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Anatomy of a Wedding Quilt Part I

Ahh, the chateaux of France. . . here's a pretty one photographed by my brother-in-law William.

Ahh, the chateaux of France. . . here’s a pretty one photographed by my brother-in-law William.

Another year, another family wedding! My niece/goddaughter will be marrying in the French village where she grew up and we’re so excited to visit that side of the family for such a joyous event. Of course, such a milestone requires the bestowal of a wedding quilt so I’ve been working away at my latest nuptial project.

Street life--strolling through a small town in France, again by William Rounds.

Street life–strolling through a small town in France, again by William Rounds.

Quilt Inspiration, a blog co-authored by sisters Marina and Daryl Lynn is one of my favorite sources for quilting ideas. They’ve got the best selection of free quilt patterns stacked in the blog’s rightmost column. I took a gander last fall and downloaded a few to share with the bride’s sisters.  Jelly Roll Strip Starburst by Kimberly Einmo and Brigit Schuller, published by the quilt batting manufacturer, Fairfield, made the cut.

Quilt-J:  Jelly Roll Stars

Jelly Roll Strip Starburst by Kimberly Einmo and Brigit Schuller.

True confessions:  I had to choose a quilt pattern that worked with my preselected quilt backing. I don’t usually work backwards like that, but I own serious yardage of Alexander Henry Harajuku Ladies and it’s pretty darn fabulous. Laura’s the one who revealed the print’s charms to me in a past post.

Turns out that my backing choice is serendipitous—the bridegroom is of Japanese descent and the design is both modern and retro, which is perfect for a young, happening couple.

Quilting kismet! I knew there was a reason why I broke the bank on that yardage.

Fabric-J:  Harajuku Ladies by Robert Kaufman

Harajuku Ladies from Robert Kaufman fabric.

FYI:  I’m a bit of a contrarian when it comes to following quilt patterns. I’ve just got to put my own spin on whatever one I select, and so my niece’s wedding quilt is a riff on Kimberly’s original. My preference was to set the stars on a white field so there’d be plenty of space for quilting. I wanted something clean-lined that could age reasonably well:  scrappy, bright, and light-filled. I’m no seer, but I suspect (and hope) simplicity trumps all when it comes to enduring appeal.

First draft of layout--not there yet but getting there.

First draft of layout–not there yet, but almost.

I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the quilting with this project and considered many options. That’s the detail, I think, that will really make the quilt shine and so I’ve commissioned a truly spectacular long-arm quilter to add an heirloom touch to the wedding quilt.

Even though delivering the quilt and backing should be a no-stress step in the quilt-building process, I actually find it nerve-racking, even though it’s about delegating the workload and unloading anxiety. Is my quilt top well sewn? Are my borders wavy? Do I have enough backing? Are my requirements insane? Am I a high-maintenance client? Will the quilter, to my shame, send back my quilt for fixing before quilting?

Rather than freak myself out with worries, I decided that I’d tackle these questions in my Friday post where I will share insights from an interview of Marla Monson, long-arm quilter extraordinaire. She’s helping me channel my angst and quilting the wedding quilt.

Till Friday . . .  


French cows in a mist photographed by the bride's sister (and daughter of William).

French cows in a mist photographed by the bride’s sister (and daughter of William).

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