At the end of 2015, I had just one lingering project that I wanted to finish. Remember my Tessellation quilt? I finally finished quilting it, right before Christmas…and it only took me 16 months!
Last year Sara at Sew Sweetness hosted a Tessellation Quilt sew-along. It’s been quite a while since then. I finished my quilt top in about 5 weeks and I was so excited! Since the entry for the sew-along only had to be a finished top, I set aside the quilt for a few weeks to work on some other projects. Sometime late last Fall (still over a year ago), I pin basted the quilt layers together and started quilting.
My original plan was to quilt along the diagonals in both directions, following the edges of the triangles. I stitched a few rows and decided that I really preferred tighter quilting. Once I started, I had to finish that way. Thus the year of sewing tiny lines in between the other projects I was making. The quilting lines are between 1/4″ and 1/2″ apart. I didn’t even try to space them precisely. In fact, I purposely stitched at different intervals to make casual looking lines.
I’ve made a couple of baby quilts and pieced duvet covers, but this is the first legitimate quilt I have pieced, layered, quilted, and bound myself. I love the result, but I learned a few things about myself and quilts while I was working on this.
1. This quilt pattern recommended fabrics that read as solids. I knew I had some prints that were busier than what was recommended, but I thought there were more “solid” fabrics than there actually were. I couldn’t see this until I finished the top, but now I understand what the pattern meant. I also see that color is more important than anything else in quilting, particularly with a design like this.
2. Quilting is still not my favorite. Small projects are fun. Paper piecing was better than cutting individual pieces. This year I experimented with more improvisational quilting on smaller projects. I also watched an inspiring CreativeLive class where Cheryl Arkison explained several different improv quilting techniques. With my tendency to improvise on patterns, I think that’s going to be my true quilting love if I have one.
3. I’d love to make a quilt for my bed, but I’m planning to outsource the actual quilting. I’m sure some people enjoy the quilting. I was bored. Probably another reason why the quilting took me over a year.
4. Though it took forever, finishing the quilt is one of the most satisfying projects of my year. I am glad that I challenged myself to do something new and I appreciate the lessons learned from it.
Currently, the quilt is residing on the back of my couch, adding a handmade touch and a much-needed pop of color to my white living room!
Did you finish any big, satisfying projects in 2015?
p.s. If you are curious about the fabrics and pattern, you can find more information in this post.