It’s a good thing we have deadlines. The night before I handed my quilt in for judging, I was still stitching the label on.
You have been following the Canada 150 block party pieces my friends & I were collecting from across Canada. It was so much fun, but I had to call it quits at 36 blocks.
You have also seen bits and pieces of the first quilt. Here is the full version. Finished.
I called this quilt My Canada because it focused on the whole country – from the map of Canada in the center, to the crest of each province and territory in the border.
There are 11 blocks in this quilt:
- top row – Winterpeg (my design), On Guard (Saskatoon) and Foothills (Cochrane)
- middle section – Canada heart (Kamloops), We Remember (North Battleford), All Around Canada (Calgary) Toque (Kamloops) and Alberta Proud (Grande Prairie)
- bottom row – Vancouver (Vancouver), Great Blue Heron (Courtney)
The blocks are a good cross section of designs typical of Canada, but most were chosen because they had 3-D design elements or used lots of fusible web which meant I could not send it out for long arm quilting. I had to tackle the quilting myself.
It has been 3 years since I quilted anything myself, and I have never quilted anything larger than a twin on my domestic sewing machine. It required a strategy. A modified Quilt As You Go (QAYG) approach. Because I didn’t want to use sashing to join quilted sections together, I decided to quilt the center first, then add a side border and quilt it before adding the other side, top and then bottom. It was not without problems, but I would do it again. It was hard to get accurate measurements for the border but much easier to quilt. Blocking was key.
Let’s talk about the back for a minute. The Mountie panel was one of my first purchases, with the intent of using it on the back of this quilt. Besides that, I had 13 of each design element from the provincial panels, and it was becoming very difficult to buy any of this fabric in the local quilt stores. I wanted and needed to incorporate as much from the panels as possible without it looking ridiculous.
For placement of the elements, I used the mountie panel as a quide – Canada symbols at the top, the Canadian Crest along the bottom, and flags to the sides.
The quilting was suppose to be simple but you know how it goes. One thing always leads to another. I wanted to treat each block individually, but also wanted to unite them, so each block has some straight lines and some meandering lines. The curved lines were suppose to tie it all together, and represented the prairie wind. Add the snowflakes and you have a blizzard. Hey, I was doing this in the winter after all. It seemed appropriate then. Not so much now that it is sunny and +30 outside!
The snowflakes that were stitched into the quilting did not show up, and I was not happy with the machine stitching so I embroidered around them with a simple back stitch. It was such an improvement, that I did the same thing around the circles. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for the deadline, I would still be stitching or unstitching on that quilt.
I learned a lot on this quilt and was actually glad that I was forced to quilt it myself. It gave me the chance to be a little creative and add some interesting details – like the name & location of each block, which is permanently stitched into the block as a record of where it is from. It is not ‘in-your-face’ but obvious enough if a person looks for it. If I did it all over again, it would turn out better. But I am not going to.
Now its on to quilt #2, which includes the remaining 25 blocks…