At the end of June I posted a blog about an English Paper Piecing (EPP) project that I had been working on for the last five years and - thanks to COVID-19 - I was finally able to finish. In that blog I wrote about why I started this project in the first place, why it took five years to finish, and the steps I used to complete the center of the quilt. Read on to find out my process to get this quilt from UFO (UnFinished Object) to completely FINISHED!!
With the center FINALLY finished it was time to add the appliquéd border - 94 diamonds from the dark fabrics and 260” of a biased strip to make the vine. These diamonds were more challenging to construct than those in the center as all points needed to be tucked to the inside. In addition, twenty-four of the diamonds were then stitched into four 6-petal flowers that were placed in the corners. I contemplated for a very brief moment hand-stitching these shapes to the border fabric but opted instead to machine-stitch them with a narrow zig-zag stitch and monofilament thread.
Next I determined that I needed three yards of fabric for the backing and planned to make a trip to the fabric store. About that same time I was working on a couple of customer quilts with gorgeous pieced backings and decided to check my stash to see if I had fabric that would blend with this quilt. If you have seen my stash then you know that of course I had fabric that would work for a scrappy backing! I also stitched together scraps of batting. I guess I’ll just have to find another excuse to go to the fabric store!
My next task was deciding on the quilting designs - one of my favorite parts of the whole process. My first thoughts were echo-quilting around the appliqués in the border with continuous curves in the hexagon and diamond shapes in the center. The continuous curves worked quite well and I added a swirl In the middle of each hexagon to fill in that space. I decided to go a completely different direction in the border by stitching, a swirl, pebble, and McTavishing design. I usually use just one design for backgrounds but have been wanting to try mixing it up with several designs and this was the perfect project on which to experiment. I then added veins to the diamond “leaves” which added so much interest to an otherwise boring border. I also noticed a couple of center blocks that came apart when I stretched the top on the long arm but I whip-stitched them together and it looks great.
The final step in finishing this project was the binding. I was happy to find enough border fabric still in my stash - that can sometimes be a problem when the project takes so long to complete. But Oops! I discovered that I used that fabric for the backing. Ugh! So it was on to plan B. Luckily I had enough of the stem fabric left to cut bias binding. It was actually a better choice than the border fabric anyway. Crisis averted!
The problem with a project that takes so many years to finish is that styles and taste change. I have to admit that I didn’t really like the top when it was finished. I just thought it was blah! Now that it is quilted and the binding is finished I think it is one of my favorite projects. The quilting added so much texture and interest and the binding fabric was the perfect finish. Now I just have to decide what I am going to do with it!