31 March 2022

Teal Shadows

My quilting goal for 2022 is to finish at least one WIP list project each month. February got away from me. But heck, it's a short month, right??? I've made up for it in March. Teal Shadows is my second finish for the month.

I remembered buying a sealed plastic bag of teal fabric squares many years ago, but I did not remember that I bought them because my dear friend Shonna was battling ovarian cancer until I looked up the story behind this quilt. I also didn't remember that some of the blocks in the package were hiddeous. Or not even teal. It's a good thing we write down our quilt stories. So much would be lost if we didn't.

I DID remember that when I later bought teal charm packs to go along with my teal squares, I had squares in two different sizes. I'd always wanted my 3D illusion quilt to be different from all the others I'd seen. I remember being very pleased with how my alternating four- and five-inch squares looked when I finished this flimsy back in 2016. I think Shonna would have loved it.

Now that the simply imperfect quilting is done, too, I feel like Shonna might have been looking over my shoulder while I was taking photos. I think she might have been smiling.

I wanted the shadows to look as if they were truly behind the blocks, so I quilted them very densely in a solid teal that almost perfectly matched. I wanted the teal squares to look puffy, so I didn't do much stitching in them with the last of my King Tut Arabian Nights. I ran out of YLI Alaskan Twilight while I was quilting the background so went in-person thread shopping for the first time in more than two years, to no avail. So I finished up the quilting in a pastel ocean mist solid that beautifully matches the background fabric. I used a solid turquoise thead that matches the Cosmos backing on the entire back. My solid thread colors are Signature and Gutermann.

Then came the *fun* full three nights of weaving in all 404 thread ends. No, I didn't count them, other than the background threads. I multiplied the number of illusion blocks (49) by eight, which is how many thread ends I had to weave in on each one, then added in the 12 background thread ends. Gosh, no wonder it took so long!!! Not my favorite part of the quilting process, but it's gotta be done.

This quilt top is so old, I no longer have any of the Toscana I used for the background and shadows, and I used up all the Cosmos backing leftovers as backing for one of the butterfly quilts I made for my grand nieces a few years ago. I didn't want to buy more fabric for the binding, and I wasn't in the mood to hunt through my stash for something that might work. I momentarily considered assembling all my teal scraps and probably would have taken on that challenge if I wasn't trying to make up for not finishing a quilt in February.

I placed the quilt on the floor to begin trimming off the edges when I suddenly realized there MIGHT be enough Cosmos backing all the way around to fold it over into a self-bind. Intrigued, I immediately began pinning, and a swarm of memories of the quilting bees I used to attend in the church basement with my grandmother when I was a child came flooding back.

We used to get together almost every weekend to make a baby blanket for an expectant mother. Someone had the layers all set up on a wooden frame, and we'd sit around the quilt to stitch by hand from the outside in, rolling it up as we went and becoming more tightly packed against each other as the stitchable portion of the quilt shrank. If we didn't have the packaged (nylon or satin?) blanket binding, we'd roll the edges over and stitch by hand. I didn't know anything about strip binding until the last 20 or so years, and I never machine-stitched a fabric strip binding until Crazy Mom Quilts published her wonderful tutorial.

I think I still have a package of that vintage blanket binding somewhere in the basement. I remember learning how to zigzag Wright's satin-finish binding onto a baby quilt back before the turn of the century. I confess: I prefer today's binding methods! But, oh, what a joy it was to self-bind Teal Shadows!

I probably would have finished the quilt in an hour or so if I'd machine-stitched the edges. But my mitered corners turned out so perfect, I decided to hand-stitch them. Then I decided to begin hand-stitching the binding, just to see how it looked. I liked it so much, I spent the next four nights hand-stitching all the way around the quilt. I might have been able to finish another quilt that is ready for the longarm by the end of this month if I hadn't squandered my time with a hand-binding. But I enjoyed going back to my roots, and I absolutely love the way this quilt turned out, mistakes and all.

deep shadows

Linking up with Alycia Quilts.


  1. Well, of course Shonna is smiling! :) That is SO beautiful!!!

  2. Congrats on another lovely UFO Club finish!!

  3. Congrats on an awesome finish! LOVE the quilting you did - I see the shadows!!


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