Netflix, hand quilting and an unfinished wedding quilt

Big stitch 03

Every August I pull out my wedding quilt with the intention of finishing by my anniversary at the end of the month, put in a few hand quilting stitches, miss my deadline and put it back away again until next year.

Last year was my fifth anniversary. I had promised my husband I would finish it by that milestone. But with a three-month old in the house, I failed miserably at meeting that deadline. I don’t think I even worked on the quilt at all.

The signature quilt is one of the first bed quilts I started. The six-inch squares feature a four inch square in the center that guests at our wedding signed at the reception. I thought people would just sign their names but many wrote beautiful, funny and, at times, inappropriate messages. Really you’re asking someone to be dirty when you have an open bar and ask a bunch of 20-something guys to write on a quilt square. Let’s just say one square didn’t make it into the quilt. It is still floating around my sock drawer.

Big stitch 02

The problem is I finished the quilt top very early in my quilting life. I hadn’t even figured out how to sew an accurate quarter inch seam. So instead of attempting to quilt it on my domestic sewing machine, I opted for hand quilting using big stitch.

I am not positive that “big stitch” as it is defined by my quilt guild is the same as the actual definition. But to do it, you take pearl cotton, thread it onto a large eye needle and start stitching. The stitches on the top of the quilt should all be about a quarter of an inch long, and the stitches on the back of the quilt should be as small as you can make them.

It was a great solution for me at the time, because I was able to control a needle for hand quilting much better than a sewing machine for free motion quilting. Plus, since the stitch was supposed to be large, I didn’t have to worry about getting teeny tiny, perfectly even stitches with fine hand quilting.

The problem is while I am a competent hand quilter, I really don’t enjoy it. I prefer working on a sewing machine any day of the week to handwork. All you have to do is look at my stack of UFOs. The majority of them require hand sewing.

Big stitch 01

So maybe this year will finally be the year. I just have two borders left, which I could complete during the time it takes to binge watch one season of a show of my choosing on Netflix. Completely doable. My husband works in the evening, so it would be great to just surprise him on our anniversary with the finished quilt hanging in our living room. I think that would make a great anniversary gift, since he asks about this quilt often.

Now I just have to browse my list on Netflix for the perfect show.

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Comment (3)

  1. Sounds like a great anniversary gift for both of you; I bet it would feel great to finally have this done and not weighing on your mind. Good luck!

  2. What a wonderful ‘memory’ quilt. It looks as if you are doing a fantastic job of hand quilting. It makes me realise
    I need to be a little more precise when I hand quilt. Clearly worth all the effort it has taken.

  3. Thank you for the ideas of what to do with all the signed 6 inch squares i have from my daughters wedding in 2011. Wanted to do a courthouse steps layout because they got married in Washington Courthouse, Oh. However i cant work on it until i get my other daughters wedding quilt done from 2004. That one is a simple lovers knot done in their birth stone &wedding colors of saphire blue & amathyst with dark red and white. From a distance it looks like a red, white , blue quilt. Not sure if i like it. Like the pattern….its the colors i am having trouble with. They will all be quilt as you go method. There is no way i can hand quilt them if i want them done in my lifetime. Yours is beautiful.


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