Quilts  :  Mustard and Black Amish


I've finally finished my Mustard and Black Amish Center Diamond Quilt.  It took almost two years; just two months shy.  The last of the binding was whipped-stitched this morning.  An hour later I was at the local laundramat nervous as all hell while I waited for the quilt to be washed.  I don't think I've ever worried about washing a quilt, but then I've never hand-quilted a project of this size and scale.  I was certain that the commercial washer was going to destroy all of my hard work.  Well the quilt survived (I know, shocking) and was then folded and bagged for the trip home.  I didn't want to take the chance that it would shrink in the dryer, so I laid it over the couch to air dry.  Once dry I fluffed it in the dryer on the "no heat" setting.  I am happy to report that the quilt is soft and yummy!  It looks fabulous on the bed, but I had to fold it up and put it away.  It's not time to put it on the bed, especially while my mom is away on vacation.  photos to follow...


Today I finished the quilting on my mustard and black Amish Center Diamond Quilt. I also pre-washed the binding fabric and cut 2.5 inch strips. While the fabric was in the washer I removed the leaders from the quilt. I was hoping for a dramatic change in the look of the quilt without the leaders, but there wasn't any. I'm going to have to wait until the binding is on and the batting/backing have been trimmed, and then I'll see the transformation. I managed to get the binding strips pieced together and the binding sewed to the quilt top (mitered corners of course!). For the 2.5 inch strips I'm hoping for a half inch binding. The binding was sewed with a regular quarter-inch seam allowance and the batting/backing were trimmed 1/2 inch from the sewing line. I'm ready to start whip-stitching the bind tomorrow.


I've just rotated the quilt for the last time.  That is to say the quilting is approximately 75% complete, and I'm just so excited I can't stand it!  I'm totally motivated to work on the quilting as much as possible as I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.  My wonderful husband is adding to the excitement by making us a new pencil post bed! He should have it finished by Christmas.


Oh man it's been a long time since I've been back!  Well I can report that I have been quilting, though it's been at more of a slow and stready kind of pace.  I had to take a little time off during tax season (ugh - glad that's over), but at this point the quilt is almost 62.5% completed.


One year and three days since I started quilting, and I just passed the 50% complete mark!  All I can say is, "jeez this is taking a long time."   Seriously though, I can't imagine not having a long-term project to work on.  It's very comforting and I'm already thinking about the next large project.  I'm not in any hurry to finish, and that's a good feeling.


Two weeks and two days later the quilting is now 38 percent complete.  


It took almost 11 months, but the quilting on my mustard and black amish quilt is now 25 percent complete.  The green lines displayed on this image show the actual progress. I hope to have the quilting 50 percent complete within the next few months LOL.


I thought I'd go ahead and post photos of my new nightstands, courtesy of my wonderful husband.  The lamps are a Christmas gift from my mom, and really make the room POP.  All that remains are the wall decor, a coat of paint for the maple dresser, a bedskirt made from mustard and black ticking and my finished amish quilt!  I hope it doesn't take more than another year to complete (fingers-crossed).


Here's how the quilt looks today.  I'd say it's about 15 percent complete.

Using the image at the right as a guide, you can see exactly which of the quilting lines are finished and what direction I'm heading...

For example, the red lines indicate the original 8 inch grid which was quilted.  I created a 4 inch grid, shown in the blue, by dividing each of the 8 inch grids in half.   Finally the green lines show the 1 inch grid.

I'm currently working on the 1 inch grid (green) moving from left-to-right, on the bottom-half of the quilt.  Once I get to the right-side, the quilt will be 25 percent completed.



Today I finally finished the 4-inch gridlines.  It took approximately 5 weeks to get to this stage of completion.  I was going to get started with the 2-inch grid (basically dividing the 4-inch lines in half), but I've decided to go ahead and make a change.  That is, I'm going to load multiple needles and quilt each gridline, one after the other.  I'm hoping this will save some time (and energy) moving the quilt in the hoop.


