Last week I finished a quilt I had been working on for three years. Okay, maybe technically two years and seven months, but still it’s taken a while. The quilt is a wedding gift for two very dear friends of mine. When they got engaged I asked them if they would mind if I made them a wedding quilt, they said no, they’d love one, and so I got cracking. Since they only had a three month engagement my friends knew it would take me a while to finish the quilt. Aside from knowing a quilt was on the way and that it would be really scrappy in blues and greens they didn’t know what to expect. I never showed them my designs or fabrics. I think in the last several months my friend had only seen maybe two of the partially completed blocks while her husband had seen nothing. So in a way it was a surprise. Progress pictures!
I met my friend during the course of grad school. Suffice to say that she and I are both very nerdy and very crafty. Any quilt for her and husband would have to be something really special, something I’d never tried before, and a design that could incorporate all my nerdy herpetologist friendly animal prints. So I wound up making a modified jar quilt. My friend actually introduced me to jar quilts, something I had never heard of before. I didn’t want to do just the jars on a shelf routine of most jar quilts, I wanted something more eclectic that could use up more prints so I decided on a combination of split rail blocks (for motion), framed rectangles, and jars.
Since I had three different block types I was able to stave off boredom but in choosing this design I also made things much more complicated. I quickly realized after I started working on this project that I lacked the technology to actually finish the quilt the way I wanted. I knew I wanted to border the jars in glow-in-the-dark thread (something my friend loves) but I needed a special type of needle to prevent a thread and temper snapping experience. I also knew that I wanted to do an allover quilting design but it wasn’t until this past March that I actually got a darning foot and figured out how to use it. Before all that I had to finish all the blocks too which proved a long process in the midst of finishing my graduate degree, moving states, getting a job, and moving domiciles. Life does frequently get in the way of crafting I’ve noticed.
If you’ve read some of my previous posts about my quilting adventures then you know that I tend to go for broke on quilt size. At ~twin size this wedding quilt is the smallest human size quilt I’ve made but it turned out somewhat larger than I thought it would. Can you believe that I had originally envisioned this to be a small throw? Hah! I blame the fabric. There was just too much awesome fabric in my stash that I knew my friend and her husband would love.
With this project I was committed to using fabrics from my stash more than anything else. Yes, I did give into temptation a few times, snapping up a print at a store that would be just perfect for her or something that I figured he would like. But I actually was pretty good. When it came to the back I grabbed some leftover jar blocks and split rail blocks, two packs of blue and green blender fat quarters I happened to have, and some other large scraps to put the above together.
I used an allover quilting technique as I had hoped to do with an olive green thread. I like the texture it gives the quilt and I think it blended well with the variety of colors involved. Rather than quilt the jars I quilted around them then put a tie made of glow-in-the-dark embroidery floss in the center of each jar. Hopefully when my friends turn out the lights it will look like a bunch of fireflies twinkling on their quilt. The above picture also shows my interpretation of the shelf design typical of most jar quilts. If you look carefully you will see a thin strip of brown batik that the froggy jar is resting on. The brown blends really well with the dark green so you have to be looking carefully to see the shelf.
I made my own binding, double edged but narrow, out of a twinkly green print I bought way too much of years ago. I have enough left over to bind another whole quilt. I zig-zagged the binding on and I think it turned out well. I like how it frames the quilt, almost blending into the blocks.
There it is, the completed quilt above. It won’t cover their bed but it will cover the two of them during movie nights and have room to spare for their dogs and cat. It is machine washable and dryer friendly so I’m confident it will last for years to come. Since the best way to store a quilt long term is in a cotton sack and that is also the best way to gift wrap a quilt the last thing I did was make them a stuff bag.
This project was a lot of fun even though it was a challenge. I busted my stash of greens and blues. I even made a noticeable dent in my pile of animal fabrics. I have quite a few jars leftover too so I’ll be pondering how to use those up in future. I gave the quilt to my friends recently and they both love it; I couldn’t be happier.
Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions about the techniques I used, dear readers, I’ll do my best to answer them in the comments section. Happy crafting and creating!