26 January, 2015

A Year in a Quilt - Alturas is Done


Alturas Quilt
60'' x 75''

A true labour of love and joy is finished! Almost a year to the date of starting my first major hand appliqué project the last stitches went in the binding and the last threads were buried. This is the Alturas pattern from Carolyn Friedlander. And when I started it I thought I would only make 9 blocks in an attempt to simply say that I tried hand appliqué!

I never got bored making these blocks. They were the perfect on the go project for me. Small, very portable, and easy to both prep and finish. Once I realized I was going to go beyond my original intention of a pillow it was easy to get caught up in the process. From picking fabrics to prepping the appliqué, from receiving fabric donations to round out the combinations to all the places they went with me. They always kept my attention. I must admit, I was a little bit sad when I finished them.

I'm not sad that I've finished the quilt, though. It makes me smile. There are so many memories in this quilt. Really, I should just call it 2014. And so many more will come in its enjoyment.


Initially, I thought the binding would be a coral print to bring out the colours of the appliqué. But when I put it up against the quilt I found that my eye was drawn out to the binding, not in to the appliqué. So I picked a pretty, but much more subtle fabric from my stash for the binding. This is a great print from Violet Craft's Brambleberry Ridge line with Michael Miller.

The binding does tie together the few bits of yellow I decided to add to the quilt. Just enough.


The quilting was super simple. While I'm not opposed to quilting over my hand stitching on all that appliqué, I wanted to go easy on the quilting with this one. It would be soft no matter what because of the Quilter's Dream batting, but I really wanted to emphasize the appliqué with minimal quilting. So I went in the ditch on all the patchwork. Around the borders I added additional lines. And each Alturas appliqué has a bar tack in the centre. Nothing fancy.

Let me tell you this though - that was a lot of threads to bury from 72 bar tacks!


Well now I think I will give this quilt away to a friend. This quilt was entirely about the making of it. Almost all of my joy and pleasure in this quilt is already there. Sometimes you get so excited to finish a quilt, the excitement builds and builds to a giddy little dance when you are done. This was different. I enjoyed all the appliqué, all the making so much that the finished quilt is not as exciting. Don't get me wrong, I love it! But my heart is already IN the quilt, I don't need to be under it to feel the love.

It's funny. I always talk about how Improv is about the process. Starting without much more than an inkling of where it might end up. While I started this quilt with little intention of a finished product, I never would have figured that appliqué, for me, would be ALL about the process. Seems silly, in retrospect, because slowing down in order to appliqué inherently makes it about the process. I just never clued into that before.

I sure am happy I've got that now.


14 comments:

Quilter Kathy said...

A gorgeous quilt! Enjoyed reading your thoughts on the process :)

Sandra W said...

A beautiful quilt. I think the bar tacking is a great finish. You can really save time burying threads by using self-threading needles. These needles were popular years ago but disappeared for a while. Buy good ones,though, from a reputable needle maker. The cheap ones from the lesser brands are not satisfactory as they cut the thread when you are trying to thread them. They can be a little hard to find--so when you find them--buy a couple of packs. They really speed up the burying process. You'll thank me.

madfabriholic said...

Truly stunning- I love your fabric combos, and that binding really is just the right choice... No matter where this ends up, it is sure to bring joy.

Pam said...

What a soft quilt!

roxi said...

I've enjoyed your process too Cheryl. Couldn't wait to see the end result & it is wonderful. Lucky friend that will be the recipient! Can't wait to see your next appliqué.

house on hill road said...

It is gorgeous, Cheryl! It has been such a joy to follow your progress via the blog and Instagram. And it is still on my list to do...I have everything set aside. I guess there is no time like the present!

Lauren said...

Two words: orange peel. I ripped through 49 of those little eyeballs in no time flat, and I'd planned it to be a 10-year project! I do machine baste them though, so it's a bit input-intensive. And I'm still trying to get me head around patching something that doesn't have a hole. Oh, and that quilt-over-handwork thing is niggling in the back of my head too - in my mind, hand stitching just isn't as long-lasting as machining, but what's the point of tiny, invisible hand stitches if I'm going to run them over with a tracktor (so to speak)? My eyeball collection is on ice until I get a jump on a few other things. Maybe by then I'll have some answers.

Carolyn said...

Wow! What a quilt and such an amazing right up of your thoughts about it throughout the process. I am beyond thrilled that you enjoyed it and that you've caught the appliqué bug... Xo

Karen said...

Cheryl, it's gorgeous! And all the precision you put into it--Wow! I'm not sure I would've fallen into a pattern of making more and more, though! LOL

mjb said...

You've written beautifully about the process of making this lovely quilt. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

A Nudge said...

A gorgeous modern quilt. It seems to be my morning to finding these. Congratulations!

Maryse said...

It's gorgeous, what a great finish!

procrasticraft.com said...

This is such a beautiful quilt, I have loved watching all the places it travelled to and how much you enjoyed taking it along for the ride. And that diagonal circle quilt as a hug for your special person, you my dear, are such a generous and caring and genuinely lovely person. Xx

sewkatiedid said...

I love all the fabric combos in this. Have fun at Quiltcon!