The Cloths of Heaven 21: positively purple

I expect you’ve been wondering where I’d got to. There has been a lot of non-‘Cloths of Heaven’ activity recently.

There was an excellent reason for that, as you probably realise by now, but it was time to get back to my main job! But behind the scenes, I’d been quilting the two long and two short side panels. They’re done, a nice simple grid running through the squares on the diagonal. I tested a number of thread colours against all the fabrics of the front and back, and the jade/teal green was the best by miles. The quilting went quickly and pleasantly, just a couple of times when I didn’t check my bobbin before I started a long line, only to discover at the end that I’d got just the first inch stitched and the rest was a long trail of top thread. Grrr… I am loving this QAYG construction method. No aching shoulders and frayed temper from hauling a huge quilt through the narrow throat of my domestic sewing machine.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 3.41.57 pmScreen Shot 2016-01-21 at 3.42.17 pmI’ve been plugging away at the job since finishing the quilting, and both short sides and one long side are now joined, very tidily and invisibly.

I considered using the sewing machine to stitch down the final seam on the back, but it would have left a visible line and instead I’ve hemmed the edge down by hand. There are lots of tutorials out there for a variety of methods of joining the quilted panels, but my favourite is to use a 1″ strip to join the two front edges, leaving a ½ inch wide visible band, and a 1¼ inch strip on the back, with one edge pressed over to give a neat hem which will just cover the stitching line from the front. You can used a 2 inch strip pressed in half instead, but this way I was able to recycle all the edges I’d trimmed off the quilted panels, very economical!

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 3.41.23 pmNow, purple. Several of you commented favourably on the purple I’ve used for the backing on the side panels. I agree! So much so that I’ll be using it for the 6 inch outer border too, front and back, as well as the sashing strips that join the side panels to the centre panel. I looked at a number of other options in the same colour range, including one very lovely purple/dark pink batik, but in the end, it was going to be too ‘loud’ in the overall colour scheme, which is not what I wanted for the border. I think fate must have intervened on my behalf, as there was just enough left on the bolt to do the job plus 8 inches to spare… The quilting design for the border is still evolving in my head, but I think I’m getting there.

I really must start churning out more yoyos. I don’t have nearly enough done, not even half.


46 thoughts on “The Cloths of Heaven 21: positively purple

  1. you got to yoyo yoyo…..[sung to the tune of You got to move it move it]

  2. oops I got that wrong!


  3. tialys says:

    Argh! The dreaded empty bobbin. I’m glad you seem to be on track despite everything.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s maddening, isn’t it, especially when it was a tricky line to sew. Ah well, the quilting is nearly all done – amazing to be able to say that while I’m still stitching the pieces together. Just the border left to do, and that’s just zooming around the outside.

  4. nettyg says:

    Love the purple. Rude words are uttered when an empty bobbin, long thread are discovered… seems to happen when I’m stitching something difficult.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! I have it hung on my design wall, waiting for the final top panel to be added before I stitch on the border, and it makes me smile like an idiot to see my mental vision come to life!

  5. Is this the most complex quilt you’ve made? I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together. And YES, I think quilt as you go makes it much easier to manage, other than the assembly. I expect that’s second nature after doing a couple of them, too. Great job making that work for you.

    • katechiconi says:

      Possibly the most complex. I did one a couple of years ago called The Tree of Life for my brother, which was an epic of appliqué and took ages as well. That was entirely hand quilted as I couldn’t see myself shoving it through the sewing machine either. But it was a smaller quilt: large lap size. The final challenge with this one will be attaching the borders; I don’t want another sashing strip, so it’ll be an interesting exercise!

  6. Gorgeous purple. Empty bobbins are a pain in the fundament. Your QAYG joining method is more or less how I do it I once had to join ready-quilted blocks made by a very mixed-ability group, and you wouldn’t believe the size and shape anomalies.

    I REALLY love this quilt.

    • katechiconi says:

      I like the nice tidy result and consistency. It’d be the only way to go with a whole bunch of assorted blocks. There are other methods out there which involve using a larger seam allowance for stitching the blocks together directly and then pressing the hell out of them to get the seam allowance to lie flat. Not keen…
      Now that three of the 4 side panels are attached, I’m really loving the finished effect and looking forward to the final push!

  7. Grannymar says:

    I’m an inch short person no matter what length of thread I use in machining or more so in hand stitching. Wonderful progress with ‘Cloths of Heaven’, I am in awe.

  8. I’m so glad my machine tells me when the bobbin is almost empty. I hate running out at a bad time. I’ve never done a QAYG so I have no idea how hard that is. I know stuffing a large quilt under the machine is a nightmare. Looking good so far.

  9. Lynda says:

    It’s just so lovely. I can hardly wait to see the finished masterpiece, Kate!

  10. rutigt says:

    I think we are using the same technique, sewing the quilted pieces together. I think it is an easy way and I always stitch the last seam by hand.

  11. Lorij says:

    Hi Kate, I’m happy for you that you have nearly completed the quilt.
    I’ve been going through a very difficult time and your blog has been a blessing. The move it video gave a lift to my spirit. It is going to be wonderful after while. I just have to get there. Since I’ve been going through this I’ve made the green pin stripe wool suit, a burgundy suit, blue tiny herringbone print skirt, grey skirt, navy linen suit and I’m working on a beautiful blouse. All these have been made since the day that I asked about the wool fabric. Sometimes life can give tsunamis that can nearly devastate your spirit. I’m a sew-a-holic and when life seems to be overwhelming I sew and Pray. I’ll get through this and everything’s going to be fine

    • katechiconi says:

      There’s nothing like a practical and creative occupation to divert your mind from problems. You really are a sewaholic! So many garments made! The Move It video is fun, isn’t it, and does cheer one up tremendously; so silly and happy.

  12. I am not a purple fan, but even I can see that it is the right choice.
    I think your arguments are so good that they are making me think we should quilt everything as we go! A spot of restful hand sewing to finish is far better than stressful hauling bulk through tight spaces.

  13. katechiconi says:

    I’m not much of a purple fan either, to the extent that I’m giving away the majority of my scraps of that colour once I’m finished. QAYG is a very good method of assembly so long as your design lends itself to being broken down into segments and you’re not bothered by having a half in sashing between those segments. Mine did and I wasn’t, so it was the obvious choice. Huge saving of stress and rude language and abuse of the sewing machine due to quilting first, too.

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