This is the quilt that you saw a peek of in a recent post. It was hanging on the back of the baby crib that Roscoe the cat was sleeping in. I have received several questions regarding this quilt - so here is some info. First of all, I made 2 of these quilts. Same pattern, same fabrics. The pattern is not one of ours - it is a copy of an antique quilt that was published in American Patchwork & Quilting in the spring of 2006. I loved the antique quilt when I saw it and thought it would look great in our fabrics. At the time we had done 2 fabric collections with Moda - Nantucket and Coming Home. This quilt, and it's twin were made with the scraps of these 2 collections. Polly has one and I have one. Secondly, no I don't have any more copies of that issue (April 2006), but I bet you do. Don't we all have several years of these issues squirrelled away?
Here is a little closer view of the hand quilting.This quilting design is kind of a free form fan design. The fan design is most commonly known as "Baptist Fan" or "Methodist Fan" because it is a very common utilitarian quilting design that was often used for quilting bees in the basement of churches - hence the name. These utilitarian quilts from the last half of the 19th century and early 20th century were quickly quilted by the church ladies for fund raisers. Those sweeping fans, you see, are easy to quilt when you are sitting around a quilt frame. They follow the natural movement of your arm. Each person did the section in front of them, then the quilt was rolled and a new section appeared before you to be quilted. This design is seen over and over again in antique quilts. It is a favorite of mine. It works over everything and more importantly, it is still easy to hand quilt today - even outside of a quilt frame. I have many quilting stencils with varying fan designs. I use them all. I even developed my own - the one you see above. This quirky and free form fan design is easy to mark and to quilt.
To start, lay the basted quilt out on the floor or a large table. Being right handed, I start at the bottom right hand side of the quilt. I mark concentric arcs on the top - about 18"to 20" tall and wide. I use either a Hera marker or a chalk wheel marker.
The Hera marker is a Japanese tool that is much like a bone folder used in book making and scrap booking. I'm sure the originals were made of bone - but this is a hard plastic. It marks by making a sharp crease in the fabric when you press down. It is a great tool for marking a top. The chalk wheel pencil works by putting down a chalk line with a ratchet wheel tip. Both are favorite tools of mine and I use one or both in marking. All tops are different - basically what shows up better. When marking against all colors and shades of fabric like this top - the chalk is probably your best bet. Try a yellow or the light blue. When I mark I just make big sweeping arcs and I am not trying to be particularly accurate. I like the randomness of it and the quirkiness of it. It won't take long for you to get the hang of it. I mark one section at a time (and quilt one set of concentric arcs at a time) and then mark the next one. It goes very quickly. You can hand quilt a queen size quilt using this method in less than 2 weeks. I have been known to hand quilt a twin size quilt using this method in a long weekend. Your antique reproduction quilt will look even more "antique" using the church lady technique.
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