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Looking back

If you have read my blog before you’ll know how much I love the work of Sarah Fielke, needle turn appliqué, traditional designs using modern bright fabrics and quilts with lots of white. This quilt is all of those things.

The design is called Looking Back by Sarah Fielke and is from the wonderful book Material Obsession Two. In the book Sarah says “the bird in the centre medallion of the quilt is looking back through time to a more traditional quilt”. When I first read this sentence it was a light bulb moment for me to describe the style of quilts that I love the most.

This was one of my longer term projects – I started it over 2 years ago. The fabrics are all from Patchwork on Central Park in Melbourne. The appliqué is hand needle turn and the saw tooth borders, strip borders and blocks are machine pieced. It is 70″ square. Sarah’s original pattern had a lovely large scale wide print border and more birds in the corners. I changed mine to have another border repeating the large corner flowers and tulips.

I machine quilted it myself which was a bit of a drama at times. I don’t think I’m great at machine quilting, but hand quilting would have taken me years and a professional service would have required custom quilting which can be expensive. I chose a simple cross hatch to make it easier.

I didn’t quilt over any of the appliqué. Some of the appliqué pieces such as the large corner flowers are pretty large so they can look a bit puffy. I’m obviously not very good at basting as the backing fabric has folds in quite a few places and on quilts this big I always have this problem no matter which basting tutorials I follow. I chose a high loft batting as I wanted the quilt to be soft and snuggly, however this means it’s very puffy in between the cross hatches. About half way through the quilting I was really worried I’d ruined the whole thing and there’s no way I would rip out that many seams without damaging the fabric. The wise Mr Tortoise told me I was being too harsh on myself, to keep going and wait until it was complete to decide how much of a “disaster” it was. So it hibernated in the cupboard for a few months so I could have a break from it. Then over two days I got serious and got quilting and got it finished. I washed all the blue marker off and you know what? I LIKE it!

I love how fresh and happy it is. I love all those leaves. I love the sawtooth borders. I love the orange.

This quilt was made for a wedding gift for my cousin who is also a wonderful friend. Yes their wedding has been and gone, as has their first wedding anniversary! They have been wonderfully patient waiting for me to finish it. We are about to go to their place for lunch and to gift it. I really really hope they love it and forgive me the parts of the quilt that are a bit amateurish!

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