** Updated September 2019 **
This autumn quilt was a long time in the making. In a very-unlike-me move, I purchased the beautiful Sundrops fabric from a vendor at a quilt show in 2016. She had combined the prints with coordinating solids which I found to be such a clever and useful way to display the beauty of the fabrics that I bought a fat quarter bundle on the spot. Normally I look at fabric online for months before I decide to buy it, but the Sundrops stack was irresistible!
You know when you have a pile of fabric that you find soooo pretty that you can’t bring yourself to cut into it until you find the PERFECT project? That was my situation. For over a year. To me, the colours of this line scream “make me into the perfect autumn quilt!” So when fall rolled around last year, I began searching for inspiration. When I looked on Instagram for #sundropsfabric, I turned up this photo, and knew I wanted to copy it immediately! The pattern is called Heritage Square by Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co, but I’m sad to report that it doesn’t seem to be for sale anywhere anymore. Sorry to tease you!
As I worked away on this quilt, I watched a TONNE of Gilmore Girls episodes. Does that ever happen to you? That when you see a quilt, you’re reminded of which TV show / audio book you consumed while making it? Or is that just me?
A great idea for a gift
In any case, while sewing and listening to Lorelei jabber on, it occurred to me that this might make a wonderful quilt for my mother (maybe because of the mom / daughter themes?) Mum is really into autumn colours, so I thought this might suit her well and be a fun birthday present. But part of me was a bit nervous about the idea of gifting a large quilt without ANY input from the recipient. Maybe she wouldn’t want it! Maybe it was the perfect autumn quilt in my eyes, but not hers! I mentioned this to Ian, and he assured me that of course it would be a cherished gift.
And with that, I sewed on! I made a few adjustments to the pattern – namely that I replaced the house blocks with patchwork stars and added the pieced border only to the top and bottom of the quilt. I’ve said it before, and I stand by my position that square quilts just look WRONG to me!
The backing is a wideback Moda Grunge Hits the Spot with a pieced section. I couldn’t get enough of making those star blocks, so I made yet another variation and surrounded it with leftover pieces of Sundrops.
When it came time to quilt it, I really wasn’t sure what to do. I thought it would look lovely with an autumn-themed pantograph, but didn’t have the funds or the time to have it quilted on a long arm machine. I was scheduled to fly to Ottawa (and gift the quilt to Mum) one week from the date that I finished the top. Way to bring it down to the wire, Shelly!
What did I do? I decided that it was time to learn to free-motion quilt (FMQ)! I was sewing on a Juki TL-2010Q at the time (check out my review here), and they are well-known for their amazing FMQ capabilities. So I headed to the hardware store and bought some rubber-palmed gardening gloves and got to work! Is it the best example of FMQ? No way. Did I wish that I had left myself more than an afternoon to get through the whole quilt? Indeed. Does it turn out that FMQ is a workout? Heck yes. I ached for DAYS after!
*** I’m happy to report that I have since bought a long arm, and would be happy to help you avoid similar back and neck pain! Just check out my long arm quilting services page if you would like to learn more about my process. Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post! ***
I got it done, attached the binding later that day, and hand-stitched it to the back of the quilt with the remaining few days I had left. I’m happy to report that I flew to Ottawa with a completed quilt in my carry-on luggage. Huzzah! I was really happy with this beautiful autumn quilt, but was sad I’d have to part with it.
Mum’s unexpected reaction
When I showed it to Mum, she could not stop raving about the quality and the beautiful pattern. She loved it! But she also told me that what she would REALLY love would be a bed-sized quilt (and the one I had brought was a throw size). So we decided that I would make her a custom quilt with fabric and the pattern of her choosing. This would be a win for everyone – Mum would get the perfect quilt for her, and I would get to KEEP this amazing autumn quilt!!! Yessss!!!!
When I returned home, my thoughts turned to Christmas quilts (winter comes early around our neck of the woods), so I put it in a closet and thought to myself “I should really take a picture of this completed quilt next year in fall”. This quilt would look amazing next to a wheat field…. but did I manage that this year? Nope. Sigh.
Intro lesson to outdoor quilt photography
Last weekend I was feeling disappointed with myself for having missed my opportunity to take the “perfect photo” for this quilt. I wanted to share pictures of this finished project, but didn’t want to bother if they were going to be “less than”. Do you ever do that to yourself? Do you set standards that are arbitrary and limit your success? I definitely do, but I’m trying my best to stop!
I recognized that I was being silly, and decided that I would at least try to get a good shot of this beauty out in the wild. Ian and I took some back roads on our way home one day, and we found a little barn that I thought would make a great backdrop for this quilt’s photo shoot.
Now, let me be the first to tell you that taking pictures outside is more difficult than I had imagined. This was my first time attempting outdoor photos, and I struggled quite a bit to get these shots! I mentioned this on my Instagram account, but highlights of my adventure included:
- almost getting my car stuck in a field
- my phone dying after only five shots (it was really cold!)
- ripping a hole in the quilt on the barbed wire fence
- getting to wave at the passers-by who slowed down for a good look
- making it most of the way home before I realized I had forgotten my mittens there, and RETURNING to the scene!
Autumn quilt love
I love this perfect autumn quilt. I love that I got to keep it, and that I made the effort to photograph it in such a lovely location. The photos turned out so well that I will definitely attempt this again in the future (please remind me of this when I finish a project in February and it’s -40 degrees outside). In order to show this off to the world, I posted a picture to Instagram. And then I started to notice a REALLY HIGH rate of IG traffic and comments. It turns out that Corey Yoder (the designer of Sundrops!) had posted photos of both the quilt top and the quilt-in-the-wild! As a result, I saw a HUGE jump in the number of followers on Instagram!!
New here? Welcome!
If you’re here because of Corey’s support, thank you and welcome! I’d love for you to take a look around, and maybe check out a few of my other quilty posts such as this one about my Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt, this Trio of Granny Square Quilts and my Amalfi Buffalo Check Quilt.
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Thanks as always for your support, and for stopping by!