I've just turned the quilt 180 degrees, which means I'm seventy-five percent done with the 4 inch grid.  This might not make a lot of sense, but I'll explain...

Basically I start each line of quilting from the center and work my way to the outer-edge.  I also work from the left-side to the right.  Once I've worked my way from one side to the other, I then rotate the quilt 180 degrees, and starting from the center work my way from the left side to the right again; thus completing the grid-lines in one direction.


I've just turned the quilt 90 degrees, which means I'm halfway done with the 4 inch grid.  I hope this half of the 4 inch grid doesn't take as long to quilt as the first half.  My mom just finished her Dear Jane quilt, and it looks amazing.  In fact, it looks so good that I'm now motivated to start piecing my Dear Jane blocks together.  This will be my new project for Wednesday's visits.


It's been a long month and I still have not finished the 4 inch grid.  This is because I haven't been quilting much in the last 3 weeks.  Instead, I've been concentrating on our woodworking business.  Today however, I made some progress and turned the quilt so that I could finish up the quilting of the 4 inch grid in the first direction.


As of today, the 8 inch grid is completely quilted.  It took since February 19th, which is about 5 weeks, but this included a trip to Hermann Missouri.   Subtracting the week long trip I would estimate it took a month to complete the quilting at my current pace.  This means it'll take approximately the same amount of time (1 month) to quilt the 4 inch grid, twice as long (2 months) to quilt along the 2 inch grid, and four times as long (4 months) to quilt along the 1 inch grid.  Using this formula I'm estimating that I should have everything outside of the center diamond quilted in no less than 7 months.


I decided it was time to sew the leaders on and so took out my awesome Pfaff sewing machine and got the job done.  This was no easy task with a queen-sized quilt, let me tell you, but it's done and I'm back to quilting.  BTW, the leaders are simply 10 inch wide strips of muslin, which are sewn to the edge of my quilt.


I finally took the plunge and started quilting outside the black center diamond.  I'm actually enjoying it as much as working in the center.  The problem is, I don't have the leaders sewn on.  This just means that I won't be able to quilt to edge.  Instead, I stopped at the 12 inch border.  My Thimblelady technique is going/looking great, and I couldn't be more pleased with the stitches.  I've got a really good rhythm right now, and I just hope that each time I start quitling I remember the rhthym and how it "feels".  Am I explaining this correctly?


The feather wreath is now more than half way quilted.  I love how yummy it looks.  I have done as much on the grid as I will do for now.  It is quilted on a 2 inch grid, later it will be quilted on a 1 inch grid.  I'm resisting the urge to quilt those remaining gridlines as I need to move on and stabilize the rest of the quilt.  I've been using my 18 inch Grace Hoop, which has been modified by my DH so that I can quilt while standing.  I'm not sure why, but lately I've just been in the mood to stand.  It's certainly easier to just walk over and quilt a few stitches.


I've been quilting as much as possible of late, which isn't enough IMO. Here's a couple of photos of my progress so far. I started in the center, with an echo of the diamond; giving the grid lines a place to stop. I've also quilted a few of the feathers as well as some of the grid lines. For some reason I can't seem to stop working in the center, I just love seeing the progress!  My current plan is to continue until all of the feathers and every other grid lines is complete.  Once that's done I will begin outside of the center diamond, quilting every 8th gridline.  From there I divide every 8th line in half, quilting every 4th line, and so on until the quilt is finished.


Today, along with my usual errands, was a day for quilting. I was quilting by 5 am! My butt hurts...ouch.


Finished basting today, wahoooooo.  I was so excited, that I had to start quilting.  I didn't even bother to sew the leaders around the quilt.  I use leaders, which are long strips of fabric about 8 inches wide, to help protect the raw edge of the quilt.  When basted around the quilt they provide something for the hoop to grab allowing me to quilt along the edge more easily.

