Saturday, July 09, 2016

Only 146 blocks to go!

Splashes of Color Quilt
Many years ago I fell in love with the Splashes of Color quilt at – with a simple pattern of pastel batiks, it looked both soft and yummy! Perfect for sweet dreams. Over the next few months I made the quilt.

When it was finished, I was disappointed. It didn’t look like the quilt that I had fallen in love with. I put it away since I wasn’t ready to quilt it yet. I didn’t have a sewing machine that did FMQ and I was told not to hand-quilt it since batiks are dense and difficult to hand-quilt.

About a year ago I found the batik quilt top. With trepidation, I unfolded it and lay it over my bed. Wow! It was stunning! It may not have been the soft quilt I wanted but I love it! On my king sized bed I noticed that it almost fit. I showed it to my husband who liked it, so I decided to finish this quilt for our bed. At a retreat I made a few more rows so that I wouldn’t have to fight my husband for my share of the quilt as we slept!

I bought some Tula Pink fabric for the backing as well as king-size batting. I was now ready to sandwich this monster. One day when I had the house to myself, I removed all of the furniture from our kitchen eating space, vacuumed and then lay down the batting. It took the whole space!
It's the size of the kitchen eating area!

Chevy, the dog, lying on the quilt back
Chevy in the middle of the action!
It was a rather long and tedious process. I placed the quilt top on the batting, tapped the top to the floor, pinned it and then flipped it over. I did the same to the backing. When it was pinned to my satisfaction, I put the table back, sat down and basted the sandwich together.

I then quilted every block. This helped to stabilize the quilt and I was happy to see that I had done a good job of sandwiching the quilt since there was very little puckering.

I FMQ (free motion quilted) between the blocks using Superior Thread’s Bottom Line in both the bobbin and top. I wasn’t sure what thread to use for the actual FMQ of each block but decided to keep using the Bottom Line. It’s very fine and won’t take attention away from the quilt itself. Besides, every block has different colours – changing and deciding on the colours of the thread to use in each block would have been impossible.

Here are my criteria for choosing the quilting design in each of the 8 inch blocks:

  • Not very small or dense so that the quilt remains supple;
  • Simple enough to FMQ on my home machine (this is a king size quilt!);
  • Experimentation, repetition and learning is encouraged; and
  • It can be a stenciled pattern, a dot-to-dot pattern or anything else that fits the above criteria.

Since there are 169 blocks to FMQ (13 x 13) this will give me plenty of opportunity to practice these designs. Here is a sampling of the 23 blocks that I’ve done so far. The stencils are mostly from The Stencil Company while many of the FMQ comes from Angela Walters' Shape by Shape book. The marking on each block hasn't been ironed off yet.
An old fashion stencil, circa 1850

Dot-to-Dot Fan

More Dot-to-Dot quilting with echoing


The Stencil Company (Celtic Flower 7")

The Stencil Company (Continuous Teardrop 6")

The back of one block
The back of one block

What I learned:

  • You won't get a soft pastel quilt if your fabrics are dark!
  • Beware of those expectations. Allowing time to pass can help you change your perspective. 
  • I have done some FMQ designs that really don't show well, but it's good practice and they are very lovely from the back (see the picture below).
  • This is an excellent way of practicing my FMQ. The blocks are not perfect, but the overall effect will be stunning I'm sure.
  • These blocks are very time consuming. I've put the quilt away for now so that I can work on other projects.
  • Chevy wants to be included in the pictures - besides, pictures with animals are always popular!

The back of a couple of blocks
The back of a couple of blocks based on Angela Walter's designs

 I will be linking to these Linky Parties. Come see what everyone else is doing! Free Motion Mavericks, Can I get a Whoop Whoop! Off the Wall Friday. I've also linked Chevy's picture to Pets on Quilts 2017. Check out the cute posts 😊

Only 146 blocks left to go!


  1. Bravo! You are courageous to quilt something that size on a domestic machine (at least, that's what I'm understanding from your post). It's a beautiful top and your quilting looks great. :-)

    1. Thanks so much Margaret. Yes, it did take courage. I really like the way it's turning out.

  2. Your quilt maybe brighter than your inspiration but it's definitely yummy! And such a great opportunity for quilting practice. I have recently quilted a double quilt on my domestic machine, and repeating the design over and over on such a large surface was tiresome. Changing the patterns for every block is a great idea!

    1. Hi Lena, yes, quilting only one pattern on a large quilt can be tiresome but when I quilted a throw with feathers, I was impressed by how easier and better my FMQ was by the end. Of course if you don't quilt that very often then the learning doesn't stay at that level. These blocks will help me practice but I have to accept that the quilting will be better on some than others.

  3. Don't you love it when you pull something out and look at it with fresh eyes and are amazed that you made it? Have fun quilting it, I've done quite a few large quilts on a domestic machine, it's not always easy but it's nice to know you quilted it instead of someone else!

    1. Hi Laura. Fresh eyes are necessary when we create - it can change our whole perspective! I don't imagine that I'll make too many very large quilts but if I only make half of it then I don't think of it as my creation. Besides, since my piecing is not as accurate as it should be, I need to be able to quilt it myself to hide the defects :-)

  4. While your quilt may not have ended up soft and sweet, it certainly ended up BOLD and BEAUTIFUL!!! You are doing a great job with the quilting, too.

  5. Hello Andrée,

    Gosh that is a huge quilt, such a mammoth to quilt! You must be so pleased you put it away and forgot about it for a while and then learnt to love it. I think your colours are much more striking than the pastels version.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

  6. Thanks Muv. It's funny how I wanted to have a pastel quilt without the actual pastel fabrics! It now has a binding so we'll be able to use it - the winters are cold here!

  7. Wow, it is stunning and your quilting is gorgeous. I'm so glad you went back to it. I have the original quilt pinned to be made some day, now I may go brighter like yours.

  8. I love your quilt and quilt helper too. I think your quilt is sew much prettier than the pattern quilt. I am so happy you got it back out and fell in love with it. Thanks for sharing and outstanding job on your quilting!

  9. Your quilting is stunning! and your Chevy is adorable :-)

  10. Chevy's a cutie. And yes - I really, really LOVE it when a quilt project that had disappointed me gets pulled back out after a long marination time, and I it captures my fancy. That's the coolest thing around. :)

  11. Your learning tips are great!!! Chevy is adorable💗


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