The Cloths of Heaven 24: over the line

Today is my birthday, and as a reward, The Cloths of Heaven is finished, at last.

The Cloths of Heaven final, frontThe Cloths of Heaven centre detailI 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.

The Cloths of Heaven border quiltingI’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.

The Cloths of Heaven labelI’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?


81 thoughts on “The Cloths of Heaven 24: over the line

  1. EllaDee says:

    So many superlatives… none of them adequate… but my favourite, not used lightly… the Cloths of Heaven is gorgeous. If you enter it into the Blogger’ Quilt Festival I pledge a vote. Hope your day has been celebratory 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you three times, firstly for the lovely words about the quilt, then for pledging a vote and finally for the birthday wishes. I’m have a lovely, if extremely hot day!

  2. Just gorgeous Kate and what a beautifully personalised gift. Love it.

  3. Carole says:

    Happy Birthday Kate, and congratulations on finishing that gorgeous quilt. Do enter it in the Blogger’s quilt festival. I will certainly vote for you, and I suspect anyone who sees the quilt will do the same 🙂

  4. lucyannluna says:

    It looks really fantastic, I love the colours & theme. Have a safe journey & I hope you manage a bit of a rest.

  5. itwasjudith says:

    I love the centre piece, and although I’m not a connoisseur of quilts, its design looks very original to me.
    Happy Birthday!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! I had a lot of online conversations with my niece about the things, ideas and colours she loves, and this is the result. This is a really enjoyable process for me, and I had a lot of fun.

  6. Fabulous quilt and so interesting to read the back story. Thank you for sharing. Happy birthday, happy finish and of course you’d get my vote!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! It’s perhaps just as well I had limited time, given that I’m committed to process posting. There was probably a lot more detail than many of my readers wanted!

  7. Chas Spain says:

    Happy birthday and many congrats for the completed quilt. I’m absolutely in awe of anyone with such ability and dedication – it is gorgeous! What a beautiful gift and of course you should enter it into a show – I’m sure your fellow quilt makers are all pretty lovely too.

  8. claire93 says:

    many happy returns of the day Kate ^^
    and what a lovely way to celebrate, with a happy dance and finished quilt! Cloths of heaven is beautiful, and radiates warmth and love.

  9. Conor Bofin says:

    Kate, as you know, I am far from the world of quilting. I have watched the development of this beauty from afar, both geographically and creatively. Yet, it’s progress has had me watching out for each post. It is a beautiful thing and I am sure will be treasured by the lucky recipients.
    Take a break. But, we both know you will be back with another big idea, an itch that will need to be scratched, another wonderful creation.
    Enter the awards!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, particularly as you are, as you say, a million miles distant from the world of quilts. It has been a fascinating experience, and you’re quite right in supposing that there’s another idea in the wings (already)… I’m going to enjoy my break and come back refreshed, and yes, I’ll be entering the quilt in the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival!

  10. tialys says:

    Wow! It is every bit as amazing as we all knew it was going to be. Those ivy leaves look amazing even in the photograph – I bet they look even better in real life.
    Of course you should send in photographs to the Bloggers Quilt Festival – your work is easily good enough – and you will definitely get votes from all of us at the very least.
    Happy Birthday!

    • katechiconi says:

      You’re right about the leaves, they’re wonderfully tactile, and no-one can pass the quilt without running a hand over them. It’s been a great birthday, and tomorrow will feel like a holiday too!

  11. You bring so much beauty and purpose to the world. Happy Birthday to a very special lady!

    And yes, enter the Bloggers Quilt Festival!!!!1

  12. Truly a creation of great beauty and the love just shines through

  13. That quilt is so incredibly pretty and a true work of art! Congrats on your birthday too! With love from Ohio, Joahnna

  14. vivjm says:

    First of all – happy birthday!!
    Your quilt is absolutely, incredibly beautiful. I have enjoyed following its progress from the start & you have done an amazing job. Stunning.

  15. Happy Birthday, dear Kate! The quilt is beautiful, a one of a kind treasure. It reminds me of looking through a porthole on a space ship.

