Wedding Knot: Love is the Tie that Binds – Part III

Hi habibis!  It’s Christmas Eve – Advent has flown!

Today, for our final Advent post, I’ll share the quilting for R and M’s wedding quilt, “Wedding Knot: Love is the Tie that Binds.”  See parts I and II here and here.

The quilting was by far the hardest part, on my little Kenmore.  As I mentioned before, I’d decided to downsize to a queen sized quilt instead of a king.   It’s still the largest quilt I’ve ever made. (Previously the largest quilt I’d ever made was their engagement quilt.) Here’s the thing: it’s still too large. I don’t have the space for a queen sized quilt. I’m sewing on a Kenmore on my childhood desk. That was a headache.

This is the quilt I’ve been practicing my FMQ for. I knew I wanted to do wavy lines on it. I tried different things on different doll quilts to see what I liked, and I settled on vertical wavy lines going down the “columns” formed within the pattern.

I started with the center and quilted wavy lines in gold thread. I quilted three lines going all the way from the top to the bottom.

Next I should have gone to the right and done the same, but I thought about it and changed my mind about the design. I decided I wanted to quilt the rectangles in matching colors. I started with the gold and quilted each section of the two gold rectangles with three wavy lines. I love how it looks where I turned the corners.

Next I did the same for the green rectangles. I did wavy lines on the remaining background cream fabric, in cream. (Now I wish I’d done the center in cream thread instead of gold, but the gold adds extra interest.)  I did the same around the borders.

I’ve seen quilters talk about how the quilting adds movement to their quilts, and that’s how I feel about this.

I love the look of it, but the quilting was problematic.  My skin is drier in the cooler weather so my hands got all scratched up from the pins.  Also, I had a lot of issues with bunching. My pinning wasn’t great. (My pinning is never perfect, especially on larger quilts.) The way I quilted it – sections of different rectangles at a time, which overlap – exacerbated that. Some of the cream sections bunched up against gold sections that I’d already quilted.  Just imagine how quickly I could have finished his quilt if I’d just done wavy lines across the stripes! But then it would be less meaningful.

Had I just quilted vertical wavy lines from the center outward I wouldn’t have these bunching problems, and maybe I wouldn’t have scratched my hands up so much, but I like this quilting better even with the bunching. I tried to compensate for the bunching by pushing the folds flat and sewing over them. I prefer that to the fabric being raised. Other people probably wouldn’t. Either way I get that it looks messy. (Actually I think sewing over the folds looks pretty cool and I’d like to experiment with that in a quilt sometimes.) None of my quilts will ever be perfect and I don’t mind that.  I obviously need to work on my FMQ, but as frustrating as working with such a large quilt was, I was pretty happy with the FMQ experience given my limitations.

The quilting took me approximately 10 hours.  I don’t know if that’s normal for such a big quilt, but I did simple FMQ.

I finished the quilt with binding made from the top green fabric.  I made R and M a tag with their names, the name of the quilt, and the date of their wedding.  Putting the binding on and sewing it down took approximately 6 hours.  Making the tag and sewing it on took 30 minutes, so the quilt took a grand total of 32 and a half hours.

Here are some pictures of the quilting.  I don’t have a picture of the finished quilt because it’s too big for my apartment.  Maybe my brother can take one for me.  I think he and M really loved the quilt, especially M, and her mom even said the same thing.  I gave it to them at their wedding brunch so I could see them open it.

Quilting in progress:

Close ups of the quilting:

Don’t the corners look cool?

The quilting from the back:

Thank you for joining me all Advent for these posts!  Thanks to Nikki and T-Rex, my guest posters!  I’ll go back to a more limited posting schedule soon – I’ll have a couple of extra posts in the next week, and then beginning January 6th (the Epiphany! the last day of Christmas in the church calendar) I’ll resume my regular Tuesday posting schedule.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the Advent calendar posts.  Enjoy any holidays that you celebrate – Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa – and have a safe and happy New Year!

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Wedding Knot: Love is the Tie that Binds – Part II

Welcome to part II of the quilt I made for my brother R and his new wife M for their wedding.  See part I here.

Yesterday I posted about the cutting and piecing, which were pretty straightforward.  Today I’ll address the process of sandwiching the quilt.

The quilt assembly was a rather more difficult process than the cutting and piecing just because the quilt is so big. I used my parents’ dining room table instead of the ping pong table, but even with the larger table it wasn’t ideal. I realized that I hadn’t done a great job when I started quilting and the fabric bunched a lot. It was just difficult with so large a quilt.

