Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts

Just over a year ago I was invited to join the Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts, which included 4 other woman.  We made a "starter" quilt (a block, row, series, etc) and then mailed it to the next person to have something added, and they sent it to the next person...etc...until it finally came back to the original person as a finished quilt top.  Here's my first starter quilt:

Sisterhood of the Traveling quilts starter (I).

But a month later one of our members went completely MIA--no more blog posts, IG photos, or emails.  She was gone, and she had two quilts (from the first and second round).  We carried on without her, and eventually (after many attempts to contact her) decided to start the two missing quilts over.  That first starter has never been seen or heard of since.  Here's my second starter:

Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts starter (II), center is the Golden Wedding Ring from

I sent my starter with a bunch of Kona Pepper (a very dark navy), and instructions to follow the theme "Quilts of a Feather" and lots of negative space for quilting.  Here it is today:

Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts finished quilt--titled "Quilts of a Feather"

The women that worked on it have become some of my best quilty friends!  I love what they added and how well I see each of their quilting personalities in it!

Quilt detail.  The pieced feathers were made by Laura and the x-blocks by Jessica.  The x-block quilting inspired by my recent Dot to Dot quilting with Angela Walters, which I had the best time taking with Ashley.

Quilt detail--I used the dark grey thread in the center block so it wouldn't distract from the center medallion.

I added the top and bottom borders once I got it back--which was Ashley's idea and used Laura's instructions.  It made the quilt a nice lap size: quilt top was about 76" x 65", after quilting it shrank to about 74" x 63" and after the first wash it measures 70" x 59".

All the goldish fabric is C+S Netorious in Cloud, and was quilted with Aurifil 2600 (Dove). 

The diamonds on the left were added by Ashley, and I love how much space she left for feather quilting! 

I had SO much fun quilting it, especially knowing that I'd get to keep this quilt and enjoy every part of it forever and ever!  I mostly used Aurifil #1148 (light jade), which looks so pretty on the Kona Pepper.  I used Aurifil #2605 (grey) in the bobbin, which blended nicely on the back (I know, so not my style, ha):

The only full photo I got of the quilt back--my son distracted me by insisting I take his picture with the quilt.  Husband looking grumpy after holding up the quilt to the point of arm muscle failure.  #waysquiltersannoytheirsignificantothers

The backing is Charley Harper flannel Twigs in teal and Charley Harper flannel Feathers in mineral.  I didn't intend to have a pieced back, but a miscalculation of how much fabric I needed meant I had to make a second order (and decided on those feathers, because, duh), then I thought it'd be nice to have a Kona Pepper divider with the group's signature blocks pieced in.  I love how it turned out!

Signature blocks and quilting detail on the back.

Quilt back detail.  I love how that small feather outline ended up in the Kona Pepper and shows up nicely!

I'm not sure why, but the flannels quilted differently--the feather piece was a lot more difficult to move smoothly (even with my supreme slider and gloves), so I was glad it was only a small portion of the quilt!

Back detail.  Aren't those diamonds neat on the back??  Love how the eye notices them first on the back.

You know how some quilts you finish and you are like, "Thank goodness! I never want to go through that again!"?   Not this quilt, nope, I'd do it all over again.  This quilt, this group--they're the ones that kept my faith in swaps alive last year!  I put a lot into the group, and I got so much out of it.  They also set the standard for what I expect in all swaps now--good communication and quality work.

Quilting detail, I will never get tired of this quilt.

I can't wait to see the rest of the quilts finished up!  You can see Ashley's nearly finished quilt, a teaser of Laura's in the works and the quilt top Jessica got back.  I feel like the quilts made us a family, and they are our offspring.  I put my best into them while I had them, and then sent them out into the world to grow and change in their own ways.  Every time I see a photo of them, and what they've become I'm just so happy and proud!  Does that make sense?  No?   

Half feather quilting using Aurifil #2605 (grey).

Quilting detail.  I love the different types of quilting together!

I am so glad I joined the group, and very excited to be doing it again this year with the addition of Michelle and Liz!  You can see my starter for this year here.

Back detail--the back of Ashley's diamonds.  Binding is Sunnyside Celestial in Opal.

I am so happy to finally have it finished and be able to snuggle under it!


  1. I totally echo your sentiments about these quilts being offspring and your expectations for swaps (we're so spoiled - we currently have such a great group of ladies). Thank you for putting out there the part about our one member who disappeared - I think it's important for people to know about. I'll be sure to mention it in my finale post, too. I so love that first quilt and hope you get to see it again (you never know.....). Your quilting is just astounding. I love the X quilting (I might be biased but really - wow!). Hugs!!

  2. Wow! It turned out so amazing! Apart from a rather rocky start, this was obviously a fantastic group to work with. The quilting shows off all the piecing so well (not that I'd expect anything less!). I think those feathers are my favourite part of the whole quilt...said by the person who totally copied the idea a couple of months back ;)

  3. What an amazing quilt, Renee! And with a story to go with it. So cool that what started out rather rocky ended up in a very special group of talented women making some amazing quilts for one another! Even though it sucks that your first center has never been seen again, maybe the experience brought the four of you closer and more dedicated to making sure your sisterhood was successful. Love the quilting too! :)

  4. What a fun idea! :) And a it definitely seems like a fantastic way to make friends. :) Those are some beautiful quilts for sure. And so sorry about the person who went MIA. I hope that they're okay! But, so glad that the rest of the group pulled together to make everything "happen."

  5. What a fabulous finish to cuddle under, and I am so glad it was such a wonderful experience for you. I guess I had no idea that you had made a previous starter and it went MIA. I love looking at all your quilting detail photos, and the way the feather lines up with the pepper on the back is beautiful! It is going to be awesome to see how your quilts come together this year. :)

  6. Wow - this is definitely something to treasure, and so nice that you are all such good friends now too. Such a shame your other member went MIA with those other blocks. Unfortunately I guess that is the risk with swaps and bees etc. Well done with your finish.

  7. Looks great and your quilting is fab as usual! Congrats on a beautiful finish!

  8. what a fantastic quilt, one you will always treasure. And how special to have such close quilting friends :-)

  9. If it makes you feel better -- that same person flaked on starting a guild with me. :(

    Amazing job on the quilting!!! As usual. :D Really really love this quilt... excited to see what you ladies do in round 2 too!

  10. What a great quilt and group! I'm sorry to hear a member went MIA -- that sucks. It sounds like it brought the rest of you closer together though. Gorgeous finish!

  11. I LOVE it!! It is so wonderful when we can make such heartfelt connections across space and time!! That quilt will tide you through many a tempest :)
    Ps, I love your quilty helpers!!

  12. Oh, this one is a keeper for sure!! I am so glad you've finally had a good experience with a swap :-)

  13. This makes total sense. I was explaining to someone just today that it didn't even matter if I liked my quilt when it came back – I had such fun along the way. But, like you, I love what came back. There is the I-never-would-have-thought-to-do-that-but-isn't-it-great aspect of sewing with others.
    One of the original group went MIA? Seriously? Not even an understandable 'I'm sorry but I have to opt out. Here is your work back'? How does that happen if the person is still alive and well?

  14. It is beautiful and one of a kind. I feel bad for your group to have to replace two quilts. That must have been a bit of an upset to correct and fix, but that is in the past now. Your quilt is beautiful!

  15. Such a stunner Renee! I've said it before and it's true, you ladies do the finest work.
    And your quilting as always is utterly amazing! I'm not sure i've ever seen a quilt that was more you!