    • katechiconi says:

      I love how different people are seeing different things; a friend thinks it’s like a garden ‘moon gate’, probably because of the ivy. I had such a great birthday, and have been overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone’s comments…

  16. knettycraft says:

    From my point of view it turned out perfect and I’m sure the young couple will love it! I don’t know the Blogger’s Quilt Festival categories but be sure I’ll vote for you because that quilt is a real outburst of your genuine unique creativity! Happy birthday to you, Kate!!!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you so much, dear Annett! My niece has seen it online and wrote to me that she was moved almost to tears. That is a wonderful reaction, and made me very happy.

  17. Grannymar says:

    A wonderful work of Art! Congratulations on finishing that unique gift of love. I am sure that like me, every one who has followed your progress with the quilt, feels a little pride and ownership of it. It is late in your day, but I still wish you a very Happy Birthday, Kate! Do enter it in the Blogger’s quilt festival. I will certainly vote for you, Enjoy your rest time and come back renewed and refreshed.

  18. Jule says:

    Happy Birthday Kate!
    This has turned out simply gorgeous, such a great project. Definitely worth entering it in the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival.

  19. I am open-mouthed with admiration. I think Cloths of Heaven is the most beautiful quilt I’ve ever seen, and OF COURSE you must enter it for the blogger’s quilt competition.

    I hope you have a lovely trip, with a chance to rest a bit after your high-pressure project.
    ViV xox

  20. irmi says:

    Oh, what a great blanket or wall hanging. Beautiful! I love the colours very much. What a surprise. Haven’t been here for long…. Another masterpiece of yours – you are such an artist, Kate! What a beautiful wedding present. Isn’t there a bigger reward than having finished it for your birthday? And the name you gave to your work – so special. It really Iooks heavenly and resembles very much an Indian mandala. I really love it. But so sorry, that you are exhausted now and that you seemingly overextended yourself. Kate, that must not be! Although I know that your next work is in progress ;-). So take care of yourself too, dear Kate! We want to have you here for longer…. 🙂 Really. – I hope you have had (! – yes your Sunday is gone now that I write that) a very happy and lovely birthday. I wish you lots of everything of all the good things in the world, Kate. Have a great year to come, again take care and get well soon! Hugs and much much love and kisses, Irmi
    P S – And just now I found out that you mentioned the Irish poet W.B. Yeats (a relative to your niece’s groom?) – googled and found the poem, read it – so tender, just lovely…. 🙂
    P P S – I’m sure you will get lots of votes and likes for your masterpiece… Go for it!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you Irmi, and I’m glad you’ve visited. No more big projects for a few weeks, so I can let my hands and brain recover. I had a wonderful birthday, and as you say, it was made so much better by finishing the quilt :-). No, my niece’s husband is not related to the poet (as far as I know), it’s just a happy co-incidence. This is one of my favourite poems of all, and I was just looking for an excuse to include it. A marriage quilt was the perfect excuse!

  21. Happy Birthday Kate !!! and many happy returns !! Your new quilt is absolutely STUNNING !!!

  22. That was a mammoth effort for three months! Well done! Why not enter it in the bloggers’ quilt festival? You have nothing to lose.
    Happy birthday for yesterday, too. I think you deserve a break.

    • katechiconi says:

      I feel a little strange today with no handwork, but my right hand is grateful fo the holiday! I think it was the sheer amount of hand stitching that made this quilt almost a feat of endurance; it’s not actually that complex. Also the fact, I suppose, that I was making it up as I went along!

  23. It looks gorgeous hope you had a great birthday Kate, your quilt turned out gorgeous, it has been interesting watching your progress these last few months. That border is stunning! Love it!

  24. norma says:

    Absolutely beautiful, you should be proud of it

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m glad you like it! After a certain point, a big project like this takes on a life of its own and I feel like I’m just a pair of hands to make it happen, so it’s not so much a matter of pride, as feeling like a midwife delivering a baby!

