Quilt finish! I have completed, in every detail, my first quilt. I’m as pleased as punch.
I thought awhile about what to name this thing, mostly as I was hand sewing the binding on (lots of time for thinking there). A lot of the inspiration and materials for this quilt came out of a trip I took to Japan last year. The yabane print and Cotton + Steel Train Ride print on the back were souvenirs. So was the lightly dotted chambray I used for the binding. The recycled shirts that comprise most of the front and some of the back were wrapped up in learning about guiding philosophies of restraint and wabi sabi and fabric traditions like boro. Josi gave me a key when she said she saw a place with a distant sky. So I named it LAX→NRT, after the long midnight flight from North America to Japan. That flight is a long suspension between earth and space, riding a Great Circle east. Looking down on the indigo dark sea and across at the curving atmosphere, it’s easy to slip into a ruminative mood.
Creating the quilt was also a rather zen experience. I enjoyed working with the thin bamboo batting. I got a lot of fluff in the eye of my needle while basting, but didn’t see any bearding at all during quilting. The quilt sandwich was thin enough to work with on my tiny Brother sewing machine, though the two-thirds of the quilting I did using my friend’s vintage Pfaff with its excellent ability to hold the correct tension turned out better. The batting hides the feel of all my seam lines, despite its thinness, and is nice and smooth.
In keeping with the theme of restraint, I didn’t add complicated quilting—I stitched in the ditch along the horizontal lines demarcating the hexagon strips and called it good. This method has the side benefit of making it less obvious that these are half-hexagons instead of the more demanding whole hexagons.
The bamboo batting makes the queen-sized quilt drape beautifully, and it is just the right weight for warm summer nights. In fact it lived on our bed for a week between the time I sewed the binding onto the front and a week later, when I finished hand stitching it down. I think the quilt will become a summer staple. I’m looking forward to working with more recycled shirting and bamboo batting on future projects.