I am glad to finally call this quilt finished. When you consider that I started cutting the fabric for it a year ago and it is a gift for my brother (and now sister-in-law) who got married in January, it’s about time!
We are in Florida visiting family so I was able to hand deliver the quilt to my brother and sister-in-law as well as take pictures of it in my folks’ backyard garden.
For this quilt, I used the pattern that Moda released with Tula Pink’s Nest collection. The pattern calls for pre-cuts (layer cake + jelly roll) and I had only a layer cake + FQs. I had to modify the pattern slightly to make it work with FQs instead of a jelly roll. And I upped the total number of blocks from 16 to 24.
Combing Arcadia and Modern Meadow prints was a happy accident after the two collections were placed next to each other on my sewing table last summer. I discovered that most of the Sunny Day palette of Modern Meadow works with Arcadia. I did not include the Modern Meadow prints with a lot of aqua (“pond”) because it is brighter than the Arcadia aqua. And the other colors – orange, ochre/yellow, taupe/brown, white/ivory – aren’t an exact match but are close enough that I felt comfortable using them together.
I had to piece large cuts of the Arcadia prints for the backing. When I showed my husband what yardage of Arcadia is going for on etsy, he thought I was nuts to use it for the backing. But I bought the fabric awhile ago with the intention of using it as a backing, so that’s what it became.
I once again pieced my label into the back and am still happy with the results.
And I used the Modern Meadow Herringbone print in timber for the binding.
Before sitting down to free motion quilt, the first thing I did was modify my darning/free motion foot. Doing so makes such a huge difference in my ability to FMQ. I have better visibility, more control and I am not distracted by a jumping foot. Why didn’t I do it sooner?!
For the quilting, I am continuing to push myself, albeit slowly, to expand beyond stippling. I am most comfortable with all-over stitch designs; am not comfortable travel stitching yet; and for this quilt I wanted the stitching to resemble plants/nature in some way to mimic the motifs in the fabric. Given all of that, I felt a little limited by what I could tackle.
I searched through Leah Day‘s archive of free motion quilting stitches and thought I might attempt the “Wandering Clover” design. After trying it out on a test quilt sandwich, I simplified the design even more into a two-leaf clover, instead of three.
The quilting design is a little more dense than I intended. I went through nearly 8 bobbins of a 50wt Aurifill thread (which is a thinner thread)! The thinner thread practically disappears in the quilt but leaves a nice texture. I do like the result and am excited to tackle a harder FMQ design next.
I used Soy Soft by Luna (Moda) batting for the second time and am much happier with the results this go-around. I did not experience any bearding and pilling like I did the first time (the bearding and pilling might have been a result of me washing, and not drying, the quilt several times trying to get rid of chalk lines. Maybe I agitated it too much??). Soy Soft is a 50/50 organic soy cotton blend, is naturally anti-bacterial, has a really nice drape and is also lighter than the cotton batt I normally use (Warm & Natural). I would definitely use it again.
And now, some other notes and lessons learned from this quilt…
- I broke more needles than I would care to admit while quilting (AKA watch out for safety pins!).
- I learned to always check my tension before sewing (apparently my girls like to play with the tension dial which meant I had to unpick stitches twice).
- Layer cakes are not accurately cut by the manufacturer.
- I prefer designing and drafting my own patterns as opposed to following someone else’s pattern.
- Better ergonomics + large even surface area around my sewing machine + modified darning foot = a much more successful and pleasant FMQing experience
Oh, and you would think that my WIP count would have gone down by finishing this quilt, right? It turns out it didn’t. I somehow managed to start yet another project as I was trying to complete this one, so my WIP count remains at 11.