Thursday, 7 November 2013

Introducing Salt Water Bargello

This graduation quilt has been my primary project for a good part of the year. It was finally completed and sent off a few weeks ago (only 4 months later than the actual graduation!) and I'm very excited to finally be able to share it for TGIFF and Free Motion Friday.

It's never easy to find manly quilting fabrics and designs, but I think I did a pretty good job with this one. The main focus is the green octopus Salt Water print, with a thin strip of Just Color by Studio E for visual interest. The black background is Painter's Canvas from Michael Miller.

The design is loosely inspired by the Modern Bargello Block from last year's Something New Sampler. (I made the block in orange - see it here.) This design is made up of offset strips, which made it very easy to quilt in pieces and assemble at the very end. (You can see the black strip in the middle where I joined my two pieces. In retrospect, I wish I'd used green.)

It took a while to decide how to quilt this project. The Salt Water print is really cool, and needed to be the centre of attention, so I wanted something that would mostly fade into the background while really emphasizing the octopi. The only way to really do that was to outline every single octopus, so I set about doing that. In order to get from one octopus to another without breaking thread too often, I ended up outlining all of the flowers as well. I used matching thread, so it's pretty much invisible from the front, but here's a shot of the back showing the cool pattern created by the outlines.

Once the octopi were done, I was left with the question of how to quilt the negative space around them.  I chose a boxy design that I was pretty comfortable with, since the whole area was going to be black-on-black. It was already difficult enough to see where I was going without the confusion of learning a new design at the same time. Plus, the loopy boxes are somewhat manly and great for texture.

I'm really happy with the way it turned out, I think it will be warm and comfy! Now that this project is done, I'm looking forward to my next big undertaking (or three).


  1. This is wonderful. I love the quilting and I have used the rounded boxes a lot myself. An excellent graduation quilt.

  2. Love that beautiful.

  3. Whoa. Your quilting is awesome! And I always love me some Tula. :)

  4. I really like the interaction of the two motifs, the curvy outline and the boxy texture. Dynamite combination!

  5. Hello MC, This is a really lovely big bold design, perfect for a bloke, and the quilting is great. The strip in the centre needed to be black - green would have cut the design in two. Love, Muv

  6. New quilter from Oklahoma, USA. Glad to meet our Canadian Quilting Neighbors. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com