Monday, March 2, 2015

A REALLY BIG QUILT, 110" x 113"

There was nothing on the calendar that needed to be done today, so today became the day to finish a really, really big quilt that I started perhaps as much as ten years ago.  I saw a very attractive quilt on Elaine Adair's blog and decided to try it out.  It's composed of pinwheels and patches (4 x 4 squares).  At that time I made enough blocks to cover a queen sized mattress: 60" x 80".

Those pinwheels were HARD!!! I found it really difficult to make the four points meet exactly as they should.  It was pretty discouraging and that 60" x 80" top went into the closet and mouldered there for several years.

A year ago I decided it needed to be fished out of the pile and finished.  It was hard deciding how to finish it, but I finally "bit the bullet" and made sides and a bottom.  By the last meeting of Quilt Club in April of '14 I had the blocks made, the four parts (top, sides and bottom) quilted and sewed together.  It needed only the binding and some quilting in the borders.  It languished in that form until today.

This is a Sew Easy Cutter/Ruler, and it is very handy!  The strip of material is 79" long, folded in half the narrow way and then folded in half the long way, giving four layers.  The Sew Easy holds the material flat on the cutting board.  You press down on the red top and the rotary cutter comes down on the material, easily and precisely cutting through all four layers.

In this picture the cutting head is at the far end of the ruler.  Ease up on the cutting head, the rotary cutter lifts and you can reposition the ruler for the rest of the cut.  This made quick work of cutting 6 border sections.

Because the quilt is so big and heavy (9 lbs.!) I moved the student desk next to the sewing table to help support it while I sewed on the binding.  The long binding is folded into big loops, held together with a pin, and stowed under the machine extension (that nifty little see through table that adds sewing space to the machine.)

I used to always sew the binding on the front of the quilt by machine, turn it to the back and hand stitch it in place.  I started to apply this binding that way, and after
about 12" realized I wanted to sew the binding to the back of the quilt, turn it over and machine stitch the binding to the front.  By 12:30 I was within 8" of finishing when I ran out of thread.

A quick trip into town to buy another spool and pick up the mail, and I finished sewing down the binding.

Time for dinner--an easy task since we'd had company yesterday and there were
enough leftovers for a "rerun."

It remained to quilt 1/4" inside all the borders, and the job was finished around 5 p.m.

Here it is on the bed, first seen from the doorway and then seen from the other corner with a reflection in the mirrored closet doors.

I LOVE IT!!!  It was a hard quilt to make and there was loads of frustration along the way, but I'm delighted with the final product.


  1. Oops, my first comment went astray - this is stunning, but how did you quilt it. Did you work in sections? Is it long-arm quilted or do you quilt on your DSM. From what I can see, each pinwheel looks pretty good to me. Congrats on a fine finish and a beautiful one at that!

  2. I machine quilted on my Janome 7700 (it has an 11" throat) doing it in four sections before I sewed them together. That makes a big quilt manageable on a DSM. There's more on today's post about this humongous quilt.

    Thanks for commenting!