Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wholehearted Quilt



I have a new favourite quilt! Every fabric used in my Wholehearted quilt is designed by Umbrella Prints, a small Australian textile house which specialises in GOTS certified organic printed fabrics. You may be familiar with Umbrella Prints from their annual Trimmings Competition.




The initial inspiration for this quilt was Shelby's Quarter Squared quilt. However instead of creating pattern from piecing solids I wanted to achieve a variety of effects using a small number of versatile prints. The eye-catching 'Grand Hearts in Smokey Black' by Umbrella Prints seemed a good choice as a focal point. This fabric has been carefully cut and used in four different ways - as the central motif, a thin inner border, a wide strip of chocolate-drop shapes along top and bottom and also for a narrow binding.

Of the seven different fabrics used, two are regular quilting weight (Fanflower on Clay, Brush Strokes on Olive Gold) while the other five have been screen printed by hand in Australia onto a heavier weight organic base fabric of 55% hemp/45% cotton (230 gsm). These hemp/cotton fabrics have a sturdy thick/compact texture with a low tendency to fray. They are also quite soft to the hand and iron well. The Perfect Circles floral above has a slightly rougher/looser texture than all the other hemp/cottons.

Using thicker 12wt threads for all the piecing adds durability to this quilt of mixed fabric weights.


Machine quilting along each seam (in the ditch) holds everything firmly in place. Again I used colour matched 12wt threads, paired with a regular cotton thread in the bobbin for minimal visibility on the back. 

Then the pleasure of hand quilting began. The central heart was quilted using two strands of each DMC 924 and 930 mixed together. All other quilting was done using DMC's strong Cebelia 30 which is often used for crochet. Much of the quilt is simple straight line quilted, accentuating the classic Courthouse Steps design. Other sections are quilted following the lines of the printing to highlight individual fabrics. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to hand quilt the thicker hemp/cotton fabrics. The texture which hand quilting produces is wonderful to the eye and the hand.





Grand Hearts in Smokey Black was my first choice for binding but I had reservations about binding in this heavier weight fabric - would it give a finish which was too stiff? Then I had the idea of using single fold binding instead of the usual double fold! It worked perfectly giving the thin line edge I was after, firm enough to support the edge yet soft enough to still drape nicely. 


I find the screen prints quite fascinating to look at. The colour of the Smokey Black Grand Hearts can appear black, green, indigo or blue according to the light and angle. The white print of the Perfect Circles floral can blend in, being almost invisible, or stand out as if glowing, depending on how the light hits it. 




It took the longest time to decide how to quilt these grand heart/drops. The expanse of screen printed ink makes the fabric a little stiff and I didn't want to spoilt the luscious puffiness of smokey black. I chose to hand quilt around the outside of the heart/drops in the Cecelia, however as my organic batting has no scrim, a little more quilting was needed to hold it securely. In the end I have decided to blind quilt each one (is that such a thing) using doubled regular cotton thread to echo quilt from the back, stitching through the backing and batting only, not penetrating the front/top at all.


So that's the story of Wholehearted. There is so much about this very Australian quilt which I treasure and I have thoroughly enjoyed creating it from start to finish - definitely a keeper!


Sharing at Amy's Creative Side Blogger's Quilt Festival:
Small Quilt section (Finished size 54" x 56")
Just completed, it's been my creative focus for the last four weeks.

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24 comments:

Jan A. said...

This quilt is beautiful. The fabrics are gorgeous. Love the way the all play together.

Zenia Rene said...

What a marvelous creation!

Maryse said...

What a beautiful quilt Karen, the quilting is exquisite!

the momma said...

I love it, Karen!! I especially love all of your quilting (no surprise there ;-) I am, however, surprised that quilting through those thicker fabrics wasn't trickier. Very clever to secure the batting to the backing fabric only.

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

What a beautiful quilt Karen!

Dirk Rosin said...

very nice !

Kirsten said...

Absolutely stunning Karen! The fabrics are beautiful and your lovely hand quilting sets them off perfectly.

Susan said...

Beautiful work Karen. Love seeing the detailed photos and the thoughts and inspiration behind the design. Lovely!

Michelle said...

Your detail work is fantastic. The navy color in this quilt is a favorite of mine. Bravo!

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Thanks Tracy (the momma). I was concerned about quilting through the thicker fabrics too and began with minimal quilting but decided to add extra rows as it looked better and wasn’t too hard. Very pleased I did now. I usually quilt one stitch at a time - not stab stitching, just in and out once on the needle. I do this three or four times then draw the whole length of thread through. I find this avoids pulling/puckering in the back and is easier on my fingers too. Using this technique meant the thicker fabric wasn’t too tricky.

Liz said...

Another fabulous quilt, Karen! I love the colours and prints. I agree... definitely a keeper!

Heather said...

Beautiful quilt, such clever use of the large heart print, and even in photos the texture looks scrumptious.

Julie said...

I love this - thought it was nab=vy not black. So glad you are keeping it.

Erica Sta said...

Wow, dear Karen. I'm a Long Time ago a Fan of your needlework. But this work today is fantastic! It's artwork. I would like to ask you for an interview for My blogsite, if you kindly like.

Many greetings from Augsburg 🤗

Mary Col said...

Beautiful colors, very elegant quilt!

Sarmatix said...

It's beautiful! Design, colors, the way of making. Greetings Justyna.

Patchwork and Play said...

And keep it you should! What a delightful quilt Karen! I love the simplicity of both the design and the yellow/grey colour palette! Beautiful finish!

Sue said...

This is such a beautiful quilt! Good luck!

Susan said...

a real beauty! Would love lovely on a bright coloured chair!!

Lisa Gordon said...

Karen, this is MAGNIFICENT!!
I think this may be my very favorite of all your wonderful work I've seen here.
Truly such a beauty.

Paige said...

Stunning medallion quilt! Beautiful effect mixing the two shades of blue!

Lou O said...

So gorgeous!

Preeti said...

I love this color palette and the wonderful hand stitching! What a beautiful quilt, Karen!!

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Thank you Preeti, I really enjoyed making it and still have it in our living room as I enjoy looking at it daily.

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