Sun and Shadow, Earth and Sky

Presenting my latest finish, 21 years in the making: Sun and Shadow, Earth and Sky.

The finished quilt (36″ x 48″)

Years ago, I started this quilt for friends of mine who were about to have their first baby. The “baby” is now almost old enough to drink, but I finally finished his quilt. The fatal combination of not owning a sewing machine while having an overabundance of ambitious design ideas slowed the process waaaay down.

All the curved piecing was done by hand. I remember making little kits with the patches and basic sewing supplies, taking them along on car trips, and making the units in the car while my husband drove.

I did acquire a machine eventually — a little workhorse of a Bernette 750, which I still have and love — and I attached the borders by machine. Those borders are another example of my overly ambitious ideas. This quilt is one of my first, or at least it was when I started it, and I was nowhere near ready to tackle mitered borders. Didn’t let that stop me, though.

When it came time to quilt it, I thought it would be neat to quilt it by hand since so much of the top was hand pieced. Yep, yet another example of overreaching. But hey, how else do we learn anything? Amazingly, I finished the gold and black center by hand, but then I kind of lost steam. The quilt sat around for a decade or so waiting for me to return to it.

That’s hand quilting around the yellow patches and in the black negative space.

I finally realized it wasn’t going to get done unless I finished it by machine. At some point I made a start but didn’t like the quilting design I’d chosen, so it sat around a while longer. This year, the quilt made my list of unfinished items to complete before April. So I unpicked the failed design, came up with another, and finished it off.

Hand quilting on the gold patches, machine quilting on the blue ones.
I do like the hand-quilted Celtic knots in the negative space.

This project shows me how much my skills have grown since I first started quilting. I kept laughing at myself while quilting it because I had had no idea what I was doing with the piecing and seam placement, and as a result I made the quilting a lot harder than it had to be with the thick thread, wide seams, and awkward pressing that I did back then.

I love the pattern and the color combination, though. I’m currently working on another quilt that includes a lot of the same kind of curved pieces, and I’m happy to say I’ve come a long way with that technique. Overall, I’m pleased with how Sun and Shadow eventually turned out. I hope the now-grown recipient enjoys it too.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sonja says:

    This quilt is stunning! And you’ve always been an overachiever. 😉

    1. Rachel says:

      Hah! Thanks. I suppose I can’t argue with that 🙂

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