Wednesday, 16 May 2018

O Canada (How Do I Quilt Thee?)

This gorgeous quilt was designed to commemorate each of Canada's 10 provinces and 3 territories.

Client quilt

Its blocks are rich with detailed applique, and my job was to enhance each scene while stitching down said applique.

Without making a mess.

Easier said than done.

Many layers of applique done with batiks = holes that cannot be "erased" once they're poked.
Once a hole, always a hole. (And a longarm needle is the fencepost of needles, soooo . . . no pressure! ha!)

Despite the (self imposed) pressure, I loaded the quilt and dug in.

Basting stitches were placed so the holes wouldn't show after the stitches were removed.

After the quilt was basted I stitched the white border and then moved on to the sashing around each picture.
(At that point I worked from the bottom-up to avoid unnecessary rolling of the quilt, though I did roll and begin in the center of the quilt when it was time to tackle the pictures.)

Goose block before quilting

I wasn't concerned with outlining every single bit of applique if there was a way to secure it artistically. This quilt is destined to hang on the wall, not to be washed and handled as a bed quilt. Different purpose, different rules!

Goose block after quilting

With that in mind, I used many, MANY jump stitches so I wouldn't fill the ditches with thread. Jump stitches are FAR more efficient than constantly cutting thread - and saving time saved my client money (which I'm sure was appreciated!).

Jump stitches can leave the back a bit messy, but my main concern with a wall quilt is the front.

Skinny pieces of applique can only take so much torture before shredding into oblivion, so the only option was to leave well enough alone even when I thought a change might improve things.

For instance, in one heavily layered spot the thread looked a bit shreddy on the back. The stitches looked fine on the front, and were secure, so I knew it would be smarter to leave them than to try and re-do the area.

That took will power, I tell ya! Will. Power.

I enjoyed adding perspective lines and details to help ground the critters.

There are 29 different thread colours in this quilt.

Scratch that. There are THIRTY - I forgot to count the cone on the machine!


It's hard to pick a favourite block.

Maybe this one?

(Or the puffins? The farm? Oh! Maybe the bluejay? Oh my. How 'bout ALL OF THE BLOCKS!!!)
The outer border was the last thing to be quilted. Fancy stitching would have been lost on the print so I opted for simple wavy lines radiating out to the edges of the quilt instead.

This quilt was a ton o' work, but mostly it felt like play!

O Canada, you're the one for me! What an honour it was to help with this beautiful tribute to our fair land. 

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River
Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts

Try, Learn & Grow!


  1. Love the quilting! I have mine all pieced, and waiting for some quilting inspiration. I may borrow a few of your ideas if that's ok.

  2. I've been waiting to see this one it all its glory!! It looks fantastic! Absolutely fantastic!!

  3. Wow. I can see why you'd be nervous touching that quilt. It's magnificent. And your quilting is lovely, as usual. Your client must be thrilled (I know I would be!).

  4. You did an amazing job. This quilt is a true eye-candy!

  5. That is a whole lot of thread changes, but it was clearly so worth it. The polar bear block might be my favorite... tough to make a choice, though!

  6. You did a beautiful job with the quilting, this quilt is just amazing!

  7. Amazing work. Your quilting choices are perfect for this quilt. 30 different thread colours-wow! I'm sure your client must be thrilled.

  8. That's a boat-load of thread changes! What fun you must have had stitching here and there. That's actually my favorite kind of quilting! Just lovely!

  9. My goodness, what an exquisite quilt! You did a fantastic job with the quilting, adding the perfect touch. Great job!!

    What are jump stitches? Is that a long arm thing?

  10. Your client really made a masterpiece of a quilt and of course, you provided the finishing beautiful touches. All so wonderful to see.

  11. Pretty incredible! The quilt top itself is beautiful, but after the beautiful job you quilting it, it’s a masterpiece! I’m certain she’s was pleased as punch! I really enjoyed this post. Curious to know more about jump stitches.

  12. What a fantastic quilt and your quilting was the special added touch!

  13. Beautiful, thank you for sharing!


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