The Quilting Gallery is turning 5, and to celebrate they're hosting another Blog Hop Party with Giveaways! Last time there were over 200 blogs participating, with some incredibly cool giveaway items on offer.. make sure you don't miss out this time!
I recently completed a quilt for one of my husband's friends as a thank you for helping us when we moved house. He spent a few days welding framework together for some custom desks that my husband installed in his office, and my husband asked me if I could make him a quilt as a thank you gift (Sure, no worries love! Let me just whip that up for you!).
I'd been dying to try out the "Raspberry Ripple" pattern out of Pam & Nicky Lintott's "Layer Cake, Jelly Roll & Charm Quilts" book, which I'd received as a Mothers' day gift. This is the third pattern I've made from the book (and I've now made 4 quilts using patterns from the book, but that's another post!).. anyway, considering the book was an incidental purchase I'm very impressed with it!
My husband's only directive was that "Fritz likes blue".. so straight away I knew that Deb Strain's "Spa" range would be perfect. Not my personal style, but I am SO pleased with how the quilt top turned out. Having said that, I'm not sure that I'd make this pattern again because it felt like I was piecing FOREVER and it wasn't until the very end that I had blocks that were larger than 6.5". It was enormously satisfying to complete, but it seemed to drag on and I think next time (if ever!) I wouldn't bother making all the 9-patch blocks first and I'd just make large HSTs instead. (The effect of the 9-patch blocks is stunning, don't get me wrong.. I just prefer to see tangible progress within a few of hours of piecing, not what took me DAYS over WEEKS of piecing.)
But enough whinging, I really love this quilt and I'm a bit sad to be giving it away.. luckily I know it's going to a good home that will appreciate all the time, effort and love I've put into making it!
Once I completed the quilt top it was time to move onto the larger issue of how to quilt it? My domestic machine has a very small throat space, so the thought of anything other than SLQ was far too daunting, and even that would have been struggle town. I decided to think outside the square and try something I'd never done before.... hand tying!
Being an Aurifil convert (this quilt was pieced with Aurifil 50wt #2024) I contacted the rather debonair face of Aurifil, Signor Alex Veronelli to see if I could try out some of his new Aurifloss stranded cotton.
Aurifloss is a 6 strand embroidery floss made from long staple cotton that is gorgeously presented on a wooden spool. It's suited to all types of needlecraft including cross stitching, embroidery, crochet and applique as well as scrapbooking and hand tying quilts (and many other things I'm sure!).
Alex very generously sent me three spools, and despite this quilt being 64" x 80" I didn't even use a whole spool! So I'm giving one away for one of you to try out :)
|Pinned, basted and ready to go!|
Having never hand tied a quilt before, I watched a number of youtube videos, googled a few blogs and referred to a couple of books to get a general idea. From there I went with the method where you take a small "bite" of fabric approx 1/4" apart with your needle (I recommend using a wool needle), and then do a little back stitch move where you take a second "bite" (as shown above).
I left "tails" of approx 2-3 inches, which I then tied using a surgeon's knot (which my research suggested was more secure than a square knot). The Aurifloss was a delight to work with. It didn't twist and knot itself while I was trying to feed it through the fabric. It was easy to knot and none of my knots have magically undone themselves - always a good start! I look forward to trying out Aurifloss in my cross stitch and embroidery projects (I just need to stop quilting for long enough to get back to them!).
|A close up of my (untrimmed) hand tied knots.|
|And a closeup of the trimmed, completed ties.|
This quilt exceeded my expectations - it turned out exactly how I envisioned it would. I love the clean crispness of the blue and white, it makes me think of Wedgwood china! I think the hand tying was the perfect way to "quilt" it so as not to detract from the overall design, while still keeping the layers secure. As an added bonus, hand tied quilts are supposed to get softer and snugglier as they're washed so it's sure to keep Fritz and Margot warm and cosy on these cold Summer nights (oh wait, you mean it's meant to be warm in Summer? hmm.. I don't think Perth got the memo this year!).
|Finished just in time for Christmas...|
Now that you've made it to the end of my post, I think you deserve the chance to be rewarded, don't you? I'm offering up a charm pack of Summersville by Lucie Summers and a spool of Aurifloss so that you can try it out for yourself. The giveaway is open from the 10th December until the 17th December (Perth time). The giveaway is open internationally, although I can't guarantee that you'll receive it before Christmas!