Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Finally, a finished quilt


Darlings, I've finished it. I started this quilt in July 2012 when the Olympics were on. Three months later I'd pieced together the quilt top and had moved on to hand-quilting it...and then I got horribly stuck. When I'd started the hand-quilting I'd made my rows of stitching less than 1/4" apart and it gradually dawned on me that it would take me hundreds of hours to be able to finish it.


While I'd found the white borders around the central medallion fun to quilt, my enthusiasm wained when I began quilting the borders which frame the piecing and I felt overwhelmed by how much work it would require to finish it...so I left it carefully folded away in a bag under our bed for nearly around ten months. It was only when my daughter asked if I'd mind finishing it for her 12th birthday (having missed her last birthday with it) that I knew I had to start work on it again. I considered unpicking all my stitches and re-quilting it with lines of quilting spaced further apart so that it would be a quicker process. The fact that I didn't do this is in no small part thanks to the encouragement not to do so that I received here on my blog and over on Instagram (most especially, Helen, who was particularly forceful - I'm grateful for this as it would have felt like a compromise after I'd done it). Once I'd started hand-quilting it for the second time, I actually fell in love with the process all over again and it's been a totally enjoyable experience. With a birthday deadline to meet, I've stitched it nearly every evening and every weekend for the last month, staying up many nights until the early hours of the morning watching films on Netflix in order to get it finished. Such fun - I'm bereft now it's all over.


I find it an impossible task to photograph something as big as a quilt (and have much admiration for others who do it so well) and pictures that show what it looks like as a whole seem to lose the feel of the quilt as the moment I photograph it from a distance the beautiful Liberty prints are lost. My husband tried to help me to photograph it outside, but the colours got lost in the light, which is strange when it's gloomy today. Any tips for photographing whole quilts?


If you're interested in seeing any of the stages this quilt went through to make it you can find them here:

Cutting the squares which make up the rest of the quilt
Deciding the squares were too big and so resizing them all (!)


But really, a finished quilt is not finished until it has been photographed with a cat on it.


I could just gobble up her tiny cuteness. This cat has the most alarming ability to make fabric, or maybe it's just my sewing, look an awful lot more lovely. I may start getting her to sit next to me when I'm modelling any dressmaking in the future.

The danger of taking so long to finish a quilt is that you can fall out of love with the fabrics. I feel grateful that my daughter still adores these Liberty prints, because there's another quilt beneath my bed that's still waiting to be finished and I'm sad to say that I don't love the fabrics in the same way that I did when I first started the project. Maybe if I leave it there for twenty years I'll come full circle?

I'm now looking forward to wrapping this up, ready for my daughter's birthday. Although I've just realised I still have to make a quilt patch for it.


I have several things stacked up to be worked on next: one is to start my next paper piecing wall hanging, which some of you recently helped me choose the colours for; another is a jacket made from the delicious boiled wool from Dragonfly fabrics which featured in my last post; and then there's the reality knit from Miss Matatabi, which I'm still trying to decide whether to make into a blanket or a dress.

Thank you for all your encouragement with this quilt. I'm ashamed to say that, without it, I may have taken the easier route and machine quilted it.

Florence x

38 comments:

  1. Florence, this quilt is the most stunning and beautiful I've ever seen!
    The subtle background with all that Liberty goodnesses, OM!
    Off right now, to check the past posts about this beauty. Sometimes , what takes longer gets better over time :) xx

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  2. This is so lovely! And your cat is such a sweet model. :)

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  3. It looks lovely! The detail and the hand-quilting are amazing... looks like it really must have taken ages! I think maybe you could hang the quilt out in the garden and photograph it like that?

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    1. I think that's my problem - I don't actually have a washing line - maybe I need one just for quilt display purposes ;)

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  4. It's beautiful Florence. Well done for continuing with the hand-quilting. I'm sure it will be treasured for years to come x

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  5. You did an amazing job on this one. It is stunning!

