Hand Quilting – Choosing your quilt top…lessons learned

Would you say you are a patient person or an impatient one? I think I tend to be more impatient than patient but I’m working on it. .

About this time every year Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville gets ready to release her annual mystery quilt. I always say I’m going to resist, but I never seem to be able to muster up the self-control to do so.

In 2014 Bonnie released her Grand Illusion mystery quilt.  I love Bonnie’s designs, but if I was really honest I’d have to say that this was not my favourite pattern. I ended up doing my own borders because the other ones with the pattern just didn’t ring my bells. 

I was thrilled when I actually finished the quilt top. This was before I had my APQS millennium.  
And I love hand quilting so I decided that I would hand quilt this one.

 Hand quilting stencils and thread are ready to go!

 All pin basted  and ready for the hoop.

I’ve been placing the flowers randomly over the course of the last four years.

When I look back I really wonder why on earth I decided to spend so many hours on a quilt that would be difficult to quilt because of all the intersections and on one that I really didn’t love. I just kept telling myself I would patiently add the stitches and it will be a lifetime project with no deadline in mind. Right?  Wrong! Along came and impatient moment recently where I had enough of staring at it and having it stare back at me nagging me to work on it. Don’t get me wrong; I love hand quilting but I just think I chose the wrong project this time. So after a lot of debate and actually asking for advice from some online hand quilters I made the decision to finish it on my long arm. I really wondered if I would regret this decision. I found a motif that I could continue in a random fashion across the top of the quilt which I had hoped would have the same feeling as the motif that I had chosen to hand quilt. Loading the quilt onto my long arm was not as difficult as I thought it would be and before long I was happily quilting away adding  flower motifs to my quilt top.

It only took me a little bit over a day to finish it. As I continued quilting these randomly placed motifs I could see that there were some spots between motifs that  needed something in them but I didn’t want to put in a full motif as it would have stitched over an existing one. As it is there were a couple of close calls in fact boo-boos where there are stitches overlapping but I’m not letting the quilt police in the door and I warned my daughter who is  the recipient of the quilt that she would have to let go of some OCD tendencies to really enjoy this quilt. 

I found some cute little motifs of butterflies and ladybugs that I could make smaller and I also made some of the flowers smaller just to fill in those little spots that needed a little something to tie it all together. 

Above is a mixture of hand quilting and machine quilting. 
The end result is that I was able to finish the quilt and give it to my daughter to finish binding because she loves doing that, and the quilt is now living on her bed and she cherishes it. 
I’m delighted to have it done and out of the UFO pile. 
Bonus: I had in my closet a whole cloth quilt that I really wanted to work on but I couldn’t give myself permission until this project was completed. So now I have pulled out my whole cloth quilt and I’m happily adding my stitches to that project. And no intersections! 

I didn’t start this quilt from scratch lest you think I’ve done all of this stitching. I actually purchased someone else’s UFO and am finishing it off. And Cooper is enjoying our time together. 

So that’s the story of how I finished my Grand Illusion mystery quilt UFO. I’m so happy to cross another long-standing project off the list.
Until next time, I’ve got some slow stitchin’ to keep me busy. 
Mavis 
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One comment on “Hand Quilting – Choosing your quilt top…lessons learned
  1. i love bonnie's patterns and quilts but being primarily a hand quilter they are just too difficult to hand quilt….she does have some simpler patterns aka fewer pieces in her books tho…love your whole cloth!

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