Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sayuri quilt

Here is another quilt I finished a few days ago. It's called Sayuri, after the main character in Memoirs of a Geisha. It's for my sister-in-law, and I started it on Sunday of last week, discovering I only had a week to finish it. It's about 65"x 80".
I didn't use a pattern for this quilt. I picked up these four great prints from Joann's in the beginning of the year. All four of these are by Alexander Henry, and you can see some of them online, but I will list the three large scale prints here as well:
I had originally intended to make a kimono quilt, but since I only had a week, I decided on a more simple design.
I used about 1.5 yard lengths of the large three patterns, cutting the blue center panel the widest, and then the other two more narrow. I added the small gold star print as borders, which really helps blend the overall look of this quilt. Since the scale is so large, it was hard to decide how big to make the blocks, but it seems to work well.
For the back, I found a cute print by Michael Miller with a black background printed with large wheelbarrows filled with flowers. I think the print is discontinued, but you can find tons of Asian inspired prints on the Michael Miller website. I used an 80/20 cotton/synthetic batting, which is light and fluffy.
When it came to quilting, I was surprisingly at a loss. I quilted in the ditch along all the borders to keep the large quilt together. Then, I quilted loops on the crane fabric--using black thread, only in the background, blends in well and emphasizes the cranes just a little. I used a light blue thread in the background of the center panels, and red thread in the bamboo rushes as well. Then, I loaded up my machine with fuchsia silk thread, and set my machine on the eyelet program. I sewed an eyelet in the center of every flower in the floral and center panels.
I bound the quilt by machine with Moda bias binding (I love that stuff) in burgundy. Then, to finish the quilt and add flair, I sewed Swarovski crystals into the large flower centers with invisible thread. It adds just a touch of sparkle to a pretty quilt, and it emphasizes the metallic gold on the prints.

Finished Mocca & Kleo

I finally finished the Alexander Henry quilt. It took forever to quilt the thing (even by machine). Next time, I won't do each block individually. It measures about 52"x 70".
The design was very easy to complete--just cutting rectangles and assembling them in a chevron shape. I used fleece for the backing, and no batting. I don't think I'll use cheap fleece again--at least not on a quilt this densely quilted. It turned out a little stiff for my taste--I think the fleece gets scrunched together in the quilting process. I've used it before, with terrific results, but it must depend on how densely you quilt.
I used a Sashiko design from my embroidery machine to embroider the flowers around the border of the quilt. This was a time consuming process, as well, since the maximum area I can embroider is 6x10. I only could do two flower designs at a time.
Then, I used variegated red, black and yellow thread, and also plain white, to free-motion quilt in each block. I did the same quilting design in each fabric, and some came out better than others. But it's done, and it's a perfect size for building forts!