The Story of My Epic Hand Pieced Quilt
I think this queen sized hand pieced quilt is my longest WIP ever. It was over six years in the making. Let me walk you though the process.
I took a picture of the first five flowers I stitched together back in February 2010. I was sooo proud of them. I felt like I had made soooo many! How naive I was. There are 132 flower blocks in the finished quilt so I had a bit more to go. :)
In the fall of 2010, I had finished about a quarter of the quilt. That cute 3 year old is in third grade this year!
I kept chugging along. Sometimes months would go by without any work on it and sometimes I would make flowers obsessively. My favorite time (only time, really) to do handwork is after the kids go to bed. I love to just sit down and watch some Hulu or Netflix and do English paper piecing. If I worked fast I could get one flower done an evening. Let's not even start to think about how much TV watching this quilt represents, ok? ;)
Early on I found an online offer for twenty-five 1930's reproduction fat quarters for $25! Sweet! In retrospect I should have gotten two packets - there is a lot of fabric in this quilt! The spacers are Kona Unbleached PFD. It is more cream than Kona white and more white than Kona Snow - the perfect white in my opinion. The flower centers are Kona Corn and the hexagons are 1 inch a side.
I love the texture on the back!
I got the idea for using three white spacers between the blocks instead of surrounding the blocks in white from the Paper Pieces picture page. I was afraid if I surrounded each flower in white that I would get bored and give up. I like how the spacers still give the flowers breathing room, but how I didn't have to stitch as many white hexagons. Plus it makes it a bit different from other Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts.
I give my husband a bad time about always having to build stuff so sturdily, but I am just as crazy about my sewing. After making a couple flowers I had my own system for joining the hexagons together which included laying the tail of the thread under subsequent stitches to hold it in place, reinforcing the corners with extra stitches, averaging 18 whip stitches per inch and knotting off the thread at the end twice - once at the end of the stitching and then again back 1/4 inch. That thread isn't going anywhere. ;)
Then the quilt sat for years while I debated how to quilt it and how to deal with the edges. Did I want to applique on a bit of a border or just trim the edges straight? Binding around each pointy hexagon was not an option, in my opinion. Finally I decided that I just needed to finish it! I decided to trim the edges straight on the top and bottom and follow the curve on the sides.
I machine quilted swirls in the yellow middles, loops in the petals and leaf shapes in the white spacers. Love. I decided to machine bind it in a beautiful cornflower blue that coordinates with the floral backing fabric. I love that color!
However, there was an 'incident' while trimming the edges of the quilt which resulted in this patch. (I didn't cry - but I had to take some deep breaths and put it away for awhile before finishing it.) Thankfully, the patch is very sturdy and not noticeable from a distance. It gives the quilt some "vintage character". (That's my story and I am sticking to it.)
The quilt is approx. 92" x 82". It is made from 132 hand pieced flowers and over 700 white spacers.