Monday, August 5, 2013

One More Finished Top -- The Diary Quilt

This quilt is probably the most emotionally significant project I've done to date, and likely will remain so for a very long time. It is the second project I ever started, with fabric purchased in March 2011, and the first block pieced (by hand) that April.

Today, August 2013, I took the final stitch (by machine) on the quilt top. Two years, four months. That's a long time in the making, and it's still to be quilted, but I need to buy backing fabric first and then work up the nerve to quilt it myself, or send it to my favorite long-arm quilter.

Each block tells a story. The center squares of each were pieced by hand, because I didn't get my machine until August 2012, and by then, I'd finished the blocks. Then I added setting triangles, to turn them on point and enlarge the quilt; I did that by machine. For a long time I had a pile of blocks sitting and waiting, while in the meantime I worked on quilts for my boys. The Comic Book Quilt for my oldest; then the Legend of Zelda's Cat Quilt for my middle son, and most recently the Mario Quilt for my youngest. With that last quilt top finally done, I was once again free to return to my project instead of one of theirs.

I tackled the most difficult chore of assembling my first "on point" quilt. Much trial and error, terrific use of the seam ripper, and finally I had all the rows together in order and the top emerged. Whew! It wasn't easy. I messed up, a lot. But I did it, and turned to my stash to figure out borders. Now that I was so close, I wanted it done, and I didn't want to spend extra money if I didn't have to.

blocks, with sashing added, rows laid out

the top before any borders
MUCH trial and error to get the rows correct,
as I originally added the triangles flush with the wrong side of half the rows
I added the top row of straight-set blocks, to incorporate an antique block (by creating additional blocks that mimic the antique one). I edged the whole entire top in the black & white background print, then added a blue inner border from stash fabric from another project and then I planned and plotted. I wanted scrappy, but planned. I didn't want the borders to look like they were thrown together at the last minute, even though they were.

side view of the top row
the center off white/pink block is an antique
the rest were made to mimic that
A friend suggested I do evenly spaced hour glass blocks, in scrappy fabrics from the quilt top. I kept seeing in my head pinwheels instead of hour glasses, so worked up a Piano Key/Spaced Squares border on my EQ7 software. Then I cut all my scraps into the length  I needed (the unfinished width of the border) and into 2 different sized widths to give a more interesting look to the border. I cut pinwheel pieces, and sewed those. And then yesterday I finally worked on that border and it all came together.

Today I measured and figured and measured and figured and swiped one more fat quarter from my stash so I could do an outer border in the same solid navy as the inner border, so that the piano key/scrappy border would seem to float the way the blocks do. More cutting and sewing and measuring and pinning and sewing and was done.

Checked it on the bed to be sure it was really, truly the right size. It is.

on our bed, with each border falling just where I hoped it would
(color is more accurate in the previous photo taken outdoors)
And so, at long last, the quilt top that started as a pile of carefully chosen fabric in March 2011 is now a finished top, waiting on backing and quilting, as of today, August 5, 2013. I am still in awe......and hopeful it won't be another two years before the quilting is done!