A year and a quarter in the making, and it’s finally finished. If ever a quilt was to be my magnum opus, I think this would be it. Whether it can claim the title of the biggest quilt I’ve ever made is a little uncertain; my silk quit isn’t as long, but it is wider and I haven’t quite got to the point of getting out the tape measure and doing the maths to be absolutely certain.
What is absolutely certain is that this is the biggest quilt with this degree of piecing, the silk quilt basically being rows of 10 giant squares, and the biggest quilt that I have ever quilted on my little sewing machine. Looking at the quilt and then looking at the sewing machine I rather feel like I owe it a service as a sort of spa break for sewing machines so it can recover from all the hard work.
In size it is big enough to wrap around a tree, big enough to completely cover me (and I’m 6’0”), and the sort of size that can see Kitty, Pip, Elma and me all sat on the sofa and all nicely tucked up underneath it. It’s going to be a popular quilt come winter, and because it’s new and shiny it’s my favourite now – though I’m having to fight H for it of an evening.
The backing is a batik print that came from Bramble Patch. If I’d been more organised at the time I’d have written down what it was but I think I was just too captivated by it to pay much attention to important things such as labels. I’m pretty sure it’s a Makower Fabrics Island Batik print, the imaginatively named 6/550 As I said, the quilt is massive, so I pieced the backing by buying 3 metres of batik, cutting one metre off, dividing that in two vertically and sewing that on the side of the remaining 2 metre section to give a 2 metre by 67ish inch backing section. It was pretty much exactly the same width as the quilt so I tried to be as careful as possible when lining up front and back but I did end up needing to piece in a little strip a couple of inches wide on one corner. Fortunately in such a busy fabric it’s not noticeable unless you know what you’re looking for.
The binding is a sea of calm compared to the riot of the back, it’s a Moda essentials dots print, and I love how it works as a soft companion to the front and then a crazy vibrant contrast to the back.
As well as winning the prize for biggest every quilt quilted by my machine, it’s also the first time I’ve done more than just an all over stipple of one variation or another; the first time I’ve really tried to match the quilting to the quilt. I started with the blue zig zags; in the piecing they make the net, but for the quilting they were waves. Each line has three rippling lines in varigated blue thread (YLI Sea Mist) so for me they’re fairly densely quilted and oh are there many hours of working the quilt through the machine in there.
For the inner triangles I went with a much lighter touch, and a different colour (yellow varigated). I wanted them to be under the water; the little swirls and eddys and occasional air bubbles so you can imagine a fish, or perhaps a teeny tiny submarine wiggling from one side of the quilt to another.
I love the way it turned out; while I was quilting it I seriously began to question whether I actually like the quilting part of it and thought wistfully of long arm quilting machines; it’s a serious upper body work out hauling that much fabric around and I am very determined that the next quilt I make will be smaller. Much smaller.
Famous last words I know, but I do have a plan for the next one, and a lovely little stash of Liberty scraps too!