A friend encouraged me to participate in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy of Amy’s Creative Side. I’ve decided to enter one of my favorite quilts, Coral Reef, in the Hand Quilted category. This quilt was completed a couple of years ago, but it will always be a special finish for me. It was made before my blogging days, so this post is an opportunity to share its story.
It began as a pile of half square triangle units created while at a retreat with some local quilty friends. (The nearby Seattle MQG members had recently hosted a bicolor challenge which is what got me thinking about trying a two color quilt.) After much arranging and rearranging on my design floor, I decided on the final layout.
When it was basted, I started machine quilting it, but after a few lines of quilting, I changed my mind and decided it would be more fun to hand quilt. So I dug out all my aqua and orange threads, put it in my hoop and started stitching. It was the perfect canvas for dense hand quilting with a variety of thread types and weights. (It was also a great excuse to buy some new threads!) I took an improvisational approach and made up the designs as I went without marking. It was so.much.fun!
Planning to attend QuiltCon for the first time in 2015, I decided to enter the show, so I worked feverishly to finish it up before the deadline.
It was accepted and I was very excited to have it in the exhibition! What a thrill it was to learn that it had been chosen to receive the Coat’s Award of Quilting Excellence and to see it hanging there at the show. (My husband was even impressed to learn that it was possible to make money with a quilt.)
Coral Reef was exhibited in our local North Olympic Fiber Arts Festival last fall, and is currently traveling to some AQS Quiltweek shows in Grand Rapids, Chattanooga and in the upcoming Des Moines, Iowa event. I’m looking forward to having it back home soon!
This quilt remains one of my favorites, not because it won a ribbon, but because of all the hours that I spent lovingly stitching its layers together. I know many of you have seen this quilt before, but I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about it. I currently am hand quilting away on another quilt, but Coral Reef taught me that I need to pace myself with hand work. Hopefully I will have the new one finished well before any deadlines…we’ll see!
A customer recently inquired about purchasing the small “Made in America” quilt that I created for American Made Brand’s “Tiny Quilt Challenge”. This little quilt has been touring and will be busy until sometime in 2017. You can view a virtual tour of this exhibit here.
So, I offered to make another, similar quilt for her. This time I took a few photos of the process to show you how I created “Made in America.2″
I began with a wonky star block, using 2.5” charm squares. Various blues and whites give a little variety to the colors.
Next, I began creating the stripes using several reds and whites for variety. Basically, I just cut a line with my rotary cutter. I laid this on another strip (right sides up) and used the first cutting line as my guide to cut the next piece.
I continued this process creating the short stripes section and the long stripes section. Then I just cut the three sections in a way that would allow them to fit together.
The last thing I did was to add a border of white around the flag, leaving extra room for trimming after quilting.
The white stripes were quilted with dense machine quilting, allowing the red stripes to stand out.
The white star was hand quilted using a variegated white perle cotton #12.
I used a single, straight fold binding to reduce the thickness since this quilt will be framed.
As I put the final stitches in this little flag, my thoughts turned to Memorial Day, a day of honor and remembrance.