Sunday, July 19, 2015

Totem Quilt

I use my blog to catalog all my quilts especially the ones that don't remain with me.  Long after the quilt is gone I can look back at the pictures and reminiscence about it's making - the inspiration, the process and the lessons learnt along the way. A completed quilt provides a sense of achievement that energizes you to tackle the next project.

I made this quilt for a friend who loves dark blue and has wanted a quilt for a long time. IMO it's extremely satisfying to make a quilt for a person who you know will appreciate the effort. When I saw Carolyn Friedlander's Doe collection earlier this year I immediately thought - sophisticated and masculine. I thought of all the guys I wanted to make a quilt for and his name stuck out as he was the only one who had proactively mentioned to me that he wanted one. All others would have appreciated the effort if I made them one but were not actively seeking one out. So by that criteria he made it to the top of the list.

I made a collage of possible designs using EQ7 and he picked the one in the far right corner. It's 'Totem' pattern by Carolyn Friedlander. Fabric and pattern by the same person, that is quite a tribute to her design acumen.

I ordered the pattern and when it arrived realized it involved foundation paper piecing and not 'stack and whack' as I had expected. Oh well since I had already made a commitment I set about ordering the fabric and got started. 62 blocks required for a bed sized quilt. It was slow going as I tried to evenly distribute the colors across the center but the effort was definitely worth it in the end.

I quilted it on my home sewing machine with a bold angular meandering pattern in matching thread. Love the texture of the quilt. I increased the stitch length on the Bernina to 3.5 and used size 90/14 Schmetz Microtek needles for quilting. The thread is 40 wt by Connecting Threads in Light Gray and Denim.

For the back I had originally planned to use just one fabric - Blue from the Architextures collection - but I later increased the width of the quilt top for a more proportionate look and was too lazy to get more fabric for the back. I compensated by adding another print in blue. I think it gives the back a bit of visual interest. ;)

This picture cracks me up as there are 2 adults and 2 kids hiding behind it. Apparently none of them wanted to be in the picture.:)

I matched the binding to the quilt top. Having done matched binding a few times now I can now accurately match the seams with little effort. If you are new to it you can look up Debbie's excellent tutorial here

The completed quilt measures at 86" x 81". It is one of the larger quilts I have attempted on my sewing machine but the key is to go slow and stay relaxed. After a bit you kind of get into a rhythm.

Here are few more in progress pictures:


  1. This turned out beautifully!! And of course the matched binding is a perfect touch! ;-) Thanks for the shout-out.

  2. What a beautiful quilt! The fabric really does suit the pattern and is perfect for a man. I assume he loved it?

  3. I just love this line, Doe. An I love your quilt! I've never thought of matching binding. It works well. thanks for sharing.

  4. Love that little detail the matched binding adds!! Definitely adding that to my "to try" list. :D Isn't it cute how cats always 'help' with the quilting? :D

  5. Perfect choice with the fabric and pattern, I also love Carolyn Friedlander. The pattern with flying geese in the center looks gorgeous too. Congratulations with finish!


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