Sunday, September 2, 2012

11 Months Later, Lars's "Drunken Dragons" Quilt is Finally FINISHED!

"Drunken Dragons" Drunkard's Path Quilt for Lars, 66" x 97"
Are you sick of reading about my Drunken Dragons drunkard's path quilt for Lars yet?  Well, good news -- it's FINALLY FINISHED!!  This quilt is my first attempt at piecing curved seams, my first go at free-motion quilting, and the most densely-quilted project I've ever completed.  You can really see the wonderful bumpy-quilty texture from the back side of the quilt, where I appliqued the Scrabble label and then quilted it in. 

Backing Side, with Quilted-In Scrabble Label

The oversized twin quilt top measured 70" x 105" originally, and it finished at 66" x 97" after it was densely quilted and allowed to shrink up in the wash.  The extra length was planned so that the quilt is long enough to tuck under securely at the bottom of my son's extra-thick mattress.

Binding In Progress At Last!
This picture was taken early last week, when I'd just started stitching the backside of the binding by hand.  I had several more evenings of hand stitching ahead of me, and then the quilt went in the washing machine this morning (with a little quilt soap on the gentle cycle) to get rid of the starch, hand lotion, and whatever dust and grime the quilt had accumulated over the past 11 months while I was working on it.  It actually took me longer to make Lars's quilt than it took me to make LARS.

Avatar photo from Sci-Fi Heaven
By the way, the reason I look so flushed in that binding picture is that my husband has been playing around with the settings on his fancy camera and decided that "extra vivid" colors would make for better pictures than a "normal" color setting.  My quilt fabrics are certainly bright and colorful, but they aren't as garish as they look in this picture.  My hair isn't really this dark, my skin isn't really red, but in some of the other pictures he took I look BLUE like the creepy Avatar people.  Trust me; this is not a good look for me.

So, a few quick notes about the binding, not because I'm an expert, but so I can remember for next time:  This is the first time I used bias-cut binding.  Lots of sources recommend bias binding for quilts with scalloped or zigzag edges, or for those with rounded corners, but Diane Gaudynski swears that bias binding lays smoother without rippling and she recommends it for every quilt.  I also found a couple of other sources advocating that bias binding would wear better over time.  Since I knew this quilt was going to be in and out of the washing machine many times over the years, I decide to give the bias binding a try.  Once I had cut my bias strips on a 45 degree angle and sewn them into one long, continuous strip of binding, the process of attaching it to the quilt was no more difficult than it would have been to use lengthwise or cross-grain strips of binding fabric. 

Machine Stitching the Binding with 1/4" Patchwork Foot #37
In the past, with my 100% cotton battings, I've always cut my binding strips 1 7/8" wide, machine stitched them to the front of my quilts with my 1/4" patchwork foot, and the double layer of binding would wrap snugly around the edge of the quilt, completely covering the machine stitching line on the back of the quilt when I sewed it down by hand.  Diane's Guide to Machine Quilting book suggests a 2" cut width for 1/4" finished width binding, so I went with that this time.  The trouble is, my seam allowance with my Patchwork Footsie #37 is more of a scant 1/4", so I had to go back and resew it a little wider in order to end up with a binding that was approximately the same width on the front and back sides of the quilt.  Especially with this Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting, which got pretty flat where it was densely quilted near the edges, I would have been better off with a 1 7/8" cut width on my strips like I usually do.  Hopefully I'll remember that next time!

So now here it is, on Lars's bed:

Despite the appearance of Lars's bookshelves, we have not recently been robbed.  Lars insists that this is a highly specialized organizational system and that he alone knows EXACTLY where each and every book, LEGO, trading card, and candy wrapper is located.   Yeah, I'm not buying it either.  But at least now we will always be able to find his bed!  By the way, if Lars had won the decorating battle, all four of his walls would be the same bright orange as the brightest fabric in his quilt.  I compromised with hyper-bright orange wallpaper in his en suite bathroom, and a more restful shade of blue for his bedroom walls.  The Day-Glo quilt is primarily light blue and orange to tie those two areas together.  The last project on my list for Lars's bedroom is a window treatment, because the window looks too bare to me with just shutters.  I'll probably eventually do some kind of rectangular cornice above the window rather than drapery panels, but nothing too wild.  We already have quite a bit going on in this bedroom visually!


Rosemary Dickinson said...

I love the look of a heavily quilted quilt. I love how it feels when you brush your hand over it. Yours looks like that! Do you feel the bias binding laid flatter than the straight binding? I always hate when mine seems wavy. Maybe a bias cut would be better. The colors are great. I'm sure your son will love it!

Ivory Spring said...

I love that quilt! Love love love the colors. Congrats! I noticed you used a patchwork foot to sew the binding. I have recently started using the walking foot - it keeps all the layers moving together, and I don't get any slack at the end. Of course, I am not telling you what to do... just thought I'd share. ;)

Again - take a big bow - you deserve it for all the work you put into this quilt. It's nice to follow the progress from start to finish.

Unknown said...

I just saw this and several other of your Drunken Path quilts on google and just wish to say I am most inspired!!! I love curved piecing with a 'scrappy' feel--I almost feel as if I'm painting in fabric. Anyway, thank you for sharing your beautiful inspirations! This particular one looks GREAT as the blues pick up the wall color.