It’s been almost two years in the making. The longest I’ve ever worked on a quilt. Now it’s true the first year was a quilt along, I had to wait every week for two blocks. Then I realized that I don’t like such a busy sampler. So I started making Hawaiian applique blocks, each one taking a long time since I was sewing by hand. Needle turn applique. I thought I’d try to hand quilt around the applique. Yeah, right! It’s probably been 20 years since I’ve done hand quilting. I even went and bought a quilting hoop! No go! Within five minutes I realized that I couldn’t do it. Maybe I could do it on one block, but the quilt was heavy and unwieldy. Echoing the shapes on the machine worked out just fine.I only used 26 of the hundred blocks on the front of the quilt. So most of the rest ended up on the back. Sure if I had bordered each block they might have stood out more, but this is why I don’t like samplers made of small blocks. There really is no place for the eye to rest.Of course, the quilting has no relationship to the blocks on the back, which also means – no focal point.But for the back of a quilt – this is impressive. It also makes the quilt much heavier – all those seams and thread. Since this is going to be my snuggle on the couch quilt – both sides will be visible. The small blocks all got a lot of detailed quilting. The border bands got none, which means they stand out as real frames. I used wool batting which was wonderful to quilt with, really smooth. It does give the quilt more loft, definitely more than cotton.I’m very pleased with the result. I shared this image on the Splendid Sampler Facebook page. Pat Sloan herself commented on it. She really liked how I made the project work for me. It’s not about having cookie cutter quilts, it’s about personalizing the project.I embroidered a simple label, after all the work, I simply wasn’t up to making an elaborate label.
So what did I learn from this project? I improved on certain skills, like paper piecing. While working on the blocks I realized that I want to do more applique, which led to the needle turn Hawaiian blocks. Having done them, I think I’m ready to move on to other kinds of applique. I like the hand-sewing, I just think I’m done with Hawaiian style blocks.
I realized that sampler quilts aren’t my thing, but I am very very pleased with my solution and my ability to use most of the blocks.
I don’t think I’ll be doing any more mystery quilt-alongs. I have too many ideas of my own to work on. All in all, a great experience and another unique, warm handmade quilt in my collection.