Surprisingly, my motivation to finish my Tulip Quilt is still going strong! I’ve been working on it almost exclusively for the past few weeks, and I’m getting more and more excited about finishing this project as I get closer to the end. The quilt has been growing on me the more I work on it, and although this project certainly doesn’t represent my finest craftsmanship, I’m really starting to love it. 🙂
After struggling with machine quilting a few weeks ago, I decided to tackle the rest of the quilting by hand. I know, I’m crazy! But I took a few shortcuts to save both time and my sanity. I made two sizes of heart templates out of cardboard from an empty tissue box, used wash-away fabric markers to trace the hearts onto the fabric, and used hand quilting thread and an embroidery needle to roughly quilt around the outlines. Why hearts? Well, they’re a little cheesy, but I feel like a handmade quilt is by definition made with love, so I thought a few subtle hearts would be fitting.
Now, when I say I “roughly” quilted the hearts, I do mean roughly. My stitches are huge (about 1/4 inch long) and unevenly spaced. Serious hand quilters will probably be horrified by my shoddy work here! But alas, I’m standing by my motto of “close enough” on this project, and I really just want to get it done already.
Behold my quick-and-dirty hand quilting (serious stitchers, avert your eyes!):
I used the large template to quilt a heart inside each tulip. I considered doing a straight-line design here, but I decided that I liked the whimsy of the hearts instead. It feeds into the “made with love” vibe that I guess I’m going for. Who knew I was such a sap. 🙂
I used the small template to quilt mini-hearts in the white spaces between the stems and leaves, tilting the hearts a bit as I went along, just for fun! The hearts are pretty subtle, I think, but are practical in the sense that they give the quilt a bit more stability in the large open areas.
The blue outline that you see around the hearts will disappear in water, which means I’ll probably give the entire quilt a quick wash before calling it finished. I didn’t pre-wash any of the fabric (oh, the horror!), so I’m looking forward to the entire quilt shrinking a bit and getting that “wrinkled” look. I wonder how it will come out!
The back of the quilt is finally looking sufficiently quilted now that all the hearts are done. My batting is fairly stable, and I think it will hold up with this level of stabilization. I like how the “quilt wrinkles” are already starting to form. Man, I can’t wait to finish this thing and throw it on the couch for frequent use!
In contrast to the drama and stress I experienced with machine quilting, I found hand quilting to be immensely relaxing and enjoyable. It was so wonderful, in fact, that it got me thinking about making another quilt! Crazy, right?? Maybe it’s some type of hypnosis or something. 🙂 It took me about 8 hours to quilt all the hearts by hand, and I have to admit that I enjoyed every single minute. Even Maggie joined in the fun, snuggling into a corner of the quilt and dozing off for a nap.
The quilt is really nearing the end at this point. I’m about 90% convinced that I’ll add one more border around the outside, and I was delighted to find that I have enough of the red/pink/orange fabrics leftover to piece together a scrappy-looking 3-inch red border. The other option I’m considering is to leave it white and clean, which means that I’ll have to pick up some more fabric for a plain white border. Decisions, decisions…
This project has been such a refreshing change from sewing garments. I didn’t even realize I needed a change of pace until I happened to dig this thing out a few weeks ago, but now I’ve been happily cranking along without having to worry about whether it will fit right. I’ve also been enjoying the creativity and freedom of design in this project. I tend to wear fairly plain, unembellished garments, but in a quilt I can play a bit more with different prints and whimsical motifs (love those birds!). Do you ever find that you need a change of pace in your sewing?
Once I decide on a border, all that’s left to do is attach it, add some final quilting in the border area, and bind this baby! I already have fabric for the binding, so I’m in pretty good shape at this point. The end is near!