On the Satisfaction of Finishing a Quilt

Often a WIP (work in progress) can go cold on one. That’s probably why this acronym has become part of quilting lore. It is also probably safe to say that all quilters have at least one WIP languishing in a drawer or box. I am too scared to count how WIPs I have, but I can say that this week one of them got completed.

Doortjie’s Stars. 142 x 89 cm.

Some of you may recognise these stars, as I have twice before written about them — in July 2018 after completing a workshop with Doortjie Gersbach on how to piece 13 different large stars and then a year later I posted a photograph of the pieced quilt top. I did sandwich it and started to hand quilt around the stars, but other projects got in the way and this quilt again went cold on me.

Having recently finished a set of quilts that were handstitched I felt drawn back to my sewing machine. This WIP sprung to mind after I saw a post on Instagram of an organically quilted work. Unfortunately I did not note the name of the maker and apologise for not crediting the source of my inspiration. I used my walking foot and stitched in wavy lines, starting from the centre of the quilt and stitched from top to bottom and then back up again. It was more relaxing than straight line quilting as one does not have to concentrate on keeping the lines evenly spaced. This method is also referred to as wavy line quilting. I am pleased I have discovered it.

First I practised on one of the star blocks that had not been included in the quilt. I did quilt the entire piece and the photograph of it half-stitched is to show the effect of the wavy quilted lines.

This gave me courage and so I boldy sewed black lines over the stars in the quilt top. But first I hand quilted around all the stars to stablise the quilt. This is another method that I recently stumbled on — a combination of hand and machine quilting, where the hand quilting obviates the need to tack or tension the quilt with pins.

The quilt before it was machine quilted (left) and the quilt when it was halfway through being organically quilted by machine.

And so another WIP is quilted and bound. Yay.

19 thoughts on “On the Satisfaction of Finishing a Quilt

  1. Another stunning creation Mariss! The stars really ‘pop’ against the dark background and I’m totally awed by the intricate piecing of the different stars. Thanks too for sharing the idea of ‘organic’ wavy line quilting.

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  2. It’s always good to notch off another WIP, isn’t it? This quilt is so pretty with those bright stars against the black background. I like the wavy stitching. I’m intrigued by the idea of hand stitching and machine stitching together; I might have to try that on one of my many WIPs. A nice finish, Mariss!

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  3. How wonderful to have deliberately wavy lines of sewing instead of inadvertently wavy lines (as when I sew) 🙂 The colourful stars are lovely – and they look to require a great deal of precision. I like the use of the smaller-sized stars in contrast to the large stars and the sort of Milky Way effect too. Will this finished quilt be finding a specific home?

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    1. Here’s to deliberately wavy lines! Yes, piecing stars does require precision, especially when it comes to getting perfect points. So, please don’t look too closely! The Milky way effect was a lucky chance as I happened to have a piece of fabric with small stars printed on it.
      So far this quilt does not have a home.

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      1. It is wonderful that so many serendipitous things come together so beautifully while making a quilt. And I agree – here’s to wavy lines.
        Confession – I recently made a bag using offcuts from a skirt that I shortened as it had a wavy hem. The favourite skirt wore out long ago but I kept the slim pieces and suddenly felt inspired to piece them together onto a backing fabric – using curvy (and wavy) lines. It worked out surprisingly well. The bag even has a special internal pocket for hand sanitiser – a most contemporary feature!

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  4. I like how the wavy irregular lines contrast with the precise stars. I think it softens what might be a very tight geometry feeling – the stars seems to waver a little and I like that a lot. Great work, I think.

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  5. The walking foot wavy line technique is the best! I’ve used it in a few pieces, but was always shy about admitting it as so many others are way more accomplished in the art of free-motion-quilting…a harder skill to master. You are master of both!
    Your implementation of it added to the fantastic idea to hand-quilt areas as a double duty deco-basting is genius. I also like your use of black thread.
    The before and after photos show how much that choice of quilting finished your WIP.
    Now for the next WIP?
    HA!

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  6. I’m surprised how much I like the black quilting. I would have expected it to overwhelm the colourful stars but it doesn’t. Perhaps because the background is also dark?
    I should follow your lead and finish some WIPs, I’m accumulating way too many quilt tops.

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  7. Congratulations on another WIP finish! How smart to practice on the star you did not include in the piece (which is a very nice block also). The piece is wonderful! I like the technique with the wavy lines and how bold to do black thread quilting and it totally works for the piece!

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