Monday, February 13, 2012

The Quilt

After a rather discouraging first attempt at hand-quilting, I am happy to report that I am back in the saddle! For the last several months, my quilt has sat folded up in the basement, lonely and untouched, sporting only a few pitiful lines of too big, uneven stitches. I had even started machine quilting a second quilt, and decided that hand quilting just wasn't for me. The process was just too overwhelming. I had all but given up.

But, about a month ago, I brought my quilt back upstairs and got out my little sewing box again. I had read a book from the library about hand quilting ("The Perfect Stitch" by Dierdra A. McElroy), that broke down the quilting stitch into step-by-step instructions, along with copious pictures. I thought I'd give hand quilting one more shot. And, lo and behold... it worked! After the first few wobbly stitches, my fingers seemed to picked up the rhythm, and before long I was producing straight rows of small, evenly spaced quilting. A small miracle...

The stars are getting quilted with an outline at 1/4" both inside and outside the seam, and then the whole block is stitched diagonally from corner to corner, as well as a straight line through the middle from top to bottom, and left to right. It breaks the star into eight pointed segments, which I really like.

The linen colored sashing strips are getting outlined 1/4" inside the seam, and then quilted with two straight lines down the center, creating almost a striped effect.

The quilting in this dark blue star is some of my earliest stitching. See how much bigger the stitches are than the diagonal line of quilting on the white fabric on the right-hand side of the picture?

 Another thing that really helped me is finding the right thimble. I started with one of the big inexpensive leather ones (the kind with an elasticized knit part at the bottom), but it started to fall apart almost immediately and didn't offer my finger much protection. So a few weeks ago I bought this little golden yellow leather thimble by Clover, and I love it. It has a dimpled metal piece at the finger tip, just like a traditional thimble, but it has a soft leather body so it's super comfortable and flexible. I found it at Joann's for $12.99. It is great.

See, my stitching is getting better! In the end, it's going to look like two different people quilted this quilt, but that's okay with me. It's a learning quilt.

I keep the quilt in a vintage wicker basket in the living room, so it can be on display even before it's finished. I've discovered that I really like being able to just pick up and quilt whenever I want - usually on the couch in front of the TV in the evenings. It's quiet, takes no set up other than threading a needle, and I can hang out with my husband rather than being holed up in the cold, dark basement with my sewing machine. I still have a long way to go on this one, but I am finally enjoying the process. Another small miracle!


  1. So gorgeous! I love the colours.


  2. Great job! From one quilter to another~ Happy Stitching!

  3. I love it! I have been popping back to your blog every once in a while ot see if you posted the finished quilt.
    Your stitches look great. I don't hand quilt....well, only the binding on my quilts. I am going to see if I can track down that book you mentioned. The leather thimble is awesome. I use one when I handstitch the binding on my quilts.
    Your quilt is going to be lovely when you are doing. I loved it when I saw it all pieced together.

  4. You are doing fantastic! I love the quilt every time I see it I want to make one for myself! Too many projects in the fire to get further than the cutting on this one! I hope I can quilt as good as you some day!!!!

    Nicole Kelly

  5. I'm a new reader and have become a really big fan of this quilt! Love the colors, the star, the hand stitching...everything about it! Just a-mazing!

  6. Hello Ellie, I am a new reader to your blog, I just LOVE everything about your blog, your pictures, quilts, home decoration. I am actually making a similar quilt (not shown on my blog) for my husband's birthday next January. I love what you have made, your quilting is gorgeous. My quilt is an Ohio Star pattern, similar to this, dark blue stars, calico background and beige sashing! You really are so talented and I am very glad I have found your blog, warm regards, Ann ~ Australia.

  7. Love the colors and design choice of your quilt. Good job!

  8. I happened upon this on pinterest and I love the simple design! I'm just curious if you used a pattern for it?

  9. My three favorite colors ALL in one quilt! Love it!!!!!! Is it also hand-pieced? I LOVE the photography in your header - what camera/lenses did you use? Really pretty look here, I think I'll follow you :)


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