Wow. What a long way I’ve come with this project in a year!
Marigold, which started out as a stack of unfinished vintage blocks, is now a completed quilt, and posted for sale in my Etsy store, The Velvet Pincushion. It’s a twin-size quilt, 63″ by 82″, sashed and backed with modern quilting fabrics and filled with 100% cotton batting.
This is the first picture I ever posted of Marigold.
That was a year ago, when all I had was a stack of vintage blocks I’d bought at the Courthouse Quilters’ UFO auction. (If you don’t know, UFO is a quilter’s acronym for Un Finished Object. Not that we generally tend to accumulate those…)
There were/are twelve blocks altogether; the middle of each is a LeMoyne star made of scraps from, I’m guessing, somebody’s shirts, showcasing a sweet collection of vintage fabrics. Each star is surrounded by flowers made of matching diamonds, a different color for each block. There are brown ones, pink ones, blue ones, red ones, and one each of green, black, and purple.
I decided to pursue this as a quilt-as-you-go project, so that I could quilt precise straight lines on these beautifully geometrical blocks. To do that, I needed to make twelve individual quilt sandwiches, layering each block with a square of batting and backing fabric, which meant I needed to choose my backing fabric before I could begin.
I felt so lucky to find this fabric. I thought it would work really well to showcase the quilting on the back, and contrast with the light gray sashing on the front.
Of course, no sooner had I layered all the blocks then I noticed that some of them had some very marked shadowing around the seam allowances.
What project worth doing doesn’t have a few bumps in the road?
So, after a few hours (days) of un-layering all the blocks, carefully trimming the seam allowances so as not to accidentally cut the quilt top, and re-layering the blocks and pinning, the quilting began!
I quilted the diamonds on each block in a coordinating color. On the front the effect is quite subtle, letting the fabrics speak for themselves…
…but all those threads show through on the back and mix in with the printed pattern for this fantastic textured effect. (Yay!)
It was in the middle of quilting the blocks that I took my several-month hiatus. It wasn’t intended to be several months, but we went to Europe for several weeks last summer, and then I went back to work teaching at a local community college, and I sort of picked at things again during August, but then I had some medical difficulties in the fall and, well, anyway. I took it up again in January, and re-opened my Etsy store long before I’d actually finished the quilt, just to get it open again.
Once all the blocks were quilted, I got my husband to help me settle on exactly the right arrangement for my many-colored blocks. The glory and struggle of having him help me arrange colors is that he absolutely will not stop trying combinations until it’s perfect. I used to think this was unspeakably aggravating, but I now know that the results are worth it, so I keep my aggravation to myself and just say “Thank you, darling.”
Between the two of us, we arrived at this:
We even rotated each block to make sure that any matching fabrics in the inner stars weren’t too obviously in the same position as each other. That’s how dedicated we are. 🙂
Once the arrangement was finalized, I stacked my blocks in rows, labeled each row with a pinned-down post-it, and began what’s probably the most difficult part of quilt-as-you-go: assembling a quilt out of pre-quilted sandwiches.
It’s done with sashing: every join has to be covered both on the front and back of the quilt. I’ve done this before, last year with The Garden of Light Green Meditations, but for that quilt I was using a half-inch sashing on both front and back. For this one, I was using a half-inch sashing on the back and three inches on the front. How to make this happen?
Find out next time on The Velvet Pincushion!