Sunday, August 20, 2023

Hooray! My Halo Quilt is Finished!

 YOU GUYS!!!  Today is August 20th, and I finished my first quilt of the year yesterday.  I keep looking out my window for the parade but they must be stuck in traffic somewhere...  Surely there will be fireworks, or at least I'll get a mention on the news tonight???  😐. Seriously -- does anyone else feel a little anticlimactic about finally finishing a quilt, or is it just me?  So much work and effort, and then it's just OVER.  It feels so abrupt!

My 66 x 66 Halo Quilt Finish, Pattern by Jen Kingwell

I started this project in mid-March, so it took me five months from start to finish to cut, piece, quilt, label, and bind it.  The pattern for this quilt is available in Jen Kingwell's Jenny From One Block pattern booklet and there's a set of acrylic templates for the Halo quilt sold separately that are worth their weight in gold.  The curved patches for Halo can be cut with a 28 mm rotary cutter (a larger diameter blade is too big to follow the curves, but a smaller diameter blade is too shallow to glide along the edge of the acrylic templates -- the screw holding the blade in place would get in the way).  The other product I highly recommend for this project is Odif Grippy, a spray-on translucent nonslip coating for the acrylic templates that greatly reduces their tendency to slide on the fabric when you need them to stay put for accurate cuts (this post contains affiliate links).  

Halo is suitable for either hand or machine piecing; I hand pieced just one block just to see if I liked it better than machine piecing.  The verdict?  Hand piecing these blocks is easier but slower than doing it by machine, and I wanted to get this done as quickly as possible so I opted for machine piecing the rest of the blocks.  I used lots of Karen Kay Buckley's Shorter Perfect Pins to machine piece all of those curves.

Halo Pattern Booklet, Halo Templates and Tilda Pie In the Sky Fat Eighths

The Tilda Pie in the Sky fabrics pictured above were my starting point for this quilt, but I pulled lots and lots of fabrics from my stash, from my scrap bins (and from the treasure trove of scraps sent to me by Nann!).  What most intrigued me about Jen Kingwell's original version of this quilt was the way her quilt initially seems "random scrappy," but carefully planned elements reveal themselves on closer inspection (Most blocks are scrappy, but several blocks are planned.  Several blocks are planned to create an entire matching circle with a matching ring where the corners come together, and several other blocks are planned to create a scrappy circle with a solid matching ring).  She set general guidelines for value placement within her blocks (such as generally using darker/higher contrast fabrics for the rings and lighter value/lower contrast fabrics for background patches), but then only followed those "rules" about 60-70% of the time.  This resulted in a really interesting effect where some rings, circles and squares come forward visually in the composition and others appear to recede.  I attempted to recreate these "special effects" in my own version of the quilt and I'm pleased with how that turned out.

Originally I thought I'd have Halo done in time for a Mother's Day gift in May, and then when that didn't happen I tried to get it done for her birthday in July...  What can I say?  I guess it's a Labor Day gift now.

Susan E2E Quilting, King Tut 40 wt Variegated Cotton Thread in Cotton Candy

My husband helped me pick the quilting design for his mom's quilt.  It's an edge-to-edge design called Susan that combines daisies and swirls, playing up the girly floral fabric themes.  Since her favorite color is pink, I chose King Tut 40 wt variegated cotton thread in color Cotton Candy for the quilting.  I used my favorite Quilters Dream Cotton Deluxe loft batting, 50% thicker than the typical Select loft.  For a "napping quilt" like this one, I like the additional weight and warmth of the Deluxe loft batting, especially since it's a gift.  It makes the finished quilt just a little more substantial, with the softness and thickness of a high-end cotton blanket from a luxury bedding store.  And, because it's 100% cotton, it's a breathable warmth -- perfect for combatting the chill of the air conditioning for a cozy afternoon nap.

My Halo quilt is already boxed up, ready to drop off at UPS in the morning, so I had to get some detail pictures of some of my favorite blocks.  I won't be able to bring the finished quilt to Show & Tell at our September guild meeting.

