Hi, and if you’re visiting from the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, welcome!  My long suffering regular readers spent much of the early part of this year watching me bang on about a quilt they’d never clapped eyes on, but which I absolutely swore existed.  It had all come to me, you see, in a somewhat fever induced dream sometime between Christmas and New Year.  I had a vision, and I wanted to realise it in Madrona Road.

When I started quilting a little over 18 months ago I started with a sew along which was a traditional block pattern.  Next I did a sampler quilt, and then I leapt right into Retro Flowers (as you do).  The thing is though, I’ve been realising for the past 6-9 months or so that I’m not really a traditional quilt block kind of girl.  I mean, I’ll make them for bees, and if I’m trying to demolish layer cakes, but really, my heart lies in improv.  This was my starting point:

This photo has appeared so many times in lieu of in progress photos, I think can hear several readers scream right now

This quilt was totally improvved, from the cutting of the fabric right up to the end of the quilting!  The longest decision was which prints from the pink colourway to fish out to balance the numbers (as there are more in the pink than in the blue colourway for some reason).  After that I grabbed the rotary cutter, giant piece of Klona, and my fat quarters and started chopping off strips and adding them round 2 sides of a white rectangle (I started with the top right and bottom left corners).

I’ll admit right now that my first try I screwed up – the rectangle was too small as a starting point to allow me to actually get distinguishingly different lengths of prints. I got about 3 strips in before I realised this, and to be honest all was not lost, I just frogged it, cut a larger rectangle, and started again.  My only size restriction was that the whole thing couldn’t be bigger than 90″ square, as that was the maximum entry size allowed in the British Quilt & Stitch Village competition.  Oh, did I not mention that?  Yeah, I decided for my first carefree quilt, I’d go and stick it in a competition, as encouraged by Katy Jones.  What, you don’t do that?  Probably wise…

Anywho, I decided that the 90″ was a challenge rather than a limit, so that’s what I aimed for.  Then I realised I’d created something so giant I couldn’t spread it out anywhere at home, and couldn’t really see what I’d made.  Excellent.  Realising the enormity of the situation though, I concluded that the only way to go would be to long arm quilt it.  Slight problem there, I’d never long armed a thing in my life, never even seen a machine in person!  Oh well, nothing ventured and all that, I contacted Carole and Brian and arranged to go and play with their machine.

I had some ideas going in on what I wanted to do quilting wise, which meant an all over geometric in the print ‘logs’ and then a pebble idea in the white.  Carole pushed me a bit further to have 2 different coloured threads in the ‘logs’, and to add some larger cobblestones in on the white.  14 hours later, I was done, and then began the mammoth task of squaring it up on a floor that has a usable area of about 60″ x 70″.  It took me two goes, but brute force and ignorance won out in the end.  The binding was a treat after that lot, the hand quilting in the donkey/truck panels and the hanging sleeve were not…

So here’s some close-ups anyway:

I’m hoping you can see the pebble quilting a bit better here…


The all over geometric here is a bit easier to see on the back


That all over geometric on the back, this is in the pink section, oh, and I promise it’s not wrinkled, just recently all folded up

Eventually it will end up on my bed, once I’ve removed that blinking hanging sleeve and the paper label from the show!

Final Stats:

Fabric: Madrona Road by Violet Craft for Michael Miller + Klona White
Thread: Pieced using Aurifil 50wt #2000, quilted using Superior King Tut in Sheaves, Chariots Of Fire and Linen, perle cotton in black and pink for the hand quilting
Batting: Quilter’s Dream 100% cotton
Size: 88″ x 88″
Quilting: All over geometric in the ‘logs’, cobble sized pebbles in the white, hand quilted in the panels
Quilted by: Me, myself and I
Pattern: Totally out of my head (which you can read any way you like ;o) )