Leaving a kiss, and wishing you a happy August!
I'm on vacation by these days, but in the first days of September, I'm back again visiting the blogs...
See you soon! All the best!
Ana

Fun60 said...

I always enjoy reading about your reasons for choosing the colours and fabrics. Your choices are excellent once again.

Erin said...

Glad you're keeping it :-) Could tell you really wanted too. and looks so inviting

diane b said...

It is a beauty, nice warm vibrant colours.

Mary Col said...

Great pictures! Make one want to make a quilt right away!

Lisa Gordon said...

Karen, I think this may be the favorite for me. So hard to choose though, since all of your work is so beautiful. I just really love the rich and vibrant colors in this one, and I also love the idea of the "relaxed" stars.

Have a wonderful weekend!

CountryMum said...

This quilt is just stunning. I love the vibrancy of the fabrics you have chosen.

Cathy said...

Oh my goodness, Karen, these quilts are stunning! The one with the rich colors made me gasp as your photos flowed across my computer screen.

Dirk Rosin said...

very nice :-)

Carla said...

This is amazing! Simply gorgeous ; )

DeborahGun said...

Everything about this quilt is so beautiful Karen. My youngest was just looking at the pictures and said 'Mum, can you make one just like that!' You put such love and care into all the details - I am so glad you decided to keep it :-)

Lucy said...

Beautiful quilt. Love your quilting. The visible stitches add a lot to the quilt.

Liz said...

It's a fabulous quilt, Karen! I think I would have kept it too! I love the bright, happy colours. You've inspired me to get sewing & quilting again after a 20+ year hiatus!

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