  25. I’m catching up with posts a bit later than usual, so, very happy belated birthday to you 🙂
    The quilt is… umm….a bit….well…..sort of……the most phenomenal quilt I’ve ever laid eyes on!!! ever ever ever !!!
    I think you have achieved all your goals with this project, and it’s going to family members who will cherish it forever, so only you know whether you want strangers’ eyes all over and giving it a good judge. YOU be the judge 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      What a kind person you are, and what lovely comments. The birthday was great, and I have several days to say goodbye to the quilt before I have to take it down to Sydney and wave it off. I agree that keeping it in the family is the best thing. The nice thing about the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival is that I won’t have judges’ eyes all over the minor wonkiness that makes it not up to a ‘real’ show!

  26. Lorij says:

    I hope you enjoy an awesome day. You’ve been through a lot this past year and I pray that you have no sickness and much joy this year. Many blessings,

  27. Lorij says:

    As we all have told you that quilt is quite fabulous! When you enter it in the contest it’s sure to win top prize. Hope your hands recover quickly. Have a wonderful holiday.

  28. rutigt says:

    Happy Birthday!!!!! and I would definitely vote on your quilt if you enter the Bloggers Quit Festival! You have really done a beautiful quilt and with so much work put in it. The quilt is worth to be seen!

  29. Lynda says:

    I can’t believe I came to visit when you first posted the finish and didn’t say, “Happy Birthday, Kate!” I hope your next year is filled with many more lovely creations and finishes. 🙂

    Your work on this quilt has been exquisite. The color play, the conception and execution are all wonderful. AND, you got pictures of your finish! I often forget to do that.


    • katechiconi says:

      How kind you are! I’ve so enjoyed having people along with me on the journey of discovery that was this quilt. I was lucky with the finish photo; it started to rain about an hour later, and hasn’t really stopped since!

  30. Happy belated Birthday! The quilt is amazing, the colours are stunning and I am so impressed with your talent. I’d be thrilled if I had such a wonderful gift made for me!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you, and thank you! I’m lucky to have a big family to inflict my work on – it’ll be a while before I run out of rellies, and so far, they’ve all used and appreciated their quilts.

  31. This is an amazing quilt, Kate. I will vote for it!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m so glad you like it! The vote is a way off, in September, but I’ll do another post about it at that time, with a link to the site you go to in order to vote. Meanwhile, the quilt is hitting the road with us tomorrow on our long, long trip down to Sydney, on the first stage of its journey to the UK.

  32. What a glorious piece of art! I love how your scrappy looking mosaic pieces are actually arranged symmetrically. It’s appealing on all sorts of levels. So clever 😉

  33. It is fabulous Kate. Really please join the Blogger’s Quilt Festival next time. My advice is to see what the other quilts in the category look like and then decide where to add yours.
    i have truely enjoyed following your proces.
    Hugs and applaus!

  34. anne54 says:

    I am finally catching up with your news, and I love it! I have loved how you showed your process, all your thinking and planning. It is a work of art, and your niece will be over the moon (as well as under it as she snuggles down under the quit 🙂 ).

    • katechiconi says:

      Oh, clever!
      I have greatly enjoyed the exploration process involved, and now I know how useful it is I won’t hesitate to take on another project of this complexity.
      See you soon!

  35. Oh, bravo!!! And yes, definitely enter it into the BQF – I’ll vote for you!

  36. Kirsten says:

    Ta-Dah, and it is done!

    Also, happy (very) belated birthday. I had no idea and I feel very guilty that I missed it. Hope you had a lovely day.

  37. […] F2F blocks 25 scrappy postage stamp blocks for the ScrapHappy quilt Grey Nomad The Cloths of Heaven queen size quilt for my niece’s wedding present 12 Hatbox blocks 9 blocks, quilting and […]

  38. […] Pieces 2-5, and the 4 large cornerstones will be Pieces 6-9. I don’t know if you remember the Cloths of Heaven quilt, but I put that together the same way (although I did machine quilt the borders on that […]

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