Steph Skardal QuiltsSteph Skardal Quilts

Aurifil Artisan Challenge: November 2020

When the Aurifil Artisan challenges were announced for the 2020 - 2021 year, I was more than halfway done hand quilting this piece, and I decided to use the Aurifil challenge as an impetus for getting it done!

It’s always been on my bucket list to make a larger quilt that was entirely hand quilted, as most of my quilts are domestic or longarm quilted. Starting back in March, I pieced this quilt using my curved foundation paper piecing method, not knowing at that time how I would quilt it. But as March progressed, so did the effects of Coronavirus on the United States, and by the time I was finished piecing this quilt, I was just starting my two months of stay-at-home, with three kids at home and trying to maintain a working schedule for two working parents. So, I decided that this would be the quilt I would hand quilt, because those stay-at-home times were generally exhausting and anxiety filled in those early days.

I hand quilted it throughout April and into May, and by that time I was starting to pick up a few other commitments (e.g. teaching for QuiltCon Together), so hand quilting became my relaxing evening activity. I finally finished the hand quilting in July, but at that time, my quilt had morphed into a bit of a volcano. I tried blocking throughout the hand quilting process, but the volcano got worse and worse, and I suspected that I had stretched fabric on the bias and it could not be unstretched. The quilt was set aside, unbound for a couple months, waiting for me to make a decision on what to do!

So, in October, after putting off a decision for a few months, I decided to cut it up and put it back together! I cut the quilt into four squared up pieces, removing some of the bulk in the center of the piece (after reinforcing the hand stitches). I rejoined the large blocks by first machine stitching strips along the quilt top, then using light weight heat bonded interfacing on the batting, and finally appliquing strips on the back. I re-finished the hand quilting by stitching in those added strips, which proved a little tricky because of the number of layers. I finished the quilt by adding chunky binding and double hand stitching the binding for detail.

Anyways! I used Aurifil 12 weight thread in light jade (1148) for all the hand quilting, and Aurifil 50 weight thread for all the piecing. I used new-to-me Bohin needles for the hand quilting and I was happy with pairing the Bohin needles with Aurifil thread and Sew Fine thread gloss. I’m very happy with how this quilt turned out and happy to finally check a fully hand quilted piece off my list.