I started this morning with a pieced top and the fleece backing ready to go - and it had been like that for over a month - and hoped to get up the energy to baste it by the end of the day. About lunchtime I swept the floor, spread everything out and started the long and arduous task of crawling around with safety pins. I can definitely see why so many quilters use those gadgets to close safety pins - it'll be days before my fingertips recover.
I had some clear ideas about how I wanted to quilt it, but only partial ideas. First things first, I quilted in the ditch between each block, and then looked at it to assess how much more quilting it needed. I wanted it to be a soft, snuggly quilt, so not too much quilting was in order, but it definitely needed more quilting than just a 12" grid. My issue was mainly how to quilt it with all the squares being so different to each other, and give it a sense of unity within the quilting.
I began with the ones with a clear square in the centre - the middle two, the churn dash above them, the star from 'made' fabric, and so on. I quilted around that square. Then I looked for similarly sized shapes in the others, and quilted square or square-ish shapes in those. In the house block, for instance, I quilted around the shape of the house. I quilted around the central square of the pinwheels block and the inside octagon of the bowties block. The four squares that meet in the middle of the nine-patch block were treated as one square in the quilting. For the string block, I found a place where three of the quadrants had seams that met, and quilted that diamond, even though it meant going down the middle of the strip on the other quadrant. Finally, for the 'breaking out' block, I quilted a square set on point around that central pinwheel.
I bound it using seven fabrics that are either represented in the quilt or from the same collections. I didn't want to hand sew the binding to the back because of the fleece backing, so I consulted this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew and machined it. All that remains is to bury all of my threads, and the quilt is completed. Not too shabby for one afternoon's work.
This is deeply imperfect. There are so many seams that don't match up, I was astonished when I found any that did! There are fabric choices and colour choices that I would definitely not make if I was making the same blocks today. The blocks came from the We Can Do It skill builder and were almost all made in 2011 or 2012. I made those blocks when I was still getting to know my sewing machine, totally new at sewing. The blocks moved home with me 5 times before they got put together. When I made them I was an undergraduate - now I have 3 degrees and a proper job. This quilt was started in a totally different chapter of my life to the one in which it will finish. Funny how quilts can span ages like that.