Our Hearts Will Go On Quilt

Project Info

Pattern: Our Hearts Will Go On by Karen Bialik

Fabric: 100% Cotton quilting fabrics + batiks. This pattern uses 10 different colors of fabric which makes for a complex shopping trip! While the pattern does a good job of trying to match each color with a designating letter that it then refers to throughout the pattern, the photos aren’t perfect so it took me awhile to match each fabric with the correct letter. I used four different shades of purple, four different shades of blue, white for the background, and a light gray for the edge border. Because this quilt was going to be slightly up-sized to a king quilt, I also added an additional border to add on the extra inches.

When connecting letters with fabrics, I ended up with: A = Darkest Purple, B = Darker Purple, C = Darkest Blue, D = Lighter Purple, E = Darker Blue, F = Lighter Blue , G = Lightest Purple, H = Lightest Blue, I = White, J = Gray.

Time to Completion: November 25, 2020 – December 28, 2021

Project Notes: With friends planning on getting married in 2022, long after the pandemic (hopefully) will have faded from the forefront of our everyday lives and interactions, I decided to embark on an incredibly ambitious quilting project with my mom to give them a traditional wedding gift of a quilt. After browsing patterns, I found several that I liked. I had been warned away from attempting the ultra traditional wedding ring design because we weren’t sure we could manage curves, but then I found this pattern which I liked almost MORE than the wedding ring design itself. With ten different colors of fabric, wildly complicated squares and rectangles and diamonds and triangles that all had to match up just so, there was initially some apprehension that this pattern also included curves. After a closer study and that revealed the curves to be an illusion, I bought the pattern and prepared for a trip to buy fabric.

Our final selections, since I consider myself far from being an expert at colors, I brought my partner with me to shop and he helped select all of the different shades. Based on my friend’s preferences we were looking for a purple/gray color scheme. It ended up being a purple/blue color scheme with some gray accents.

Taking advantage of the fact that we were located in Minnesota, we headed to SR Harris Fabrics to the largest fabric warehouse in Minnesota. I did a whole lap of the place once we entered and was severely disappointed that I couldn’t spend hours just buying all of it. Due to the pandemic, the line outside was long and our haste was appreciated by the waiting customers. We left with ten different pieces of cut fabrics at varying lengths, far cheaper than it would have been online; now we’d just have to hope that I’d correctly matched the colors with the letters and cut the correct lengths (they operate as a self-service cutting business unless you need more than five yards and the most I needed was 3 yards so it was just me, a yardstick, and some scissors to get it all done.

Knowing that I’d only be working on this over breaks between semester, I felt like a two year timeline was more than enough. My plan was to get started over Thanksgiving break, do some cutting, finish the cutting over winter break and maybe start piecing together some of the smaller squares. But apparently quilting goes a lot faster with two people and the right tools so we finished all of the cutting in an afternoon and were able to ascertain which fabrics I hadn’t cut enough of (luckily it was just one of them and luckily we were able to find more on the internet. The cutting, sewing and piecing all flew by with two of us working on it.

As always, my little helper was eager to sit on the squares even before I’d finished laying them out as we prepared to start piecing.

Fully pieced except for one block. We accidentally miscut some diamonds and had just enough fabric to correctly re-cut all but one of them. That last block will have to wait until the new fabric arrives.

With the final block missing, the project had to be laid aside until the last bit of fabric arrived. As I watched the tracking, eager to finish piecing, it didn’t escape me as my. fabric became delayed due to the winter rush, when it was finally marked as on the truck near the end of December, I rushed out to fetch my fabric just to find it non-existent. A claim with USPS revealed that my fabric was lost. I reached back out to the seller just to discover that she was out of stock. Apparently Botanical Blenders is a popular fabric that’s also hard to get ahold of. With hope dwindling, I returned to Minnesota and three months after originally buying the fabric, I returned to the fabric warehouse where’d I’d found it, my. hopes dwindling. Amazingly, my fabric was still there, though with two different shades to choose from. A call to California clarified as best as we could which fabric was correct and the scant ¼ yard of fabric was placed safely into my knitting bag, ready for my next trip back to California.

The next trip to California, a post-semester trip in May, was highly productive with us finishing the quilt top and adding the border, enough for it to fit a king size bed. As we added the border, we ditched the original gray fabric I had bought, instead opting for white fabric which matched the overall design much better.

This was an incredibly satisfying step to have completed as it meant that we were past the precision sewing needed to ensure the shapes came together nicely and would be moving on to creating the quilt sandwich and quilting the entire thing together.

Feeling successful, the quilt was once again folded up and stored away, awaiting my next quick trip to California.

A quick Thanksgiving trip yielded another huge leap forward in the project, with just seven months until my friends wedding, and potentially only three more trips home in the intervening time, I was beginning to feel the time pressure. With little guidance on how to quilt the massive blanket, we opted for following the curved lines on the main design, and doing a 60 degree diamond pattern along the border.

With the center and the borders completed, I jumped ahead and insisted we put the binding on. Hours at the sewing machine had left me feeling like hand sewing might be a nice change of pace so my mom and I started at different corners and raced each other to put on the binding. Obviously she won. With all of this completed and still one day left in my Thanksgiving vacation, I wasn’t ready to tackle the final bit of hand quilting that would be needed, nor was I in the headspace to re-examine all of the quilting done so far and find our mistakes and re-do those areas. Instead, my mom suggested I play with the embroidery settings on her machine and create the quilt label.

This felt like a much more fun way to spend my last day and to take a break from the main quilt project, so I took some extra fabric and started playing with the embroidery settings, measure out distances to get the center correct and finally created and attached the label for the quilt.

With one last test fit on the bed to admire the quilt, it was once again time for me to head back to Minnesota.

Just a few weeks later I was back in Minnesota, the semester ended, prepared for winter vacation which inevitably meant that I got sick. Luckily, one of the final steps to finish the quilt was to hand quilt little hearts in the center of the twenty 4″ squares scattered throughout. Needle in hand, buried under the blanket for warmth, I tackled the hearts and the next day we finished the final steps of cutting out snags, fixing unraveling ends in the quilted sections, and then tossing the whole thing into the wash to clean off the dirt, dust, and dog hair that accumulated as it was continually picked up off the floor, placed back down on the floor, and sat on by both dogs.

Washing the quilt turned into its own production as we decided to air dry it to ensure there was no shrinkage. Air drying it, of course, did nothing for taking off the little bits of cotton and fuzzies all over the quilt and the delicate wash left it with some chalk still on it. After leaving it draped across various apparatuses in the laundry room for twenty four hours, we went after it with damp washcloths and lint rollers and finally declared the quilt finished.

With six month to spare, the quilt was finished. And now I could spend six months photographing the quilt, figuring out exactly what to write in the card and googling how to wrap it stylishly.

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