Friday, November 9, 2018

The story of the making of an Aerial Grove Quilt.

It was a long, long time ago when I decided to make an Aerial Grove Quilt.  I fell in love with this pattern by Carolyn Friedlander from her book - Savour Each Stitch back in October 2016. I was smitten - I knew after reading the book from cover to cover that this was a quilt that I wanted to make for myself.   

First part was getting to choose all the fabrics I was going to use for my Needle turn "squircles".  I went through my Liberty fabric stash and pulled out all the ones that made me so happy in a Rainbow colour way.  Cutting up this many Liberty squares actually took a while - to cut, press and then fold back up all these fabrics.  It also made a wonderfully beautiful mess in my sewing room.

Next up was deciding what fabrics I was going to use for the backgrounds of this quilt.  I wanted the quilt to go on our Bed, so although I had picked some very girly Liberty fabrics I then decided to try to make it more something also that my hubby would love on the bed too.  As a big lover of Denim and Chambray fabrics I had the perfect variety of lots of different prints and types of these Denims and Chambray's left from projects that I had already made.  So, so far - I used the Liberty fabrics from my stash and the Denims/Chambray's also came from what I already had.

Some of the Denims and Chambray's I used are below
Gertrude Made Essentials - Texas Denim
Gertrude Made Essentials  - Chambray

I then spent the next year hand sewing all the squircles into place.  The pieces even came on our Family Cruise in December 2017 to Vanuatu.  I had already basted down the Liberty squircles so this made the strips very portable and easy to take with me places when I had a chance to stitch.  

Early in 2018 I had finally finished the hand sewing of all those squircles and began to piece together the strips and background pieces of Denims and Chambray's.

I began to build the quilt out using all the pieces of the Denims and Chambray's I had chosen to use.  I was aiming for this to be quite large and worked it up to be 2.2m x 2.2m so big enough for our Queen size bed.  I knew very early on that I was going to Hand quilt this quilt.  So I also cut the pieces for the blocks with this in mind so that I could use lots of smaller blocks to create the hand quilting design rather than leaving fabric pieces in larger squares and rectangles. In between the Denims and Chambray's I placed a few background blocks in Liberty fabrics to draw cohesion from the Liberty squircles that were in the centre.

Next I sent the Quilt off to my Long Arm Quilter.  Because I knew this was a project that was going to take me a while to work on I had the quilt Basted.  This would save me not only basting such a large Quilt myself but then I would not have to deal with the weight of the number of pins I knew this quilt would need for hand quilting.  

The next task was to collect up all the Thread I was going to use for the Hand quilting - this was the easy part - Aurifil 12wt.  I chose about 8 different blue 12wt Thread colours and then matched each the fabrics to one of these colours so that I knew which fabric would be matching to which colour thread.  

With all my tools ready for Hand quilting - I then started what I knew would be a long and rewarding process.  Over the years I have hand quilted many quilts - I love hand quilting, I find it relaxing and such a worthwhile way to add such a beautiful texture and feel to your quilt.  

If you have wanted to give hand quilting a go or already love this part of quilting and would like some extra tips - here is a Blog post I wrote all about  - My Favourite Hand Quilting Tools.  Here you will find some helpful tips and tricks. 

I used a variety of different Masking tapes - 1/4in, 1/2in and 1inch tapes to help create the spaced lines which went horizontally, vertically or diagonally randomly throughout each background block. 

Once I could see the finish line almost in sight for all the hand quilting, I then went back to my Liberty stash and found some Binding that would go perfectly for that finishing touch to the quilt.

Aren't Binding Babies ever so cute - always the perfect way to store your Bindings and  so very helpful when it comes time to sew the Binding onto your Quilt.

The Backing I choose to use for the Quilt - well that took a long time to decide what to go with.  My first initial though was that I wanted to use Liberty.  I knew that was an extravagant way to use this fabric and it was for the backing so I tried to work through other options.  I looked at Widebacks, lots of different Chambray's and Denim options, I tried looking at yardage of regular Quilting cottons that I thought might work.  It wasn't working for me.  I had spied this Liberty Betsy in Denim from Ava and Neve and then just could get this out of my head to use this.  While it certainly was a luxury - I figured that this was going to be our quilt, all the fabric for the top had come from my stash and mostly I knew I would have regretted not using it.

Within the first 10 seconds of opening up the package of the yardage of this Betsy I knew I had made the right decision.  This Liberty was going to hand quilt up a dream, be so soft and have a much lighter weight to the overall quilt - especially as I had used the Denims and Chambray's on the front which are a little heavier than regular quilting cottons.  I was in love!    

So all in all this quilt took about 2 years to make from beginning to end.  Certainly a wonderful journey in hand sewing and hand quilting.  

Happy Quilting
Jemima x 


  1. This quilt is so beautiful and inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing your process.

  2. I love this quilt! Such a great choice of fabrics. I made one and used Liberty for the squircles too! I did use wool batting, did some big stitch quilting by hand and some machine quilting. And it’s my favorite quilt!

  3. I too was inspired by Caorlyn's Aerial Grow design and started one a few years ago . . . your lovely and creative version of this quilt has inspired me to take it up again. Thank you.


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