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Even if the winter here in the middle of Germany is rather warm, I long for ice and snow. At least for the colors of them!
At Crabapple Hill Studios I'd found a beautiful quilt, I want to make something in that style.
So I got myself some fabric and embroidery-yarn (!). Another new technique - I haven't done any embroidery for several years (more decades). But I want to stitch the snowflakes and the ice crystals with yarn onto the fabric.
I love these blue and turquoise colors!
2nd step: to sew a lot of stars
That part was really fun. I made several stars of different sizes with all that beautiful fabric. One star is more beautiful than the next!
3rd step: embroidery!
I was surprised - the embroidery was very easy. I used the hexagon-ruler to draw six points onto the fabric. With the blue marker-pen I drew the ice-crystals (ok, I got some ideas for the crystals at pinterest) and than started the embroidery with all the different colors.
And it was much faster than I had suspected. I was afraid I might need two months - instead it took me two evenings for the big crystals who became separate blocks which I wanted to sew into the top.
4th step: to arrange all these blocks
How can I mix all the sewn blocks and the embroidery ones? I started on the table, but when I used two chairs I knew I was in trouble.
I didn't want to shift all the blocks on the floor. I know from the Internet that every serious quilter has a design wall. I don't want to make one - what would I do with it wenn I don't use it?
My solution: I took a fleece-blanket and three heavy books. I fixed the blanket with the books on the top book-shelf (I have no time for reading anyway right now!). The blocks stick to the blanket, as long as they are small enough.
When the blocks became bigger, I used some pins to support them.
I took the pictures during piecing the blocks together, sometimes with my mobile (bad quality), sometimes with the camera (good quality).
I think the finished top looks gorgeous!
5th step: the outer border
The outer border should look like ice floes. I tried stack'n slash, first with a leftover piece of fabric.
The finished block looked good to me, I made all the 24 blocks for the outer border that way (10x10 inch). The pictures show how I want to arrange these blocks around the center top:
6th step: panic
Only now I realized that I had combined 9 different fabrics, one white and 8 coloured ones. And 5 of the coloured fabrics are batics.
What will happen if the fabric bleeds onto the white fabric during washing? And since there is so much white in the top, I have to wash that quilt quite often! And I did not prewash any of them.
I made two placemats. Both about the same size, both with the ice floe-technic (I prefer that word to stack'n slash). I took wool for the batting and chose the same backing as I plan to use for the big quilt.
Since I still don't know how to quilt that very special quilt, I quilted one placemat with my sewing-machine, one by hand.
I chose a simple diamond-pattern for the machine-quilt and used nylon thread for the top.
I tried two different patterns for the hand-quilt: The left side I quilted along the seams. Of course that looks great with the white YLI-thread on the batics! The right side got a simple grid-pattern.
I like both of them, but the best is: I took all these pictures after I washed them - and no bleeding happend!
Now I can decide how to quilt the huge quilt without being afraid to invest so much time in handquilting only to discover that the batics bleed.
Speaking of investment - if I opt for handquilting, there will be an investment: I managed to bend two quilting needles for this little tiny placemat. These batics are very hard....
7th step: finish the top
Now I was relieved and could continue!
First I sewed the outer border (the ice floes) to the white center piece.
And than I added more embroidery. I put more ice crystals especially on the seams between center and outer border.
While I was waiting for the backing-fabric, it became clear that I had to handquilt that quilt. My quilt-friends supported that plan. This top is too special to run it through the machine.
8th step: Where is the quilt-frame?
One can put up the frame in three different sizes. I had used the middle one for the Civil War Sampler and the hydrangeas. But that is too small for this huge quilt - it measures 60 x 80 inches. And the backing and batting are even larger than that. There is no help - I have to put up the frame in the widest variation.
The frame-changing was no problem, the construction is really sophisticated. But where will I put that huge frame during quilting for the next months? My appartment is not that big - oh well, the bookshelves lost again!
To put these amounts of fabric onto the frame is no fun either. We managed the backing at the first try, but it took us 5 or 6 attempts for the top. No fun, no.
But now the quilt is on the frame and the frame in front of the books - let the quilting begin!
The quilt is finished!
I started handquilting in February 2015 and finished it at the end of August 2015.
The quilt is soooo beautiful. I washed it once already, everything looks still perfect.
Just click on the photos and enjoy!