Shown here is the basting process where about 24 inches of the quilt is yet to be basted.  At this point I was able to remove the tube and smooth out the layers across the top of the table. The basted section hangs off the front of the table.  I would have to say that despite the large size of this quilt, it is my best basting job ever...wrinkle and pucker free; which is exactly what I was hoping for.  This picture shows the basted section hanging down from the table, while the remaining un-basted section is unrolled and lays across the top of the table.


I used a new technique to preparing the layers for quilting. With the help of my mom it was very easy to do, and worked out perfectly.  I started by moving all of the furniture out of the way, opening enough of the floor area to spread out my queen-sized quilt.  I laid the backing fabric on the floor (wrong-side-up) and smoothed out the wrinkles. I laid the batting on top of the backing and again smoothed out the wrinkles.  The batting kind of "sticks" to the backing, so removing the wrinkles takes a little more effort.  At this point I laid the pieced quilt-top "centered" on top of the batting.  After some final smoothing the layers were ready for the next step.  I positioned a large cardboard mailing tube, which was 8 feet long and about 5 inches in diameter, at one end of the layers. On our hands and knees my mom and I began to roll the layers onto the tube, smoothing out any puckers and wrinkles as we rolled. Basically we rolled, smoothed, rolled, smoothed, until the entire quilt was wrapped around the tube. Pictured here is the quilt unrolled about 12 inches, ready for my first section of basting stitches.


FINISHED!! I have completely finished marking the quilting design for my amish center diamond quilt. It took just a few hours to do the other direction, which is surprising since the first set of lines took FOREVER. LOL. Today I will prepare the quilt layers for basting, and hopefully get started on that. Photos of this process to follow.


Phew, finally some progress. I have completely finished marking the grid in one direction and have another 25% marked in the opposite direction. There is light at the end of the tunnel! I'll tell you what, I might have been a little too anal about being perfect with these gridlines. It's almost impossible to do, but the finished quilt will look amazing no matter how "off" the grid. Still, I don't think I could ever enter it into a show, cuz the lines are supposed to be 1 inch apart, but in some places it's a little more than an inch, and in other places it's a little closer than an inch. I wonder how in the world I could have made this work perfectly. There must be a way.


Here it is a week later and I'm still working on marking the quilt top. I can't believe how long it's taking. Today I was really hoping to finish drawing the grid in one direction. I'm close, but didn't manage to get it all done. The only other large quilt that I have hand-quilted was marked on a block-by-block basis. That is, I marked a block then quilted the block. I repeated this until the entire quilt was finished. For this quilt I wanted to try marking the entire quilt design prior to basting the layers together. Since I have no prior experience with this method, I really have no idea how long it will take. I have learned soooo much about the marking "process". Next time I will know exactly how to start, what works, and what doesn't work.


I'm having a heck of a time marking the gridlines on this large quilt. I'm used to doing wallhangings, which are much more manageable. Using an arsenal of grids and a large 45 degree triangle, I'm really trying to do a good job of keeping the lines exactly 45 degrees from the borders. It's almost impossible with the constant shifting of the quilt that needs to be done. This is because my dining room table is 3 feet by 5 feet. I'd need an 8 by 8 table to hold up the entire queen sized quilt. Anyways, I'm enjoying the process and have even managed to learn a few things, so I guess that's all I can hope for.


Shown here is the center diamond, which has been marked with a feather wreath and a 1 inch grid. This is my first attempt at doing a feather wreath, and I think it turned out perfect. I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I think the scale of the wreath suits the size of the center. The grid has been marked on the bias, and is surrounded by a border that echoes the edge of the black square. This is nothing new in terms of amish center diamond quilts, it's just new to me! I found the instructions for how to mark this design in my book, "Choosing Quilting Designs"; which has turned out to be a great reference.


Thankfully I decided to take the time to wash the starch out of the quilt top. The hand-quilting would not have been as easy to needle had I not. After drying, I tested both the soap slivers and the Clover white pen on the backside of the quilt top. The soap was easier to see, but rubbed off much more than I wanted. I'm going with the Clover pen.


