Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One down, one to go

I started this pair of quilts back in 2004. At the time I was wanting to make something in pink and green and was looking for some new fabric for inspiration. I didn't have a computer and didn't know about on-line quilt shops so I asked my mother to go to my favourite quilting shop in Melbourne.

Mum surprised me with quite a large bundle of fabrics that she had chosen at 'Patchwork House' together with Olga (I am grateful to her for helping my mother put together such a nice selection).

I chose the hanging nine patch design inspired by this very chintzy early 1800's quilt from Ljiljana Baird's book 'Quilts'. I love the ninepatches with three rather than two fabrics. I enjoyed piecing the blocks so much that once I had made enough for one lap quilt, I kept going and made enough for two.
I bought the setting fabric on a very short trip to Australia in 2005. I was looking for a chintzy fabric but couldn't find anything I was really happy with and didn't have much time. At 'Patchwork on Central' someone suggested this blue. It really changed the look of the quilt but I am kind of happy with it. Once I got home to Italy, I realised that it would work well in the borders too - but the shop had sold out. After a flurry of phone calls and messages, 'Patchwork on Central' tracked down another bolt and posted me the border lengths.

I pieced the top together and the quilt was set aside as there was a new baby in the family.

Last year I basted both quilts and decided that it was time that they were quilted. But how?

I had decided on the chintzy look because I wanted to do something with simple quilting. But those plain blocks seemed to cry out for something fancier. I drew a design for a floral vine, but wasn't happy with it. I tried a large stipple (which is so popular and looks so good with machine quilting), I tried a simple flower. My quilt got messier and messier (with pencil markings and unpicked stitches) but I couldn't find anything I liked.
In the end I settled on diagonal double line quilting inspired by the ninepatch on the cover of this book. Normal quilting thread seemed too fine for this project - it seemed to get lost in with the fine white dots so I used Perlè 5 embroidery floss.
I love the way the stitches look against the backing fabric.
It was fun making these quilts because they really were a collaborative effort. All of the fabrics, except the back, were chosen by someone else.

One of these is a present for my Mum and will soon be going into my suitcase for our next trip to Melbourne, and one is going to my eight year old who likes to sleep under piles of covers. When she was three, she saw me making the ninepatches, and one night she commented on the one I had just made - "I don't like that one, I think you should unpick it tonight while I am asleep."  Well I didn't - I hope it doesn't keep her awake :)

These quilts are hand pieced and hand quilted, with a 100% cotton batting (I think Hobb's Organic, but I am not completely sure). They finish up at 46" x 56". They were started in 2004 and one was finished in 2010 - hopefully the second one will be too!


  1. Your quilts are so sweet! I really like the blue - it gives a calming appearance. Your quilting is beautiful!! Take care. Una

  2. The quilts are gorgeous and look wonderfully soft and antique. All the time and effort was worth it!!

  3. Congratulations on a beautiful quilt! The fact that your mom selected the pretty fabrics makes it extra special, and I think the blue was a perfect background choice.

    As I've said before, your stitching is just so perfect (even on the back!), and the double diagonal looks fabulous on this pattern.

  4. The quilt is beautiful, so soft looking and the quilting stitches are beautiful. A great finish.