This is my favorite quilt I've made this year, so even though I already posted about it just a few weeks ago I want to feature it as my entry for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival
She's called Little Leaves.
Pattern: Little Leaves by Elizabeth Hartman
Time to complete: 7 Months
Fabrics: Kona white and various blues and green prints, many from Amy Butler Soul Blossoms
Quilting Style: Hand quilted using 4 colors of perle cotton
Recipient: My sister Jen
For the story behind the making of this quilt please check after the pictures!
I love my sister Jen. She's five years older than me but we've always been really close. This is the first quilt I've ever made for her since I'm relatively new to quilting, and I knew I wanted it to be spectacular. The first time I cracked the spine of my copy of The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman I knew I had found the perfect quilt pattern to make for my sister. Something fun and truly worthy of her.
I said above that the quilt took 7 months to complete but that's not entirely true. That's how long it took once I had the fabrics and actually got started. It takes me a while to be satisfied that I've gathered the right fabrics-- my husband calls me a "fabric snob". They have to be right. There needs to be a balance of tones and print sizes, it just has to be perfect. I probably gathered fabrics for this one for 6 months before I was content that I liked what I had, and the 16 different prints I used were edited down from probably more than 30 that I had gathered.
The process I came up with for making each block was relatively simple. After enlarging the template to the correct size I made a layout block that had marking where each of the 12 large and 12 small leaves would go in each block. I then laid my square of Kona white on top of that and since I could see through to the layout block I was able to lay out the leaves following the design.
After carefully tweaking the placement of fabric of each of the leaves I fused the design down and then started on the next block. 16 blocks later I machine appliqued each leaf down on the blocks, a process that took approximately a half hour for each block.
Once I had all the leaves on the blocks appliqued I pieced them all together and then made my quilt sandwich, using Kona white again for backing. I'm not 100% sure but I think I used Warm & Natural cotton batting for the batting. I basted the quilt for hand quilting using orange thread. I don't know why but I always seem to have an abundance of orange thread, so I always use it when basting quilts together.
And then came the hand quilting. Quite possibly the best part of the quilt. This is the part that took me so long. I hand quilted around each leaf with one of four shades of blue perle cotton. Quilting each block took upwards of 7 hours. I worked madly to get the quilt done before Christmas (I had started in October) but it wasn't meant to be. I had to take a break and get all the other gifts I had planned made. My sister flew in from Hawaii for Christmas so I gave her the quilt as it was and she loved it (at the time I was about half way done with the quilting).
After she left I worked on it occasionally, until I ran out of two colors of the blue. It probably took me 2 months to remember to take scraps of the threads with me when I went to the store so I could get replacements, but I finally did. After that I think it only took me another two weeks to finally complete this quilt, and once it was fully quilted putting the binding on was easy-peasy. There's something about putting on binding that I love. Maybe it's the feeling of accomplishment, but every time I sit down to hand sew binding I just feel so good about what I've made.
When it was done I washed and dried it and then went outside for its photo shoot. Let me tell you it's kind of hard to take a photo of bright colors on white that accurately show each color. So yeah, the photos don't do justice to the quilt, but I remember how beautiful it truly was so I'm okay with that. And It's already arrived at my sisters house in Hawaii and she's in love with it, and that's really all I could ask for.
I hope you like it!