What Shade are you Marthe Henderson

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it’s my turn to share a quilt! Before I do I want to tell you a little bit about myself. I am 37 years old. I am happily married and we have 5 kids. We love where we live and get to enjoy the outdoors often. With mountains all around us we love to go camping and hiking. This summer has been the busiest we’ve ever had so there hasn’t been as much of that as we’d like. When I’m not with my family or sewing you can find me baking, cooking or reading. I learned to sew when I was 8. My best friend’s mom taught a bunch of us girls. I made many of my own clothes. Dresses, shirts, shorts, skirts, pillow cases, bags, but no quilts… that is until I was pregnant for the first time. Since I never start with anything easy (take knitting for example… I am self taught and the first thing I made was a sock. Yup, just one. Insert laughing face… you knitters will know how funny that is!) I made a quilt that was full of pieced frogs with lots of HSTs and little pieces. I figured I knew how to read a pattern, so why not. It turned out pretty cute, so I decided to hand quilt it. I learned right away that hand quilting is not for me. Since then I have made many finished quilts and even more quilt tops! But I’ve never hand quilted again.

I discovered the world of Instagram quilters about 2 1/2 years ago. I dived into swapping and grew to love the community of quilters you can find there. You can follow my journey @thesistyuglers.

Now for my quilt! The idea for my quilt has been in my head for a while. But I was too chicken to make it real. So many little pieces and so much fabric and so much time and the fabric and quilting would have to be perfect if I was going to do it. Well, when the opportunity to make a quilt for the #WhatShadeAreYou blog hop came along I knew it was time to make my dream real. The Cotton Supreme Solids as so soft and there are sooo many colors to choose from. I knew that this would be the perfect fabric. I started with pattern design. I love Fair Isle sweaters. I think it must be in my blood, as part of my mom’s family came to America from Norway. So I knew right away that I wanted to mimic the look of the sweaters I love so much. I started by looking at lots and lots of knitting patterns. I wanted to make sure that I had designs I love and the perfect combination of rows.

After deciding on my rows it was time to pick colors. I am not as talented as some at combining colors, but I do okay. When I get stuck I am thankful to have a sister and a husband who can help. My sister helped me color several mock ups of each row combining different colors for each row, but still having each row combine with the others. I sure do wish that I could get colored pencils in as many colors as I can get fabric! I wanted to make sure that my fabric mimicked the look of my favorite yarns. You know the variegated ones? I just love those. It would have been easier to make solid colors, but you know that because I don’t do things the easy way I had to use lots of colors!

In the end I picked 24 different solids:
Chili Pepper
Fire Engine
Noel Red
Rio
Guava
Charlotte
Melody
Raging Ruby
Indigo
Haviland Blue
Slate
Jean Jacket
Twilight
Pea in a Pod
Martini Olive
Sunnyside of the Street
Saffron
Butternut
Oriole
Marmalade
French Vanilla
Egg Nog
Custard
Shadow

I was also lucky enough to be able to include some Cotton and Steel fabrics:
Add it Up Indigo
Folk Dress
Shibori
Folk Dress Earth

The next step was a tricky one. With finished pieces ranging in size from 1″x1″ to 1″x3″ it really put my quilty math skills to the test. I had to figure out just how much fabric I would need for my 110″x120″ quilt, all cut up into those tiny pieces and in a total of 27 colors. I’m sure it won’t make sense to most, it hardly makes sense to me at this point, but here’s how I figured my amounts.

Got it? I thought so… Once my fabric arrived I waited and waited to get started. The task at hand was a bit daunting. This is going to be huge. Epic for sure, but huge! Twin size is the biggest I’d ever made before. So I cut, and cut, and cut. I started with this row:

It was a breeze to sew up and it looked so cute, so I started another right away. To say that it was overwhelming would be an understatement. I cut all the pieces and laid each one out individually. It took forever. I don’t have a space in my house big enough to lay it all out at once, so I had to work in sections. Sew, sew, sew, iron, iron, iron.. this one row took me at least a month to complete.

At this point I only had 1 1/2 months left to finish all the rest of the rows and get it to the quilter. I stepped away for a week just to get my mind back in the game and to try to think of a way to accomplish my look but take less time. As we all know bacon makes everything better, so I made bacon. Quilty bacon!

Not only was it satisfying, but it gave me the answer I was looking for. I figured out that I could make long strips to cut apart and if I made several different ones I could work faster and still get the random look I needed for the multiple colors. When all was said and done I dropped it off to the quilter on time, at the last second. Marion is a fantastic quilter and was chosen carefully. I knew that this quilt would need a touch of magic and her work gave it just that.

I got my quilt back just in time for me to trim it before I left for a trip to Texas. I thought I was going to have to take it with me and I was stressed because I had a week to hand bind it. Yup hand sewing. 460″ of hand sewing. Very few things in life are worth hand sewing, and this is one of those things. I am so thankful I have a wonderful sister who actually likes it. She was at my house before I left and she was kind enough to take the quilt and do the hand binding for me!

I don’t know how many pieces there are in total in this quilt… but the row with hearts alone has 1560. I don’t know how many hours were put into the making of this quilt. I’d guess well over 100. I do know that I used an entire spool of thread with 1422 yd on it to do the piecing. I also know that lots and lots of love went in to its making. And a quilt that’s made with love is a quilt worth making.

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Comments (11)

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    Carol Nelms

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    Beautiful, thanks for sharing!

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    Maxine E./BlueFigQuilts

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    love this! it’s pretty frickin’ awesome!

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    Beth

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    Amazing, all that piecing in pixel quilts is overwhelming but beautiful.

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    T

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    What an absolutely exquisite story & quilt!!! Thank you for sharing your intricate process.
    T

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    ellenB

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    What a fabulous quilt! Congratulations on making your vision a reality!

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    Machelle

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    Thank you for shring the process! Turned out beautiful!

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    Betsy

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    An amazing finish! Thank you for sharing your process. Beautifully done.

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    Mary D

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    Very creative. Awe inspiring. Wonderful quilt.

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    carolyn montgomery

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    AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Teresa B

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    Love this! I am so impresssed. Beautiful. 😍

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    Kaholly

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    Wow, that’s some ambitious work! It’s magnificent!

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