Friday, January 22, 2016

Herringbone in Blue: A Wedding Quilt

This quilt was one of my goals for 2015, and I finished it just at the end of the year on a personal deadline. It's a double-sided, unique, and special keepsake for one of my oldest friends, Julie, and her new husband Brian, who married in October!

Early on in their engagement, I asked the happy couple if they would have need for a special quilt; if so, I wanted to make it as their wedding gift. As fellow quilters will know, this is one of those priceless gifts that really, truly means something at the start of a marriage. Luckily for me, they were excited by the prospect, and Julie and I began to plan out the quilt!

 Work in progress as I sewed with guild friends back in July

Julie chose black and white with a touch of blue for the front. I added in cream (unusual for me) because it really pulled the whole thing together. I had a BLAST gathering fabric for this project, based on them both (Julie is a writer, nurse, lover of Paris, and Brian loves music, so I incorporated all those things). I included Sudoku fabric, not knowing that my best friend loves Sudoku. :) Luckily, most of my unique fabric finds were easily bought from Sew Me A Song. Becca curates the most amazing fabrics!

The QAYG Herringbone tutorial is thorough and well-written, but this is by no means a fast quilt. Sewing the strips onto batting took A.G.E.S. I guess if you consider the quilting I didn't do on top (though I added in some straight lines for looks), I may have saved time overall. I only worked on this project when I was sewing with friends or watching a movie so I was significantly distracted from the boredom. :D Just being honest! Choosing which strips to go next was intriguing, though.

Photo credit: Clay Toporski

The backing was especially exciting to plan and create. Just like my wedding quilt, I offered Julie and Brian the option of sewing up their wedding guestbook. We based the colors on their autumn wedding attire/flowers. :)

 I cut out about 175 squares in Kona Papaya, Cheddar, and Taupe, pressed them onto freezer paper for writing stability, taped the edges, and monitored the guestbook table periodically throughout the wedding. The messages and pictures were SO fun to read through as I pieced the back together!!

Here's a work in progress shot of putting the backing together. Oversized modern maple blocks and the colors represent the October wedding, and the crosses are based on their church's backsplash (see what happens when you invite quilters to weddings?). Some squares were sewn together at random in between to create interest.

Since the top was done in a quilt-as-you-go (QAYG) style, it was already quilted! I sewed several straight lines with my walking foot down the whole quilt to hold it all together and prevent constant shifting. This is the only quilting that shows up on the back. It worked perfectly for such a massive quilt (queen size with a huge overhang)!

It was really difficult to get pictures of this quilt single-handedly. I swear my arms gained distinctive muscles in those three minutes. Luckily, this week, I had the pleasure of presenting the quilt in all its glory, and the newlyweds were thrilled! It made my heart happy to see so much happy. :)

I hope I get to make special wedding quilts like this for the rest of my life. It truly was a pleasure to make and to be a bridesmaid in Julie's wedding.

Just for fun, here's us at my wedding in 2012, where she was a maid of honor. How lucky am I?


Unexpected outtake picture that I had to include here:
"Mike, did you get the right shot yet?"

 You can read more about this quilt here (fabric pulls) and here (when I presented the top at her shower).


  1. Getting to make wedding quilts is such a fun part of being a quilter! This one is beautiful. I love that the front and back have such different colour schemes and, well, really everything about the quilt ;) Nice work!

  2. What an amazing and generous gift you made them! I love that the guest book will be on the back of the quilt for them to look at so easily, that is a great idea. :)

  3. Herringbone is just fabulous! Julie is very lucky!

  4. What beautiful wedding quilts! Love the blue herringbone!

  5. Beautiful wedding quilt! Just the motivation I need to finish my brother's wedding quilt. Love the idea of the guest book for the back, what a beautiful gift!

  6. What a wonderful wedding gift! I love the two sided idea and the signed block!!- such a pretty quilt!
    You both are such beautiful brides!!

  7. Jess, just the sheer size of this is so daunting! You did an amazingly beautiful job on it--and I love how you included their colors, interests and even wedding guestbook (brilliant, btw). The smiles on their faces say it all :)

  8. It's wonderful. QAYG can sometimes be difficult on the backing, but I do love the simplicity of the stitching. Oh and that last photo... I've been married 32 years, believe me when I say you will have hundreds of those pictures, and they'll make you laugh later.

  9. This makes me feel better about the Oct wedding quilt I'm still working on ; ) Love how you managed it double sided - I can't even imagine your FMQ arm strength, Jess!

  10. What a special quilt they now have to remember their special day. It turned out beautiful. What a wonderful friend you are. Thank you for sharing

  11. This really is a priceless wedding gift! The amount of time, energy and thought (not to mention money) involved for you are incredible generous, even for a wedding gift to a best friend. I hope they treasure it always!

  12. I love how you made the quilt reversible. I hope they'll cherish it for a long time. What pens did you have guests use for the signature blocks?

  13. Thanks for photos of this amazing quilt dear, you are really creative. I am also going to participate in a workshop at one of the local venues in Los Angeles. It will be my first presentation so I am pretty anxious about that!

  14. This is very simple, but so effective! I love the design and I will definitely make one for myself:) Have a nice day


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