Monday, November 18, 2013

Milky Way

This quilt was started in 1995 when I took a class from the national teacher Sharyn Craig at the Utah State Quilt Guild annual meetings. The class was called "Four and More."  My mom and sister-in-law JoAnn also took the class. They are the ones who picked out the fabric. (These are not my colors.) They wanted to make it scrappy.

 We went to class with lights and darks cut out in 2 inch strips and 3 1/2 inch strips. Then we made different units with our pieces. Each new unit finished at 3 inches. They were whole squares, half square triangles, four patches, and half square rectangles.  

Once we had our units we took them over to our own design wall and designed a quilt using our small blocks. The quilt I designed looks absolutely nothing like this finished quilt. I used a lot of the half square triangles and made a diamond in the middle. Then it had chevron-type things coming out from the center. The corners were scrappy light squares. Then it was going to have pieced borders. Four of these units were going to go together to make the quilt. Here is my original diagram: 

I started this quilt that weekend using my sister's sewing machine. Once I got home from the annual meetings I had to put the quilt aside. I had to focus on my schoolwork and other quilts. When I was in my advanced sewing class in high school I had a time when I could work on anything I wanted. So I brought this quilt to school and sewed it on the school machines.  

I soon learned an important lesson: always check your scant quarter inch! The school machines were not accurate at all, and my seams were too big. Once I tried to sew it together, the old section and the new section were nowhere near the same size. I got very frustrated and put it aside again.

A few years later (2002), I decided to pull it back out. I unpicked the part with the large seams and pressed the squares. They were falling apart at the edges, and I didn't want to reuse those pieces. The quilt got put aside. again. (With all these setbacks it is amazing I even have a finished quilt!)

Later, I was looking through the book Quilts from The Quiltmaker's Gift.

I saw this milky way pattern and realized it used a lot of the same units from my four and more class. I completely scrapped my original plan and decided to make this.

 I changed it up a little, and had the four patches match the friendship star they are next to. This makes the blocks look similar to a snail's tail quilt. I decided to keep the lights scrappy. 

I soon finished the top and added the borders. I gave my mother all the extra pieces, so she could use them in her quilt from the same fabrics. (She still hasn't touched them, because she has made so many wedding and grandchildren quilts.) Once again, my quilt got put aside until I could quilt it.

In 2004 I decided to quilt it on my new grace frames. I got this cute bee fabric to put on the back.
I just quilted it in a loopy line over the blocks and second border in a neutral thread.

In the skinny border, I quilted a double wave that reminds me of rope. I quickly put the binding on and was so excited that this was no longer a UFO. It only took 9 years from start to finish.

This quilt will always remind me of the fun times with my mom and sister-in-law. Even though the colors are not my favorite, I still love the quilt. I call this quilt my Milky Way after the pattern in the book.

Quilt Stats #19
Name: Milky Way
Pattern: from the book Quilts from The Quiltmaker's Gift
Size: about 70 x 87 inches
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Date finished: 2004
What I learned:
  • Always check your scant quarter inch seam, especially if you use more than one machine to make a quilt.
  • It is okay to let the quilt evolve from your original plan.
Has something like this ever happened to you?


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