One more:

Here's what my Halo quilt looked like right after I finished quilting it, but before it was labeled and bound:

66 x 66 Halo Quilt with Susan E2E

...And here's what it looked like when I'd just gotten it loaded but hadn't yet started the quilting.  My backing fabric is Kaffe Fassett Collective 108" Wide Back Brocade Peony sateen.  I briefly considered making a scrappy pieced backing for this quilt, but when I saw this bolt at the quilt shop it was just too perfect to pass up.  And the sateen weave of this backing will be so nice and soft against her skin.

Halo Loaded on my Bernina Q24 Long Arm, Ready for Quilting

Can you see how much thicker the Deluxe Loft is in that photo, compared to most cotton battings on the market today?  Thinner, lighter weight battings may be easier to needle for hand quilters, and thinner, lighter weight battings make it easier and less strenuous for domestic machine quilters to quilt large quilts in the small throat space of their machines, but the Deluxe loft cotton is just as easy on a frame long arm as any other batting would be.  Deluxe loft is more expensive than the Select loft, but it's worth it (to me) for a really special quilt.  However, I know that many quilters prefer the lighter weight batting for their quilts, so I stock the Select loft as well as the Deluxe.  There isn't one "best" batting that is right for every quilt!

Machine Embroidered Quilt Label

My machine embroidered quilt label looks crinkled because I used Terial Magic to stiffen the fabric for embroidery and it hasn't been washed out yet.  I love how this product washes out completely after stitching, without leaving annoying bits of stabilizer that shows through around the lettering.  

One last parting shot of this quilt, before I boxed it up for shipping.  My husband is holding it up for the photo and, if this was a video instead of a still shot, you'd hear him grumbling about "Hurry up my arms are killing me" and "are you DONE YET?!!!"

66 x 66 Halo Quilt, Pieced and Quilted by ME, March-August 2023

So, now that Halo is finished, what's next for Rebecca?  Well, I've resumed work on the Deco quilt I was in the middle of cutting out when I got sidetracked by the Halo project.  That will be my machine piecing project for the foreseeable future.  All straight seams are a welcome break after all of these fiddly curves!  I'll also be pulling out my FrankenWhiggish Rose hand appliqué project again soon.  I started that one ten years ago in 2014 so it's definitely my oldest work in-progress!

I'll be linking up today's post with my favorite linky parties, listed below.  Happy quilting, everyone!


Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre

Beauty Pageant at From Bolt to Beauty

 TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here: TGIF Friday


Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  


Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  



Preeti said...

Yippee. What a fun, bright and happy quilt. I am sure this will bring lots of joy and snuggles.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Oh my goodness, that is beautiful, Rebecca! It must be so fun to look at all the blocks up close and in person, because I was enjoying doing that with your photos. I think your MIL will be blown away by this amazing gift!

Sharon Kwilter said...

I think it's perfectly fine to imagine your own parade. Your finish is amazing. Congratulations.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

I love it! A stunning quilt, with plenty of pink! I'm sure your MIL will be speechless when she opens the parcel.

Ramona said...

What a feast for the eyes! I just love this quilt and your scrappy version is so beautiful. I don't understand why there wasn't a parade for your finish, either! :)

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I love it! this is such a pretty quilt said...

Wahoo!! One beautiful finish. . .congratulations! Your sweetie picked an awesome quilting design and the backing is perfect! Your ML is going to love it. Does she know it is coming? As for the parade, I totally relate . . .I'm sending you whoops from Oregon!

Suzanne said...

I’m eager for the story of how you and your husband/in-laws have last names that differ by one letter! Though I’m guessing it’s random chance. It reminds me of when someone marries a person who has the same last name — activist and inventor Blanche Ames married an unrelated Oakes Ames, in one story I know.

At any rate, congratulations on the finish! It’s beautiful.

Quilter Kathy said...

Absolute gorgeousness! I agree with Ramona - a feast for the eyes!

Sara said...

Halo is wonderful. Wow! I really love the mix of Tilda and other fabrics. Love that stitching design too!

Julie in GA said...

Congratulations on finishing your gorgeous Halo quilt! I think that finishing this extremely complex pattern in only five months is very impressive! Your fabrics are beautiful, the piecing is very precise, and the quilting is fantastic! All around, a great finish!

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Bravo, il est magnifique ! What a gorgeous quilt, and a fabulous gift. Your husband holds it perfectly - as we do not have the sound ;))
Thank you for sharing and linking up your quilting process and this lovely finish!

maggie fellow said...

