Whole Cloth Hand Quilted Quilt

This month’s Aurifil Artisan challenge was a whole cloth quilt. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to do organic hand quilting. This is something that I’ve wanted to try for a while but didn’t have the push to do so, until now!

Although hard to capture correctly in photographs, the top fabric is a Windham Artisan Cotton Solid Aqua/White. I love the softness and lovely drape of Artisan Cottons! Huge thank you to Windham for providing this fabric for me to play with!

When thinking about the threads I would use, I went for colorful-but-subtle. From far away, you can see the the stitching lines but the actual thread color is hard to distinguish. Come in close, though, and you can see a myriad of colors! I used six thread colors in all in Aurifil 12 weight: 5021, 2615, 2564, 5016, 4644, 5008.

I didn’t have a structure when it came to which thread I used. I cut a long length of the first color and stitched until the thread ran out. Then I switched to the next color. Instead of a specific repeating color order, I picked threads based on how I wanted the colors to flow. For example, the blue and green threads are the darkest, and the tan, grey, and purple threads are all fairly light and similar. My goal was to spread out the dark threads by interspersing the light ones between them to keep an area from being too heavy or noticeable.

To start stitching, I first started by drawing one line with my hera marker onto my quilt sandwich. I stitched this line, then continued by stitching subsequent lines. I mostly followed the first line’s path, sometimes varying the distance to keep things interesting. I kept stitching, stopping once in a while to check how the quilting was progressing. If I knew I wanted to change direction, I would draw a new line with my hera marker to provide a guide for the new path. My goal was to keep my stitching looking fluid, I didn’t want harsh angles or breaks.

The backing is an evergreen woven cotton from a local store. I think one of my favorite things is the fact that the thread colors play so differently on the backing than the front. What stands out on the front is mostly hidden in the backing, and vice versa. It provides a great point of interest.

I used Hobbs 80/20 batting, which is my go-to for hand-quilting. With the woven cottons on the front and back, this is turning out to be the coziest quilt I’ve made and has been a joy to hand stitch while watching tv in the evenings. I’m only about halfway done with my quilt, which will finish at about 72″ x 80″, a very generous throw size. Overall, I’m super pleased with this whole cloth quilt, and think there might be more in my future! Although stitching takes a while, since it is organic it is more freeing than following strict lines. The result is subtle but beautiful, and would be at home in many living room styles.

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