Thursday, July 17, 2008

King Sized Quilt Top Project

Last week my Mother-in-law and I made a quilt top in two days. It was an easy pattern, large pieces and it went together without giving us any trouble whatsoever. I designed the pattern using an existing block pattern. I wanted to do the traditional Amish diagonal set inside block. It could have been rather difficult but it came together as easy as could be and I was grateful for that. I chose the colors over a year ago when I visited the last time. And the fabric has set in storage this whole time. I made sure to purchase extra at the time because we knew that some of the fabrics were being discontinued. I am certain that there is plenty left over of everything except the white.

We talked about making a quilt for the Mennonite Relief Sale annual auction. Women (that’s an assumption on my part – certainly some men get in on the fun of quilting) from all over the Mennonite (and other) church make quilts to be sold and some fetch quite high prices. We talked at length about what features people really seem to like and the two main things were 1) contrast and 2) lots of quilting and less emphasis on the actual piecing. And we are both big fans of the work of Mennonite Central Committee – their focus is Relief, Development and Peace. See their website for more information: So with these things in mind we started work on this project.

We had already chosen to use the pinwheel as the block. Our next major decision was which blocks would go in the center, we chose the ones with more black and white and I'm happy with this choice.

It is our tradition for me to design and cut the quilt, Sheril to sew, and whoever is available to help - irons. With three people working at these tasks, it doesn't take long to go from fabric to quilt top. As long as the designer/cutter (me) gets her part right. And if I don't get my part right then we end up ripping out seams which is pretty annoying.

Here we laid out the blocks to get a feel for how it was going to work. Thank goodness they have a large living room with carpet because we end up being on the floor alot.

I cut out the triangles for the center diamond while Sheril sewed a border on the central diamond of blocks.

Then we were ready to sew the triangles to the central diamond.

After that Sheril sewed on the next row of blocks while I cut out fabric for the next border.

Sheril sewed on the final border then, and when I walked back in the room there it was with that black and white border on it and I've got to tell ya, that was a sweet moment. It was exactly the right border to bring it all together and I was really ticked pink with it at that point.

Since it's a King sized quilt, it's hard to get it all in the picture when trying to photograph it - even standing on a chair. So here are a few shots of the details.

So this stage of the quilt is complete. Next it will be carefully marked where all the quilting should go. That's tedious but fun. Then it will go to the women of Sheril's church who will lay it out very carefully in a frame. They will start with a backing fabric, followed by a layer of polyester quilt backing. This top will be stretched out over this and fastened carefully. The women of the church will gather round to hand quilt each part of this quilt, rolling the quilt up as they go. When the quilting is finished, it will come off the frame and be bound with a black binding. I'm really looking forward to seeing it after it has gone through all that. There are many hours of labor that go into a project like this. I'm sure everyone who is involved hopes that it fetches a really high price at auction. Because it's all for an excellent cause.

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