Today is my birthday, and as a reward, The Cloths of Heaven is finished, at last.
I started it on 30th October last year, and it is finished today, three months later. I originally gave myself 6 months, then brought the deadline forward considerably when I realised I could get it carried back to England if I did so, rather than taking my time and having to entrust it to the mail service.
I’m tired, I admit. The last couple of weeks have been intensive, the quilting has taken its usual toll on my hands, but it has been absolutely worth it. The process of building this quilt has helped to clarify for me that increasingly, my creative process on these large pieces is more about the quilt being tailored to the intended user on several levels, and less about simply making something pretty or interesting, or even doing something just to see if I can. I’m making a creative statement about the person, if you like, rather than simply making something useful and attractive but generic.
I’ve enjoyed the growth of my skills and the exploration of ideas and processes intensely, including the involvement of those of you following this blog, who have been kind, encouraging, helpful and, frankly, indispensable in keeping me on track! I’m very, very happy with the finished quilt.
Some stats, for those who are interested:
Started 30th October 2015, completed 31st January 2016
Finished size: 88 x 88 inches
Fabrics: 100% cotton, mostly generic fillers and solids, but the blue, green and red batiks are from the Fossil Fern range by Benartex. I’ve been calling the colours Reef, Rainforest and Bushfire in my mind. The clouds are made of fine grey polyester tulle.
Construction: machine piecing, hand and machine appliqué, hand and machine quilting, hand lettering.
Threads are 100% cotton Gütermann Ne50 in dark blue and dark jade for construction and hand quilting weight in dark blue, dark jade, dark magenta and pale lilac. The silver used on the constellations is a Sulky machine embroidery thread in bright silver.
Assembled in 5 units (centre and 4 sides) using the quilt-as-you-go process, where sections are pieced and quilted before being attached to each other with sashing strips.
Hand finished binding and label, hand stitched yoyos in the border.
Label was created in Word, saved as a .jpg file, and the image reversed in PicMonkey, then printed out on transfer paper and heat bonded to white fabric.
For more detailed information on each process, you can find all the posts about The Cloths of Heaven stages 1-24 by typing ‘Cloths of Heaven’ into the search panel in the bar on the left.
It has been suggested that I should enter this quilt into a show. That’s very kind, but I know this quilt is not ‘show quality’. It’s original and different, but not, as we know, perfect! Furthermore, by the time any of the shows come round, I hope it will have been lying on my niece and her husband’s bed for some time fulfilling its intended purpose. But what do you think about entering it into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival? All I have to do is write an entry post and show photos, which shouldn’t be too taxing. Tell me what you think about doing that. I have never entered anything in it before, and am even having trouble deciding which category it should go into. I feel a bit shy about exposing myself that way. What if I don’t get any votes?
I’m going to have a short break from big sewing. There are lots of small bits and pieces I want to work on for a while; more scrappy blocks, a secret sewing gift, some more F2F blocks, a bit of embroidery and finally, I’d like to start my selfish sewing: the first block for Bee, Myself and I (see the link in my side bar).
There’s a new quilt already knocking on the door in the back of my mind, and it involves creating a lot of original paper pieced designs. I’m resisting the urge to dive straight in and am sticking to pencil and paper for now…
We’re off on our travels on 6th February, back on 17th. I’ll be posting along the way from time to time – come on, you didn’t seriously expect me to disappear from view entirely, did you?