Saturday, May 11, 2013

Circles Quilt Finish

Darraghs quilt rolled

Almost exactly a year ago, I started the Polka Dot quilt from the Block Party book for my little boy Mr D.

And finally, after a very long journey, it is finished! I'm pleased to say that he absolutely loves it because there was a significant amount of energy and mental angst expended on this quilt. It has been used every day since I finished it and I even had a snuggle under it last night myself watching tv. I adjusted the block size slightly as I had a limited amount of the Ash fabric in my stash, but wound up with a great lap size quilt measuring 60" x 65"

Darraghs quilt finished

This quilt definitely would be a great one for a Bee, as the process of making the appliqued circle blocks was fairly labour intensive, but not as satisfying as piecing blocks - so a whole quilt of them felt like a lot of work :-)

I used Kona Ash for the block background, and used the train and car prints from Ann Kelle's Ready, Set, Go as the focal fabrics - and the basis for the rest of the colour palette choices for the applique circles. The result is all those bright and vibrant fabrics in blues, greens, yellows, reds and oranges, from a combination of the novelty kids fabrics in my stash, plus some other lovely fabrics. Mr D helped me pick the fabrics, and had surprisingly strong opinions on which ones he liked and didn't like.

Darraghs quilt hand stitched owl block

The sashing is a bright vibrant peacock blue that I found in my local fabric shop  and I like how it works with the Ash, it really brightens the quilt top

I even pieced the back which I rarely do - I used some more of the blue, a large strip of the train print from Ready, Set Go, and some Kona Charcoal which I adore.

Darraghs quilt back

After basting it (twice -more of anon!) I machine quilted wavy lines in the sashing to secure the blocks, and then I hand quilted around a number of the circles in each block using a variety of perle cotton colours. I debated quilting each of them but decided against it in the end.

Darraghs quilt hand stitched block

One of the things I love is how the quilting shows up on the back:

Darraghs quilt back closeup

When it came to the binding,  my original plan was a dark grey binding, somewhere between the Ash and Charcoal colours. But it just didn't feel right, nor did picking one particular colour from the focal fabrics either (orange was a strong contender). So I decided to go with a scrappy binding.

Darraghs quilt binding 

I really doubted my decision on this one when I pinned it on as it just seemed too much colour, but I stuck with it and once the binding was finished on the back, I knew it had been the right decision. It finishes it off nicely, and it shows up even better on the back.

Darraghs quilt folded

Despite how much I love the quilt, there are aspects of the finish I am unhappy with. I basted this quilt twice - running into issues after the first baste - and despite taking great care second time round, I still ended up with some puckering on the front where my machine stitching lines crossed each other in the sashing. I don't know if this was because I should have stretched the quilt top more (I thought you weren't supposed to stretch, only to make it taut?) or if its a machine tension issue. I have been noticing that even when I engage the integrated walking foot on my Pfaff, the top layer of fabric is being pulled at a different rate to the bottom. Its quite obvious when I'm sewing binding on, where I have to really really stretch the binding when I'm pinning, or otherwise I end up with an extra quarter to half inch when I get to the corner. It seems like the presser foot pressure is just a tiny bit too heavy, if that makes sense? Maybe I could fix this by playing with the tension settings, if any of you have any suggestions I would love if you could email me about it as sewing machine stuff is not my strong point.

Darraghs quilt hand quilting detail

In any case,  once the quilt was washed and dried, the puckering is much less obvious and to be honest, my almost 7 year old little man couldn't care less about it anyway. It actually feels lovely. So I'm letting go of my perfectionist streak and just letting myself love it :-)

 Darraghs quilt blowing

This quilt was on my FinishALong list, so I'm thrilled to get it done and will be adding it at the end of the quarter. I have another finish to show you too from that list - will post that next week.


Cindy said...

Oh, Sarah, it's just wonderful! said...

congratulations on the finish. I don't have any advise for the Pfaff problem, but have my own issues with my Bernina right now.It's a perfect quilt for your son. I remember when you started it.

Katy Cameron said...

Woohoo, well done :o)

my4lilgirls said...

Fabulous Sarah, its such a cheerful quilt, love it :)
Karen x

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful quilt! I love the circles appliqué.
Does your machine have adjustable levels for the presser foot? I'd try juggling with those. It has happened to me sometimes and this usually works, althoughI have to refer to the manual because I keep forgetting which number gives more or less pressure...

I have 2 wee questions: how many threads of perle cotton do you use for the hand quilting? and what type of needles? I'll be hand quilting my son's quilt soon and I've no idea!

thanks :-)

Jo Robertson (thejoyofthehousetomyself) said...

Well done, it's lovely!

Mrs Flying Blind... said...

Perfect, a happy young man is all you can ask for xxx

Studio V said...


Leanne said...

Wonderful, and a finish too! I love the binding, I think scrappy was the right choice and the quilting around the circles is wonderful. I think you may need to take your machine in for an annual tune up, I know I do. You can likely adjust the presser foot lighter, I always have mine significantly lighter than the default setting.

Contented Caroline said...

Love, love, love. I want to make an I spy quilt for my girl with circles - labour intensive I know - but so worth it x

Silvia LGD (Little Green Doll) said...

Congratulations!! It's a wonderful quilt!