Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Floating Squares

My dad and his wife recently built a new house on their property at Crooked Lake. It's beautiful and along with the new house, they furnished it with a lot of new furniture. Including a new bed for their master bedroom which happened to be a California King. (In case you don't know, California Kings are HUGE!) So for Christmas, I gave them a personalize coupon for my quilting services.

(Yes, it's like being 6 again. One coupon = free hug.)

But I knew how much a quilt would mean to them and I wanted to make them something to match the decor of their new lake home. They were very excited about the present except that my dad stressed he wanted the quilt to be big. To fit his big bed. Like big enough to hang over the edges of the running boards and tuck his pillows in.

The largest quilt I've ever made was queen sized, about 115 X 110. But armed with my trusty new sewing machine (with 10 inch harp space!) I was confident that I would be able to quilt this monster of a quilt - all 130 X 120 inches of it. My dad's wife picked the colors and pattern - Floating Squares from the Piece of Pie Layer Cake Friendly Quilt Patterns book. Luckily I had access to the pattern and though I didn't have layer cakes, I had lots of brown and green scraps to make the quilt. I only had to purchase fabric for the borders and backing.

I always wash my quilts before giving them away. I love the crinkly look! With this quilt being so big, it took several cycles in the dryer so it's extra crinkly for now. Those wrinkles will smooth out soon. Usually I have someone hold up my quilts for photo opps but this quilt was so big and heavy - I can't believe how heavy it is! - that I ended up just taking photos of it on the bed.

Here's a close up of the decorative stitch I used in the borders.  I should have taken some photos of the quilting in the top; oops, I didn't think of that.

I like the decorative stitches - and my fancy machine has over 250 - but I probably won't use them very much. They are pretty small and don't show up well. But it's still fun to play with them every once in a while. The quilting I chose for the top was an overall continuous right angles. The chevron border has zig zag quilting. I was nervous about quilting such a big quilt but it went really well. I would estimate that the top (without the borders) only took about 6 - 7 hours. Not bad for such a big quilt!

I did have to piece the batting which wasn't fun - there was so much of it. Laying it out to baste proved to be a difficult. I felt like it was too big for my kitchen table. And the thought of pinning it all over was dreadful. (Because it's so big!) So I decided to use 505 basting spray that I learned about in Rachel's Stitched in Color Blog. Only I didn't have any place in my house to lay out the quit. (Because it's so big!) So I took it to work with me one day and commandeered a conference room. Some friends helped me lay it out and we were able to baste it in less than hour. I will definitely use the basting spray for other quilts but luckily, my next few projects are baby quilts and wall hangings.