the quilt

I’m working on the quilt- see resolutions here.


The quilt has a Japanese motif. I gave Peter several choices for what kind of quilt he’d like- the only 2 I can remember are wool or choosing fabrics from my collection of Japanese cloths. I have a lot of Japanese cloth. Some of it come from my Mom’s collection, some I have collected over the years. There are the fabrics for gift wrapping and loosely woven fabric “towels”. (I know they have official Japanese names, but I don’t know what they are.) There was a roll of cotton fabric that my Mom bought on one of her visits to Japan.

Peter picked out what he liked and I added some other fabrics (with his approval) for color and connecting. We worked on arranging them on the floor of the attic. Then he left and I got to work on other things… all fall. I think the hardest part of making the quilt is me getting started on it!


I am not set up to work on something this scale. I am making a full size quilt- approx 6ft x 7ft.  I was okay with the center panel- I made myself enough studio floor space that I could look at it. But this morning, when I need to expand out from the center, I spread out on my bed. That green in the upper right-hand corner is my blanket and not part of the quilt.


The one fabric that Peter choose that is not Japanese is that circle fish fabric. It is a batik that my Mom bought for me when I was in High School- so probably 1970 or so? I loved it so much that I never made anything out of it. I hung it on the wall for a while in college. I think I might finally be getting over that craziness of not using my favorite things- seems silly now.

The top is now finished. I am very nervous about the next step. I am considering having someone else do the quilting because I am worried about making a big mess of it. And, frankly, I don’t think I’d enjoy doing it. I know I don’t want to hand quilt, so I’m talking about machine quilting. Any thoughts on this?

14 thoughts on “the quilt

  1. The colors and patterns are great, and really have an asian feel in how you combined and set them together.

    I’d suggest finding someone who specialises in doing machine quilting; while I’m sure you would be capable of it, a full size quilt is a really big hunk of textile to horse around a home sewing machine, and some folks have (invested in) the special equipment to do it more easily.

    I recently tried machine quilting on a small baby quilt, and it wasn’t fun, and I still have nightmares about the time I ended up sewing together two twin size comforters to make a jumbo king-size one…

    That said, one bit of advice that I have seen mentioned in several places regarding hiring someone to machine quilt a quilt top, is to be very sure to see several samples of their current work, and to be really clear about what you want the finished quilting to look like, so there are no surprises.

  2. Hi Mimi. The quilt is lovely! I would strongly suggest finding a long-arm quilter to do the quilting. If you have never done it before, it can be a daunting task. I have free-motion quilted up to a twin quilt on my home machine and it is quite a task. :) I have included my email address here and would be happy to suggest my quilter, who lives in Candia, NH. I know that is far for you, but she is really great. A kindred spirit, if you will. :) I am hoping to make it to the meet up next week.

    Take care,


  3. Mimi,

    Several years ago, I tackled a pieced quilt top. Then, knowing that the quilting would derail me and I’d end up looking at it folded up for years before I actually got around to doing it, I inquired at a very good local quilt shop and asked for the name of someone to do it for me. They gave me a few names. When I settled on someone, I gave her some pointers of things I was looking for (in-the ditch and star shapes) and she did a beautiful job on the rest.

    I have to tell you it was the best thing I ever hired someone to help me with and it was worth every single cotton-stitchin penny! It’s hung on my wall for 7 years now, and fills my heart with joy to see it (and know it’s complete!)

    Good luck! the colors and textures are looking wonderful together.

  4. I am personally terrible a quilting, machine or otherwise. My blankets end up with many unintended wrinkles and pleats, and when I get from one side to another it never matches up, but thats just me. A pro quilter is definitely a consideration. My mother in law makes quilting look so easy! She sews very slowly, which I have no patience for, and has very expensive sewing machines. I think they even have special programs on them so she can push a button and walk away while it does all the work! (She does not walk away though)

  5. If you have never done any machine quilting, I think you would be happier paying someone to do a professional job. You will love the results. Waves and fish as the previous comment mentioned, would be a good choice and a machine quilter will have pantograms for those motifs.Good luck, it is going to be gorgeous! Quilting really does make the quilt!

  6. I am a purist at heart but relented when I made my son’s quilt and hired someone to do the quilting. She has a business with the long-arm contraption, etc. She did a terrific job and I will call on her for the next one! If the quilter in Candia, NH, noted in a comment above, doesn’t work out, I can recommend the one I used who is in Merrimack, NH.
    Peter’s quilt looks fabulous – love the Japanese theme!

  7. Machine quilting is a great alternative to doing it by hand. You need a walking foot. Your quilt would be lovely with closely-spaced “wavy” parallel lines down the whole thing (mimicking ocean waves, if you will). If you haven’t done this before, it might seem daunting. But, I find it very meditative and satisfying. It may be fun for you to do it with someone more experienced, to build confidence for next time. When I was learning machine quilting I did a lot of practicing on smaller scraps.

  8. i think that hiring it out would make a great option. i have done all myself but never started on something this large. It takes a bit of getting used to before you feel comfortable with doing larger pieces. when you do get it done, be specific in what you want… hearts, i love fish…bring pictures with ideas or of quilts that you have seen that you like the design of. She can also quilt it with a pattern that is the same on the whole top, or she could do each strip or piece of fabric with their own pattern. Lots of things to think of……and trust her! know that this is her proffession and she knows it. Just like you do dolls. hope that helps. can’t wait to see it all quilted!
    heads up—another tea cup done by a friend here is her link. Love that pattern!!

  9. I have not done quilting before and I have so much admiration for quilt artists.
    You have a lovely collection of fabrics and I’m sure you will do a great job.x

  10. Hi, I have done a couple of quilts and while I can see that getting your quilt machined by someone else would be great on one hand, and may give it a more ‘professional’ look I’d like to suggest there’s also another way to look at it. Quilting a large quilt on a home machine is daunting and time consuming. But quilting isn’t especially hard – there’s just a lot of it. I love that my quilts are made by me, all the way through the process. The fun bits, the hard bits, the boring bits and the completion bits. I baste well (I use spray) and choose quite simple quilting patterns – on my king size bed quilt I just did straight lines – to make it as easy on myself as I can but I think your sense of achievement and satisfaction will be really high if you do your own quilting.

  11. Oh, that is just lovely. I only started quilting about four months ago and it had never occurred to me to send it off to someone else to quilt it – I was kind of amazed that people did that as I saw it as I’d done all the hard work and now someone else got to do the easy part. HA! I KNOW. Now I look at some of the amazing quilting on other people’s quilts and understand, but I know I will always do my own quilting – it can be frustrating and difficult to wrangle the quilt through my inherited 1960s sewing machine, but the work is all mine and there is infinite joy in that. Besides, I don’t care for all those fancy busy quilting patterns – I think they detract from the fabric and the piecing. So there you go, two cents worth plus more!

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