Well I’ve been playing catch-up with the 12″ by 12″ series, and have finished the June quilt in June! I decided this month to make a whole cloth quilt and concentrate on some fun quilting instead of patching and appliquéing (which, of course, are also fun!) so that I could get the quilt done a bit faster and get back on the monthly track. When I was tidying my stash after finishing the May quilt I came a cross a really nice fat quarter of oriental style fabric in blues and soft purples, etched in gold, with a pattern of stripes and circles with small floral designs in them.
Unfortunately there was no printed selvedge on the piece, so I have no idea who the designer or manufacturer is. I bought it in 2008 from an internet quilt shop that is no longer trading, and the order confirmation has no SKU, just a description: “Imperial 3 circle stripes royal”. It is really pretty, and I hadn’t used it at the time because it seemed such a shame to cut it up, so a mini whole cloth quilt seemed like a good use! If anyone recognises the fabric, I would love to hear from you, so that I can credit the designer and/or manufacturer.
Anyway, I felt that the fabric was appropriate to June, as we get incredibly long blue-purple twilights at this time of year, as being this far north it never gets really dark around the longest day: the sun doesn’t dip below the horizon until after 22:00 hours and is above it again by about 05:00 hours, so in between it isn’t dark, just twilighty. And the big circle made me think of the moon, which, when full, hangs magically in the softly lit sky.
I found a marbled fabric in royal blue for the back in my stash. Both the fabrics are a bit more purple and saturated than they appear in the photos.
Because this quilt was about the quilting, I wanted it to have a thicker batting, so I used two layers: a Hobbs cotton on the bottom and a Hobbs wool on the top. This layering of two types was new to me, and I haven’t used a wool batting before (this also came from the batting sampler pack). I have never made a whole cloth quilt before either, so there were two new things for the month.
Because of the two layers and the thickness, I tacked the layers together with basting thread before machine quilting the sandwich. I also cut the top, batting and backing generously, so that I could cut it down to the correct size after quilting, in anticipation of a bit of shrinkage.
Because of the pretty floral patterns, I didn’t want to free-motion quilt all over the piece, I just wanted to add definition to the whole. So I first quilted all the vertical lines next to the patterned stripes, just to one side of the gold etching (that I didn’t want to obscure), both outside and within the circles. Then I quilted around each of the circles, just outside the etching. I did this with a variegated YLI thread, called ‘Jewel’ which goes from deep blue, through lighter blue to a purply pink, almost precisely the same colours as in the fabric. The variegation gave the simple quilt lines a little extra pop.
Then in the undecorated stripes on the fabric (with ombré shading) I played with the quilting stitches on my machine, and used zig-zags, waves and other patterned stitches, adjusted to the width of the stripe. The combination of variegated thread with ombré shaded fabric produced some subtle colour contrasts that I was really pleased with.
When I had finished quilting the top, I used a 12″ quilting ruler to determine where to cut the sandwich down to size, for the best effect. It was very puffy, but hadn’t shrunk as much as I had expected. Before cutting, I traced a line around the ruler with a chalk pencil, and then quilted a straight line 1/8″ in from the line around all four sides to stabilise the sandwich edges before binding. Then I cut it down to the correct size.
I added a hanging sleeve to the back and then a double fold batik binding: I had a batik in royal blue and purple with little turquoise circles that was perfect for this quilt.
Then I added a label (all the labels for this series are from a roll by Moda, they are cream cotton with a border in either red, blue or brown).
And then I hung it on the Ackfeld Wire quilt hanger in our entry hall. As this is the June quilt, I also changed the hanger header from the spring flower to the summer sun.
For July, I am thinking swallows and batiks…