So here’s the top of the quilt on my couch:

Here’s the backing fabric, laid out on my brother’s bed at my parents’ house.  Look how much fabric there is!

In the sandwiching process:

Here’s a picture of it hanging from my parents’ balcony.

One of my guild friends recommended that I keep track of how much time it takes me to make my quilts, which I did for both my magnum opus and this. These first three stages – cutting, piecing, and quilt assembly – took me 16 hours.

Come back tomorrow for Travel Tuesday and on Wednesday to see the quilting for the Wedding Knot quilt.

R and M’s Wedding Quilt: “Wedding Knot – Love is the Tie that Binds” – Part I

Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent! Christmas is literally around the corner, a mere four days away. Last week was Gaudete Sunday, which is Latin for Rejoice! We had a pink candle, to represent joy, and my family was certainly in joyful mode in celebration of R and M’s wedding. This week we’re back to purple, for waiting. We’re waiting for Jesus’s birth. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to wait, though! I have about a dozen presents to finish (I know!) and one more day of work before Z and I travel. But Advent is also about preparation. I’ll be doing a lot of that! I’m afraid I haven’t had a very contemplative or reflective Advent. This year it felt more like barreling towards Christmas. I’ve enjoyed it, though. Does that count?

Anyway, I’ve finally come to R and M’s wedding present. I could have shared it earlier in the week but I like to make my Sunday Advent posts extra special to reflect the specialness of the day. So I saved it. 🙂

R and M got engaged a little over two years ago. For their engagement/Christmas 2012 I made them this quilt.  I used Path to the Altar blocks in their school colors, green and white, and their favorite colors, pink and red. I love it and I know they do, too. However, as happens with scrappy quilts (my favorite to make), it’s a little busy. Okay, a lot busy. I’ve since gotten a much better sense of M’s decorating style, which is very classic.  She’s got great taste; their apartment is far better decorated than most people in their mid-20s manage, I can assure you.

I was on the look out for patterns. I saw this one in Keepsake Quilting last year. It’s called Josephine’s Knot. I didn’t love the kit they’d put together (I liked the color combination – reds and blacks – but not the actual fabrics) so I only bought the pattern.

I then started thinking about fabric choices and I finally settled on emerald green, cream, and gold. Classic, pretty, goes with pretty much any decor. (I may have been inspired by the marble floor of my neighborhood church. I can’t remember if that’s where I got the idea or if I only noticed the similarity afterward.)  I waited until the post-Christmas sales and bought all my fabrics.

I love my golds. The green with the peacock feathers looks vaguely polka dot-ish from a distance. It was more bottle green than forest green so I wasn’t thrilled with the shade but I wasn’t about to order new fabric either. Also it really worked with the other fabrics. I was happy once it came together. I think you only notice it in comparison with the backing fabric.

I decided to make them a king sized quilt because they have a king sized bed. Then I decided that was crazy and downgraded to a queen – which is still the largest quilt I’ve ever made. (It took up half my suitcase when we flew down for the wedding!!) I have been using the leftovers for other things – you may recognize the golds in J’s wedding napkins. I still have soooo much green, though. The backing is 108″ wide and I bought so many yards. I’ll use it! Or it’ll go to my guild for charity day in March.

The pattern was pretty easy to follow.  I used safety pins to keep all my pieces of the same size together and I labeled them with little pieces of paper. This was a huge help and I highly recommend it, especially since I cut the pieces at a different time from when I sewed them.

The piecing was also relatively simple. I followed the guide in the pattern. The pattern, by the way, has options for four or five different size quilts and you can go scrappy. It recommends more fabric variation than what I had – I couldn’t find enough variation in the right shades of gold or green that I wanted online so I reduced the number of fabrics I used. Shopping in a store probably would have helped with that. Anyway I recommend this pattern if you find the design appealing. As long as you keep your pieces organized it’ll be a breeze.  (You can buy it here.)

I used my method of pins and paper to keep track of the rows, too, so I wouldn’t mix them up.

I decided to call the quilt “Wedding Knot – Love is the Tie that Binds.”  Come back tomorrow and I’ll talk about the assembly process.  On Tuesday we’ll have our final Travel Tuesday post, and on Wednesday I’ll have my third post about the Wedding Knot quilt and the actual quilting on it.