Sunday, November 19, 2017

Boxed In

I started this quilt 3 years ago at a Seattle MQG quilting retreat. I had a pile of Cotton & Steel basics on one hand and a stack of packing paper from my recent move to Seattle on the other. My sewing room was filled with boxes and I felt trapped in it when I sat at my sewing machine. Such little space and so many things to fit into the tiny room. It was quite a discomfort to downsize drastically from our sprawling residence in NJ. It was as if the walls were closing in on me. I poured this feeling on paper and came up with a variant on the log cabin called "Boxed In"

Like all quilts it's beginnings were very humble. The first time I drew a schematic and picked a few colors from the stack and got started.

Each block took me about 5 to 6 hours from start to finish. Since I was making it up as I went along it took me a long time to get things just right. Many a time I had to go back and rework the template. 

Progress was slow. I did not have enough wall space to see how the quilt was progressing. 

I would take it to retreats as the only project to work on in an attempt to finish it, but it took so long to make each block that I returned from a few retreats without completing it.

At one such retreat, Debbie from A Quilter's Table took a picture of me knee deep into it.

At one point I thought I was almost done with the 3x3 configuration but something about the proportion of the quilt did not sit right with me. I decided to add one more row. As it got larger, piecing the blocks together got increasingly difficult. The thin lines would not stay straight and I had to redo the seams a few times. I had to glue multiple pieces of paper together for the multi block template. Not an easy task in a small sewing area.

Putting all the blocks together was perhaps the hardest thing for me. I had to try a few times before it all lay flat. 

Once I was done piecing I had hoped to quilt it such that the lines echoed the block design. Having spent my energy on the piecing, I struggled to muster up enthusiasm to quilt it. This is when I turned to my dear friend and fellow quilter Krishma Patel. I conveyed my overall plan but mostly left it to her. This is a progress picture she sent me and I could not contain my excitement. I knew I had made the right choice by sending it to her.

Finally it arrived at my door step. I faced it, this has become my go to binding method these days. Waited for a clear day to take some pictures and here it is.


  1. It is just stunning Rachel! Your design + your friend's quilting created something really special! So happy for you to have this finish.

  2. Your piecing on it is impeccable. It did not seem to me at any time in the quilting process that you would have had to undo and redo so many seams! Loved quilting it! The decision to face it instead of binding it is a good choice. That black and white photo of you hard and work is too good!

  3. Hooray for finishing it!! And for persevering through many challenges. The quilt looks really amazing. I hope you are feeling more settled in the PNW.

  4. The quilt turned out amazing. Love the thin lines. And the quilting is superb. I am glad you stuck with it. It is really great work.

  5. So, so wonderful. Love the story--seeing your progress through the years. Can't wait to see what you create next!!

  6. Such a beautiful quilt Rachel!

  7. Wow! Love this quilt! Congratulations on staying with it to the end!

  8. This is so fantastic. Very stunning!


  9. What an inspiration!!!! Really has me thinking:)) GB

  10. Love it Rachel! You made the very best of an uncomfortable situation. :)


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