Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Guilt Quilt, part I

Meet the Guilt Quilt.  I made it for my mom to replace the first one, which she literally loved to pieces.  This was her Christmas gift.

My brother Taylor and I nicknamed it The Guilt Quilt because at the time it was given to our mother, she had made quilts for just about every person she ever met--and two for Taylor--but none for me!   The joke went that perhaps she would feel guilty upon receiving it, and finally make a quilt for me.  For my birthday last month, I finally got my quilt, and she totally upstaged me!  But that is for another post.

Anyway, this quilt is a slightly updated take on a classic pattern called Flying Dutchman.  One of my favorite things about traditional patchwork is the history and significance of naming.  (It reminds me a bit of how people named and identified constellations: imaginatively, and with much creative license.)  The Flying Dutchman is a folktale detailed here and here, essentially about a ghost ship damned to sail the seas forever.  Each block represents the ship's eternal journey, or ocean waves I suppose.  Either way, it's a great geometric interpretation of folklore.

I used the folded flying geese technique to construct the blocks.  Each center pinwheel is edgestitched (using a Bernina #10 foot) to create a curved seam without curved piecing!  Because of the extra layers and because I used a home dec weight twill for the backing, this is a fairly heavy quilt.

The entire thing is free motion quilted, and I admit I cheated and used the Bernina Stitch Regulator.  I have mixed feelings about the BSR, but it came down to this: I needed to finish the quilt, it could not be quilted any way but free motion because of the dimensionality, and I did not have time to warm up every time I sat down to quilt!  The binding was finished by hand at 2am, followed by a quick rest, followed by the drive south to celebrate Christmas with my family.  I am a last-minute kind of person.

(Note awesomely bad bathroom paint job courtesy of a previous tenant!  At first appalling, it soon became a funny joke and is now the first thing we show guests: Come look at the bathroom, you won't believe it!)


  1. Great quilt with a great story :). Can't wait to see how your mother upstaged you!

  2. Thanks for your comment over on my blog! I just got the Aurora 440QE. I <3 it.

    I can't for the life of me figure how you used dear old #10 for those faux curved seams but it's AMAZING! Wishing so much that there was a #10esque attachment for the walking foot, so it could be used more for quilting (did you use yours for quilting? did you have any issue with the sandwitch shifting?).

  3. I love the quilt..and you did a great job on the quilting. Those curved pieces and the free triangles add a lot of extra interest to the quilt.
    If your Mom upstaged boggles the mind what she must have come up with! :)

  4. Thank you ladies! Courtney: I have a 440 too! You can kind of see on the un-curved triangles, there is sort of a flap. I folded it over (it's a bias edge which is why it curves so nicely!) and edgestitched with the #10 and the needle maybe 2 places to the left.

    And no, I haven't used the #10 to quilt yet, though other Bernina owners I know do. To avoid the layers shifting, try decreasing the presser foot pressure! I usually sew with it low so I can adjust the fabric under the foot as I am sewing.

  5. Love your quilt!...I too am fascinated by the names that are given to certain quilt patterns..log cabin, nine patch etc. I haven't made one yet but it is on my to do list!

  6. gorgeous quilt and funny story