Sep 14 18

Finishing a Long Quilt Project

I think I started making the blocks for the center of this quilt 2 years ago.  I remember wondering how long this quilt might take as my father in law had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer about 4 months earlier, and we were spending a fair amount of time traveling to visit family.  At the time, I had no idea that other family members would also need help and that would be the real cause of stretching this project out for such an extended period of time.  The anniversary of my FIL’s death will be 2 years this December, and so much has happened since then.  One thing I like about making quilts is there is always a “background story” for every quilt, the background story being all the memories of the things that were going on in one’s life as stitches were being laid down.  This quilt’s story covers a very unique time in my life of elderly parents/in-laws declining and needing help.  In many ways, working on this quilt and others during this time has been my therapy.  Choosing colors for fabrics and threads, dreaming up different ways to bring shapes and colors together, is warm respite for a worried mind/heart.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, thank goodness I learned how to quilt so young!  Enough on background, let’s talk about the quilt!



The applique is all machine embroidery applique that was done using an embroidery machine.  The shapes were all cut using my Sizzix cutter.  This quilt is largely quilted by creating ruler work frameworks in between applique shapes and then filling those in w/free motion quilting.  All of the ruler work on this quilt was done using my PTD ruler starter pack.  The center 9 blocks have a framework made with dark purple Glide polyester thread and the background was quilted with a black rayon thread by Sulky.  I used black for the background because I thought the purple might be too busy for the background fill, but it all seems so subtle to me now that I wonder if I should have used purple for both. 



For some reason, the center of this quilt was particularly difficult to move across my machine bed.  I still don’t know why that was, but it gave me a bad attitude about quilting this quilt pretty quickly after I’d started it.  I set it aside for 2 months just because the thought of quilting is was so unpleasant!  I finally decided that if I wanted to have a quilt to enter in our fall quilt show, I’d better get moving.   I’m glad I did because once the center was quilted, the rest of the quilting was very fun and went by very quickly.



The triangles that line the outer border of that second zone (the zone above w/the swirly flowers) were supposed to be stitched in that same purple thread.  I didn’t realize that I’d forgotten until one entire side was complete and there was no way I was going to rip it out!  That part of the quilting design falls flat to me.  I find myself wondering it it would have been an interesting frame had it been stitched in the intended purple, but I’ll never know now.



The outermost applique border is my favorite part of the quilting.  The quilting in that section went lickety-split.  It’s hard to see here, but the ruler work in that zone was correctly done in purple thread.  A few more photos:





Binding, a hanging sleeve, and label are in my near future…




  1. Maga Says:

    Lovely to see this finished. It is a very peaceful quilt – surprisingly when hearing the background story to it. Sewing, piecing and quilting are all great ways to cope with life’s ups and downs.
    This quilt will be an inspiration to all the visitors at the show and it may very well give several the push it takes to start quilting their own quilts as well as pulling that embroidery unit out the bag they have been scared using. Thanks for sharing and I hope your autumn will be a quiet one.

  2. Sandy Says:

    This is exquisite! Thank you for sharing the back story and for encouraging others to keep plugging away, in spite of difficulty — whether it be with the quilt itself or with what’s going on in life.

  3. Jean Says:

    Simply beautiful and so inspiring. Quilting is indeed very therapeutic during life’s ups and downs.

  4. Nancy Says:

    Your quilt is just lovely. I know what you mean about all the memories stitched into a quilt. Thanks for sharing.

  5. LJ Says:

    It is a gorgeous quilt and, of course, your quilting is totally amazing.

  6. Diane Evans Says:

    Just fabulous, Patsy — a true work of art and perseverance.


  7. Karen Says:

    I’m so sorry that you had so much sadness to deal with–but you are a wonderful blessing to your family! Thank you for sharing that–we lost my parents within six months of each other–and it’s true that we stitch our stories into our quilts.

    I love this quilt–I think it’s one of my favorites of all of yours!

    May God bless you always!

  8. Suzy Webster Says:

    It’s stunning as always Patsy.

  9. Robbi Says:

    This is a lovely quilt, Patsy. As usual, I love how you quilted it. When we look at our quilts in the future we will see so many stories, memories–good and bad. Thanks for sharing.