First things first–it’s time for me to announce the winner of a PDF edition of Krista’s Starcrossed pattern! According to Random.org, the winning comment is number 10, which is Lee! I’ll be in touch with your copy of the pattern!
It’s been a while since I took part in Finish it up Friday over at Amanda Jean’s Crazy Mom Quilts. To be honest, I haven’t had that many finishes recently that I could share. This one, though, I’m particularly excited about.
I first got the idea of doing a chairs quilt from the many wonderful sampler quilts that are out there on the internet. Since most of my quilts are appliqué on a whole-cloth background, I was curious about doing a sampler-style quilt using appliqué. I am a bit of a “decorative arts”
snob advocate, and I remember when I first got the idea to do such a quilt using icons of the so-called decorative arts–chairs–as the subject. I love chairs because their forms, since they must be useful, are so abstract. I love what different artists and traditions have done to make the chair so beautiful–an object worthy of contemplation that, at the same time, can serve as a site for contemplation. Plus, my brother-in-law is a furniture maker and asked for a quilt as a wedding gift, so I had a ready-made excuse reason to indulge my vision of a chairs quilt. (You can see his fantastic work here).
When I heard about the Colorful Peppered Cottons challenge sponsored by Studio E Fabrics–from my local quilt shop, Janie Lou–I was presented with a perfect fabric choice and a deadline for my vision. The Peppered Cottons are a joy to work with–super soft, perfect for a quilt to curl up under. In addition, their chunky, linen-like texture reminded me of upholstery fabric (especially the upholstery of mid-century modern seating), so it was perfect for a quilt focusing on furniture. In the same vein, the Peppered Cotton colors lent themselves particularly well to this project, and I’m incredibly happy with how it turned out.
In keeping with the heavier, more tactile feel of the fabrics, I used Aurifil Lana wool thread to embroider around each appliqué. I used two strands of thread in the needle, which gave me a final stitch just a bit thicker than my usual three strands of cotton floss. When the quilt is washed, the wool in the thread will felt, giving each chair a more pronounced outline while maintaining the graphic appearance of the quilt as a whole (and protecting the loosely woven cotton fabric beneath).
I quilted around each chair silhouette using Aurifil 40 wt. thread that matched the background fabric, and then quilted its square in closely-spaced parallel lines. Since I usually quilt on a white background, this was one of my first experiences quilting with “matching thread,” and I love how the Aurfil blends with the background fabrics! I also love how the texture of the quilting contrasts with the outlines of the chairs on the back of the quilt, for which I used contrasting off-white thread.
From it’s inception, I’ve been considering offering this pattern as a free Block of the Month quilt-along here on the blog. Would any of you be interested in that? Selfishly, it would give me a chance to share a bit about the design and history of each of the featured chairs (and it would also give me a chance to make a second version of this quilt to keep for myself!)
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!