Yay! My Madrona Road quilt is finished! I kept thinking “I’m almost done, I’ll just finish it up.” All the way until I was done at 3a last night/this morning. I’m just a wee bit tired now!
I made this quilt for the Madrona Road Challenge, and finishing it was my January goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. When I first got the fabric, I was really stumped with what to do with them. I love the line, although I tend towards the pink/orange colorway, but I don’t generally work with a single fabric line.
I love the Memoir fabric the most (surprising, I know) and after reading the story (which is reassembled on Violet Craft’s website) I really wanted to do something with the idea of the written word giving life to ideas and dreams and how you can “see” the things that are described. So I sketched out a few ideas.
I really liked the last sketch I made, so I decided to run with it. I decided to use paper-piecing because I wasn’t sure how to deal with doing an applique of that size, so I drafted up a pattern in Illustrator. I first drew the curves, then sectioned it off by drawing a circle under each curved area where the circle edge was the same size as the curve. Then I drew lines from the center of the circle to section up that part of the arc. This kept the sections looking like they radiated around the curves, adding to the flow of the curves.
At the last minute, I remembered that I needed to mirror the pattern since paper-piecing flips the pattern!
Once the pattern was done, I saved it as a pdf, and went to Kinko’s. I had them print it out at 3′ x 4′ since that was the finished size of the quilt I wanted.
I found out that Kinkos ink will transfer when heated, so in the future, I wouldn’t leave the arcs colored in. I ended up ironing on top of a towel so that it would take the transfered ink instead of my ironing board, but the pieces would still stick to the towel afterwards and have to be peeled off.
Next up came cutting. I cut each section and then cut out each arc. The parts around the arc I used as a template for cutting that piece, making sure to leave 1/4″ around each side.
Using templates this big was more difficult than I would have expected. I would often have the arc resting on my head while I held everything up to the light! For the curves, I used the pinless method, and I would have gotten better accuracy if I had used pins. However, it was a lot less painful to just go for it! Since I had the paper pieces, it was relatively easy to at least keep the background text print all going the same direction. I tried to get the seams to line up, but it wasn’t happening as precisely as I would have liked, so I had to let that go a bit.
You can see in the top right section that I forgot that top line was at an angle, so I lined it up incorrectly. I went back and replaced that piece.
It took a couple hours for each piece to get done.
But finally I had the top done!
I ended up choosing Kona Natural for the back. I wanted just a plain solid, and I had bought a bunch of Natural for another project and ended up not using it. So the choice was made for practical reasons, but I like the contrast it has to the white whites in this line.
Finally came the quilting. I really deliberated on this one. I wanted to keep the motion of the quilt, and really accentuate the curves. I considered doing some sort of swirly free-motion in the background areas, but ended up going with an echo quilting. I entirely quilted one of the areas, but realized that it was just too busy and the motion was actually lost a bit. So I pulled it out and just left 7 echoes around each wave. I used Aurifil 40 wt in a light blue for the quilting and really loved the look of it. I might even try some of their heavier weight threads in the future!
Because I just used a solid for the back, it really shows off the quilting. Love those swoopy lines! 😀
For the binding, I chose to do an “infinity edge” where the text just kept going off the sides. To do that, I needed the words to be different orientations on the binding on different sides. The orientation needed to change on the corners, but I didn’t want major seams in my corners, so I remembered my original plan of using black for the binding, and decided to do corner stones. I assembled the binding as I went, so I could line it up on the fly, which turns out to be pretty simple. I just marked on the quilt 3″ from each corner, so I knew where to line up my seams. It’s fairly similar to how you finish the binding, except only one side of the binding is stuck to the quilt so it’s easier to manipulate. I really love how the binding turned out!
Phew! Sorry that got so lengthy, but it was a really involved process to make this quilt. I am overall, fairly pleased with the end product. It definitely challenged me on both a design and technical level!
Design: Paper-pieced design by me
Dimensions: 3′ tall x 4′ wide
Fabrics: Madrona Road by Violet Craft, Kona solids, Cotton Couture solids, Moda Bella solids.
Number of pieces initially cut incorrectly for the background: 5
I’m doing a photo shoot of quilts this weekend, so this quilt might end up with a few more glamour shots before I’m done!