Saturday, May 14, 2011
Bloggers' Quilt Festival
Well, it's that time of year again - Bloggers' Quilt Festival! Last year I wrote about the Argyle Quilt of Doom. This year, the Quilt Festival lined up with the completion of Plain Spoken III.
Plain Spoken III (I really need to come up with a more creative name than that) is the biggest project I have ever undertaken. It is massive. Before washing it measured approximately 112" by 110". That makes it larger than a king sized quilt.
I've written about it before, but just like the Argyle Quilt of Doom, Plain Spoken III was a wedding quilt created for some very special friends.
My husband Joel has known Jeremy and Breanne for a while longer than I have. He met them when he first moved to Calgary, and I met them about 3 years later when Joel and I stared dating. Jeremy and Breanne would probably tell you that their romance was a long and winding road full of it's fair share of bumps. However, I have never doubted their "rightness" as a couple since I've met them. They really are the kind of people that make you believe in soulmates.
So, after a 7(?) year courtship, when they finally tied the knot, I knew they needed something really special. This quilt is the first time I have made a quilt for someone and let them pick out the pattern, size AND fabrics. Originally they had chosen a queen size quilt, but I think most people would agree that a bigger quilt is always nicer. They chose the Plain Spoken pattern from the Modern Quilt workshop and we went browsing online for the right collection of colours. Jeremy is famous for his love of blue, so we chose 11 shades of blue beige and brown and ordered them up.
This quilt has been in progress since a week after their wedding. Oops! Living in Canada means a very limited supply of Kona cottons, and ordering from the States takes about 3 weeks to get here.
Once I had decided on a king sized quilt, the next challenge was how to make it on my regular sized machine. I devised a plan that included making it in 4 quarters to make it more manageable during the piecing stage. After the first 3 were complete I stalled. I started wondering how I was possibly going to get it quilted on my machine. I stalled and stalled some more. After about 3 months of stalling, my husband was trying to encourage me to at least get the top done. So I went back to work and pieced the last quarter of the top. All the while fretting about how I was possibly going to get it quilted.
Joel is the one who came up with the solution. Quilt it in two halves and then join them in the middle and quilt over the last tiny section in the middle. Genius!
I spent about 4 or 5 days quilting straight lines 1/4 inch apart. It was a workout to say the least. I chose to go with a medium-light grey because I couldn't decide on anything else. I love the dimension the grey adds to it!
In order to get the quilt ready to be attached in the middle, I decided which half would be the top and which the bottom. Once I had decided I quilted all the way to their respective edges. I then trimmed the batting and backing to match the edges of the quilt top and sewed the top and bottom pieces together using a regular seam that only went through the first two layers, leaving the backing free. Once that was done I trimmed one piece of backing as short as possible and folded a hem into the other, making it overlap the trimmed edge. I pinned the hemmed piece in place and stitched it down with the quilting thread. I them quilted in the blank space surrounding the seam and voila, a nearly invisible transition between the two pieces.
I don't know how clear that was, but if you want more instructions, let me know and I will either write up a little tutorial or send an email.
After all the quilting and binding was finished, I stitched up a little tag to add to the bottom corner. Just a simple dedication tag with their names and wedding date plus who it's from. I attached it to the quilt with my free motion foot.
It took me 3 different sessions over 3 days to get all the pictures I wanted of the quilt. I tried to get Joel and our roommate Thomas to hold it up, but it proved too big. And windy!!
The quilt was officially finished on Sunday, and the plan had been to give it to the happy couple of Sunday, but I couldn't find the time to drop it off. I was happy to have an extra few days to get more photographs.
Jeremy and Breanne finally received their quilt on Wednesday when we had them over for a tequila tasting night.
I'm glad to report that they love it! Oh, and that they have upgraded to a king bed so it's a good thing I made a king!