Wedding Quilt by Donna Hussain, 120”x130”
My daughter recently married and asked me to make a quilt for her as my wedding present. How could I refuse her request?
Over a period of several months I sent the newlyweds sample pictures of quilts that I thought might appeal to them. Their final choice was a quilt design that I found in a Keepsake Quilter newsletter (www.keepsakequilter.com). The pattern has large-scale patchwork blocks that are easy to sew. However I decided to add side extensions to the floor and a pillow tuck of my own design to the queen-size quilt. With these additions the quilt grew quite large.
To sew the quilt on my home sewing machine I chose the method of quilting-on-the-go. That is to say I would first join and machine quilt the center blocks of the pattern, then add rows of patchwork blocks to encircle the center. In this quilting method each added section, usually one or two rows of patchwork blocks, is machine quilted before adding additional sections to the quilt top. For detailed stitching directions read How To Machine-Quilt A Large Bed Quilt On A Home Sewing Machine, an article I wrote earlier for this blog.
Pieced quilt center ready for quilting
The major problem in sewing a large quilt is handling the bulk of the fabric and batting. I do not have a quilting studio or a long arm quilting machine. My quilting hobby occupies half of the master bedroom that I share with my husband. The surface for my domestic sewing machine, cutting boards, and sewing supplies is a door purchased from Home Depot that sits on table legs. The only way I can machine quilt a large quilt is to quilt-on-the-go.
My work space
Two rows added to one end of quilt center, ready for quilting.
Joined rows ready for machine quilting
Marking the machine quilting pattern
Edge blocks ready for quilting
Close-up of machine quilting pattern
After completing the quilt center I added a narrow brown and blue frame to the center design. The squiggly free motion quilting pattern that I chose for the blue stripe required movement of the fabric (changes of stitching direction) while sewing, a flexibility that was possible when quilting the blocks along the edges of the quilt.
Fabric frame of quilt center
Machine quilting the blue stripe
Next, I added one of the sides to the bedspread. I cleared my dresser for workspace when smoothing out the wrinkles as I bundled the back, batting, and patchwork together. Note that the bulk of the quilt center is lying on the floor.
Bundling the patchwork side blocks with batting and back.
Preparing a side for quilting
Quilting the side
Checking the look of the attached side
Once the two sides of the quilt were attached and quilted I worked on the section for the foot of the bed. This addition has the same pattern as the sides but needed additional blocks at both ends so that the section would extend the full width of the quilt.
Preparing the end section for quilting
End section quilted
The final hurdle before completing the quilt was to add the pillow tuck. My choice of design was blue and green stripes because stripes would be easy to quilt. Believe it or not, the pillow tuck caused me more problems than any other part of the project because I failed to get the back smoothed and stretched adequately before machine quilting. The result? Back puckers. Correcting my carelessness caused me many hours of “reverse sewing” and stress.
Last week I presented the wedding quilt pucker free and complete with binding to my daughter and son-in-law who are celebrating their first anniversary. Their appreciation is reward for all the time and effort I spent making their wedding quilt.
California quilter, Donna Hussain, has exhibited in major quilt shows around the country, authored books, and is a regular contributor to Fiber Focus. Click on her name to see all of her past articles.
The photo shows Donna with her husband, Pascha.