I sent up fireworks for you - I hope you heard it. The quilt is truly a treasure

Marie said...

Congratulations! So much sooner than your October target - bravo! Love it, and the panto that you chose is just perfect. Your recipient will be overjoyed. Enjoy all the straight seams in your near future.

Anonymous said...

Love, love love!

mary said...

This is just lovely. So much for the eyes to discover.

Kathleen said...

What a gorgeous quilt your mother-in-law is receiving. I love everything about it....the fabric choices, the quilting design and the label. She will be so happy. Glad to know you are on the straight path for your next quilt....all those curves are a killer!

Brenda @ Songbird Designs said...

Absolutely gorgeous, Rebecca! Please share it over at Monday Musings for my readers to enjoy, if you don't mind! I know your MIL will LOVE it!! It's so cheerful and you did a fantastic job matching up all those circles!

Dona said...

Rebecca, it’s beautiful,I’m sure you mil will love it. You really did think of everything.
Ohhh, ihear the parade heading your way. :-))

Sandy said...

Oh my, Rebecca Grace! Your mother-in-law will spend many happy hours looking at the different fabrics and blocks and how the quilting motif hits each one! This was definitely worth the wait, and I hope someone films her as she opens the package and sees the wonderful surprise inside.

piecefulwendy said...

It's a beauty, Rebecca. She is going to love snuggling under that quilt!

Unknown said...

It's always such a pleasure to see your work. And your stories are so fun. To get one of your very own quilts finished is a big accomplishment. You keep so busy quilting for other folks. Congrats. on your Halo quilt. One could never get tired of looking at all the colors and quilting in this beauty.


Anonymous said...

Rebecca, you knocked it out of the park with this one!!! Love everything about this quilt….and, there certainly should be a celebration parade!
To answer your question, yes, I do feel a bit sad when I finish a quilt. Because I am a hand piecer, and hand quilter, my projects take months, and, in some cases, years to finish. So I become very attached to them. When I take that last stitch in the binding, it is an emotional moment…. But a happy moment, because I can pass it on to the intended recipient, and, move on to another project!
Your Halo quilt is amazing….I have enjoyed following along as this one progressed. And, since I am of the opinion that every quilt has to have as many fabrics as possible to bring out its full personality, you did a great job on that front…. As you showed the pictures along the way, and I looked at all those fabrics and their fabulous colors, I kept wondering what color binding you would use…I am so happy with your choice! Perfect!!
Thank you so much for sharing the journey of this quilt with all of us!
Sandra B

Barb N said...

Just awesome! And ditto what Sandra B said :)

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

Parades, balloons, streamers and fireworks! You deserve it all as this one was a long time coming. Beautiful finish to such a gorgeous quilt! Thanks for sharing on my weekly show and tell, Wednesday wait Loss.

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

I see a Ribbon for Rebecca in her future! You did an excellent job on this quilt and I know that it took a lot of time to make one an Heirloom. Hugs - we are off to pick up our new Travel Trailer! YIPPEE!!! Hugs

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Oh So amazing!!!! And right?? I am sure it was on the news here - pretty positive I saw the parade!!! It is so awesome to finish.. there should be a HUGE celebration!!!! You MIL is going to LOVE it!!! and wish it was cold year round!

Wendy @ Wendysquiltsandmore said...

Oh!! It’s beautiful. I bet you enjoy looking at it every day. There’s so many cute fabrics in it. The overall effect is great too - it’s very well balanced colour wise, and your execution is perfect. I love it all. congratulations.

Claire said...

Oh I think you are right on schedule. LOL. I'm sure it will be loved. I've been known to give a top one year and the finished quilt the next. I like what you did with the pattern.

Gwyned Trefethen said...

Holding a parade for you here. :) What a lovely, caring and thoughtful gift for your MIL.

quiltingbydawn said...

Your quilt is absolutely beautiful! I can't make it to your parade but I am sending a 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 well done! I love Jen Kingwell's style and color choices and yours is right up there! I'm sure your mother will love it! Congrats!

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

Wow! Absolutely gorgeous. I've always liked this pattern but yours really does it well.

Lodi said...

Halo Wowza! I have no idea how I missed this headline! (But looking back at my calendar I have an inkling...)

Thank you so much for the lessons along the way, Rebecca. You really made this pattern shine, and I am smitten!