Today the backing fabric was pieced together. It's six inches larger than the quilt top. The batting I chose is Quilter's Dream Request in a king size.


I did some research on marking tools and have decided to use either soap slivers or a Clover White Fine pen. The soap looks to be the front runner, so I've


My fabric order arrived in the mail today. I purchased 5.5 yards of additional backing fabric, which is the black with mustard checks, as well as 1 yard of solid black for the binding. I also purchased 4.5 yards of the mustard ticking, my focus fabric which didn't actually make it into the quilt LOL. I'm actually going to make a bed skirt out of this fabric. It's going to be an old-school elastic bed-skirt, gathered ever so slightly. How cute is that!


Wahoooo...my mustard and black amish quilt top is completed! I am not able to sandwich the quilt layers as I didn't purchase enough fabric! I have since ordered more (for the backing) and will hopefully receive it in the next day or so. I have no idea how I'm going to manage basting a quilt this large. Forget basting, how am I going to mark a quilt this large; a black one at that? Do I baste first then mark, or mark then baste? I think by basting first there will be less chance of the design marks rubbing off.


Happy New Year!!! Today I pieced the corner blocks to the bottom border, and then the bottom border to the quilt. Phew, that was a lot of work! Hopefully photos tomorrow.


Not much going on today though I did manage to get the two outer side borders on. The quilt is getting a bit large to manage easily, so for the sake of sanity I'm doing just a little at a time. Anyway I had see how the quilt top would look on the bed, and I was amazed at how truly awesome it looks. I don't think the photos even capture how great this looks. The drama is exactly what I was hoping for...


Wahoo, got the second set of black borders on today. I LOVE it. The outer border is all that remains, I'm so excited. After auditioning the outer borders with and without the black squares in the corners, I've decided to go "with" them. I also decided not to have the quilt basted by a long-arm machine, but rather to use the technique described by Sharon Schamber's. I'm going to have to make a decision about the backing fabric as I don't have enough of any one fabric to complete it. I don't really want to piece a bunch of scraps together, and I don't want to have to order and wait for it either. What to do...

Anyway, here's today's progress...

        click to enlarge                    click to enlarge                         click to enlarge


I managed to squeeze in a little piecing time today. I was able to add the remaining two inside black borders as well as the four mini mustard/black check borders. This was about all I could manage timewise, but tomorrow hopefully I can add the four outer black borders. This will really make the piece POP! Can't wait to lay it on the bed for a visual of what's to come.

        click to enlarge                    click to enlarge


I started cutting and piecing the center diamond yesterday. This was after making two decisions: the first, not to cut the center diamond on the bias; the second, to switch the fabric chosen for the center-diamond setting triangles from the mustard and black ticking fabric to one of the mustard checks. Instead, the ticking fabric will be used for the custom bed skirt.

It was hard to get started and right-off the bat I made a typical mistake; sewing wrong-sides together. Poop. Not only do I hate taking out long seems (this was 28 inches), but I had to be extra delicate in doing so as the setting triangle was on the bias. Oh well, I guess you could say I got the first mistake out-of-the-way; now I can relax and do a good job. Here's what I've finished so far...

        click to enlarge


Finalized the autoCAD drawing used for fabric cutting measurements. The overall size of the quilt is going to be 87 x 87 inches, with a 12 inch drop. I've prewashed the homespun fabrics to make sure they don't bleed. Because I like the "scrunchy" antique-look, I have decided not to prewash my batting. Wahoo, I'm ready to start...now if I could just find a few spare hours to get started!!


I've decided that my quilt should be an an amish center diamond quilt. Here's a quick mock-up that I did in photoshop, which shows the design and fabric layout...

        click to enlarge


Purchased three yards each of the following mustard and black homespun fabrics:


Started planning my next quilt. It's going to be a queen-sized bed quilt for my master bedroom. The color on the walls is Lowes "Bread Basket" and the furniture is primitive black.