Thursday, April 6, 2017

Train Ride from Tokyo Finish

A Hand Quilted Finish

At this very moment I am covered by this same quilt, feet up, and lap top engaged. My cup of coffee is within reach. I've worked a year to make it, and yet it gets used so casually. I wonder if I'd feel this way if I wasn't the maker. But I want to know how a quilt feels and wears with use. I like to record which batting I used, and there is a significant difference in the drape and warmth. There truly are battings better suited for different seasons, and may be too warm for summer so I'm enjoying now.

My all time favorite batting is a 50/50 bamboo/cotton made by Fairfield. There's no affiliate link. I just like a batting with a little bit of weight, and it's silky to needle through. It washes beautifully, too, and I don't see the crease lines that occasionally happen with other battings. My personal preference may not be yours, but if you haven't given it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.  

The Story Behind the Quilt

The project started with a color class, and selecting fabrics. I had a new kaleidoscope ruler to play with, and tried it out. Happy with the blocks, I needed a border. The line is called, "Train Ride to Tokyo" by Sarah Watts, and the piano key border felt appropriate to highlight some of the lesser seen fabrics in the fat quarter bundle I was using. But the project seemed like it was too busy for a small quilt, and would look so good set on point. (This is how it feels to chase squirrels! Note to Sandra at mmm! Quilts. Dreami!) A square within a square design developed, and superimposed Dresden Fans appeared.

As far as actual construction difficulty, I had some struggles to make sure it stayed square. Keeping the corners 90 degrees was also difficult with hand quilting. They are fairly good, but there is an optical illusion with the fans at the corners.

If you'd like more details about the process, see these posts:

Buying Fabric
Color Play for Quilters
Kaleidoscope Blocks with Tokyo Train Ride by Sarah Watts
Tokyo Train Ride Out to the Borders: Design On the Fly
Fall Quilts, Wool, and Wool Dyeing In the Microwave

Trying to get a good shot in natural light and light winds is trying. The girls were helpful in anchoring the quilt. Lucy is above.

Effy walked through.

Wheels On the Train

It didn't take me long after it was constructed to see I'd created wheels, train tracks, and even 'cow catchers' in the design. Subliminal messaging?

These not-so-serious prints are adorable and playful!

The corners were a challenge with the amount of bulk in seams, quilting, and finding an appropriately colored binding. I settled on a double binding--a first for me.

I quilted with Perle cotton No. 8 in chocolate brown, cream, coral, and pale green. It took about 8 months on and off.

The backing was pieced--my favorite kind, and this quilt finished at  74" square. Though it has a secret train theme, it's not chugging away. It's a keeper, says Minnie.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Linking up with~
Crazy Mom Quilts


  1. How I love the 'train imagery'.......and the colors. Want to try big stitching with perle cotton. Not that I have done more than one block - but the kaleidoscope ruler was the first template I bought 8-10 years ago. I was over my head back then!! Need to clear out a few 'squirrels' before I attempt that again. lol

  2. really is gorgeous! Did you have to do Y seams to get the kaleidoscopes sewn together? I am going a workshop this weekend on kaleidoscope quilts with Sujata Shah- her pattern is called organized chaos.
    Congratulations on such a spectacular finish!!

  3. It's a beautiful quilt! I'd sure keep it. Hand stitching creates a real connection with a quilt, so it's definitely yours! Glad you got it finished so you can finally use it. Oh - good info about the bamboo batting!

  4. A wonderful quilt, Julie. Love all the intricacies of your quilting. For summer, I make coverlets - no batting between the two layers - just the right temp for summer - and here it gets over the 100s often.

  5. Such a gorgeous quilt- 'love it so much. Vibrant and cheerful. Yes, I also love pieced backs :)

  6. Beautiful job, Julie! This quilt is wonderfully balanced, both in the setting and the color placement. It's gorgeous!

  7. Congrats on a gorgeous finish! Love all the design elements, they all work together so well. You should definitely enjoy cuddling under that one.

  8. Love this! Your colors are fabulous. Really, really cozy look.:)


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