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  6. Absolutley stunning. The design is magnificent. I find the only way I can photograph whole quilts is on the bed or hanging outdoors but sometimes waiting on the right light can take days, if not longer. Even then, as you said, so much detail gets lost in the photos that it is lovely to have the close up shots that really showcase the fabrics and the design. You have a darling little cat.

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  7. It is absolutely gorgeous and well worth the hours it took you. I do love hand quilting - far more than machine quilting - but there is no getting away from the fact that it takes a really looooong time. Next time I am determined to try the quilt as you go technique.

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  8. Oh it is truly beautiful. I adore the subtle, muted colours and the central cartouche. So easy on the eye. It must feel so good to have finished it.

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  9. It's beautiful! Congrats with a great achievement! :)

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  10. What a textural delight, wow, amazing work Florence! So many stitches

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  11. gorgeous!!! and look at those corners! remind me to never show you my quilt corners!

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  12. What a beautiful quilt! You're quilts are the reason I forced myself to learn quilting!

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  13. I love that you started during the Olympics - what a huge achievement! x

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  14. Agh, so so lovely. Worth every minute of work because you've made a genuine heirloom treasure rather than just a nice quilt. x

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  15. Just gorgeous! I love the liberty prints, and your hand quilting is amazing! Your daughter is sure to love it for many years to come!

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  16. Just wow! No wonder this took you so long, it looks amazing!!

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  17. Oh it's beautiful Florence! I'm so glad you persevered, it will always be priceless to your little miss. Amazing work as always!

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  18. Oh wow Florence, it's just wonderful. I remember when you started it all those months ago. Your daughter is going to be so thrilled and delighted with it. Congratulations on a spectacular hand quilted finish (always my favourite) and here's to many more hand quilted quilts in the future.

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  19. Now you're making me feel guilty Florence. Your quilt is a true heirloom and your daughter is so fortunate to be the possessor of such a beautiful quilt. I have been hand appliqueing Kim McLean's Princess Feather for two years now and I haven't even completed the second block! Thank you for your inspiration to persevere.

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    1. That sounds like an even more intense project - do go on - I'm so pleased that I did! x

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  20. That quilt is SO beautiful Florence, truly! And made even more special because it's for your daughter. I love making things for my little beauty. She gets more than I do, but I love seeing her face when she's got something funky or frilly to wear or play with. It makes the long hours and sore back all worth it, don't you think?

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  21. Congratulations! That quilt is simply gorgeous, and your daughter will surely treasure it. Well done!

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  22. Wow that is amazing. I have never made a quilt, I am too impatient. Jo x

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  23. That is such a beautiful quilt, I love the design and the fabrics.

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  24. This is so beautiful, I am sure your daughter will love it especially as it was a labour of love.

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  25. It's so unbelievably beautiful!

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  26. it's gorgeous! And I admire the patience it must have took to hand quilt it!!

    Precious.

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  27. It's truly inspiring that you finished this quilt. Both because you hand quilted it and because you found the motivation to work at it again after stopping. This must have required lots of will power and I love that you are sharing this story with us. Thank you.

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  28. Wow Florence, this is wonderful. Such patience and well done you for not unpicking it. Somehow I'm sure that would have annoyed you in the long run. It really is truly stunning, lucky girl x

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  29. Such a beautiful quilt, all that time spent making it is so worth it!

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  30. Hand quilting is just so much nicer. It's true! Well done. I give all my quilts away- it will be nice for you to see this every day and enjoy it.

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  31. it is truly inspirational.love the design and it is also comforatble

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  32. It's really beautiful, Florence; what a labour of love! On the photography question, I always find my colours are better if I photograph on a bright day but inside in a North facing room. I have been known to spread the whole quilt on the floor and stand on the dining table to get a good overall view filling the frame. Not sure any of this is very scientific though.

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  33. I adooooore it!!!! Really amazing work and great colour combination - congrats!!! <3

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  34. Thank you so much for all your lovely, lovely comments on my daughter's quilt. x

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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