Friday, September 3, 2010

Completed Rainbow String Quilt

It's been well over two months since I finished my Rainbow String Quilt, but I won't feel like it's truly complete until I post about it. I started working on this quilt in March and it only took around four months to complete. I think that feeling so passionate about it and the fact that I was making it for myself after almost two years of planning, collecting fabrics, and debating on the exact type of quilt I wanted to make allowed me to finish it relatively quickly.

The quilt began like this:

This is the plan I created before I started so I could visualize the finished product as I was working. I originally intended that each color would have a different number of fabrics, but I realized as I was working that the decidedly wonky effect that it would create would make the quilt look less polished. This meant that I would have to buy more fabrics for certain colors, even though I already had well over 125 different ones to begin with. The most common number of fabrics that I had for each color was around 16, so I decided I'd go with that many fabrics for each color. Getting the color gradations to flow correctly from one to another was very difficult at times. I had very specific ideas for fabrics I needed to get colors to flow from one to another, and sometimes I couldn't find what I looked for. It was especially difficult with the oranges and yellows. Eventually everything seemed to work out alright.

The quilt measures 60" by 80". Each color has two rows of 12 5" blocks, so each color is made of 24 blocks. It consists of 8 individual colors, so the quilt is made of 192 blocks. I chose to paper piece the blocks with computer paper, which worked out just fine but when it came time to take all of the paper off at the end it felt like it took forever. The next time I make a string quilt I might choose to use a light-weight fabric to sew the blocks to; it would eliminate the need to tear off the paper at the end and would give it an extra bit of heaviness that might feel nice.

While I was working on the blocks I thought I might do a more decorative back with leftover fabrics or perhaps a nice patterned fabric, but while at my local quilt store I found the most wonderful fabric for the back. It's a black sateen Kona cotton, and it feel so soft and luxurious. I wish that all Kona cotton were sateen, but I've only found a few of them that are.

When I assembled all of the blocks into rows, inevitably some didn't line up correctly. Fortunately there are very few places where it is glaringly obvious and you have to be very close to notice them. It does show up on the back when you see the quilting. Speaking of which, I quilted the quilt by sewing along either side of the black fabric using black thread. I cannot offhand remember the type of thread (Konfeti, maybe), but I do know that I'll be using it much more frequently in my sewing. It's very soft and doesn't fuzz up when you sew.

The binding was hand-sewn using the the same black sateen Kona cotton and black thread I had used for the back. I wanted to use the same so as not to detract from the colors in the quilt and to highlight the black fabric within the quilt. It also makes it very soft to hold next to your face. With the exception of the first quilt I've ever made I have always tried to sew mitered corners. It makes the quilt look very polished. This is the best job that I've done yet.

I wish I had the wall space in my craft room to hang my quilt. It's so lovely to look at and I worked so hard on it that I'm afraid to use it! I have entered it in my state's fair and maybe after it has been shown (and must stay in tip-top shape) I'll start using it. I'm debating making individual blocks of each color to hang on my wall in lieu of the entire quilt. I also love the color red a whole lot, and I felt the red portion turned out so nicely that I might make a small red string quilt as a wall hanging in my den. There was also a ton of fabric leftover from this quilt and I want to make a couple of scrappy quilts utilizing it: a color wheel quilt like that featured on Purl Bee and a crazy quilt.

1. (1) Red Close-up, 2. (2) Orange Close-up, 3. (3) Yellow Close-up, 4. (4) Yellow-Green Close-up, 5. (5) Green Close-up, 6. (6) Aqua Close-up, 7. (7) Blue Close-up, 8. (8) Purple Close-up


  1. Congratulations! This is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL thing EVER ... such fantastic sense of colour - I hope you win prizes galore and then use it use it use it - you deserve that soft coloured loveliness ... I am so impressed

  2. That quilt is beyond amazing! I bet you could hardly sleep when you finished - didn't you want to just keep looking at it?!!! Congratulations. You should be very proud.

  3. Wow, your quilt is AMAZING!!!!
    So beautiful.
    PS: BTW, I love rainbows too :)

  4. This is an amazing quilt. So pleasing to look at. Off to look at the close-up images.