Monday, April 1, 2013

DIY Project: Friendiversary Quilt

Meet Jo, the lovely lady who has been by my sidekick for most of my life. This year, Jo & I are celebrating 23 years of friendship! Twenty three years of travels and jokes, hugs, tears, and a multitude of hilarious shenanigans.

Jo & I, from my Instagram

Nowadays, we live half a world apart, we have for the past decade, but she's still my bestie. To celebrate our anniversary, I made her this Friendiversary quilt:

Queen size improve style Friendiversary quilt

This is the first Improv Style quilt that I've ever attempted, and I'll definitely make more quilts in this style! I really loved the improv process, especially the fact that the creative part of the quilting process continues throughout, as opposed to a more traditional style quilt, where you pick a pattern and which prints to use at the beginning, and then follow through. This time I continued to design the quilt, block by block, from start to finish. As the design process is my favorite part (besides pulling the finished quilt out of the dryer, all washed, warm and crinkly), stretching it throughout the piecing and sewing really suited me better. I also really love the resulting look of this quilt.

In fact, this is my favorite quilt I've ever made! Truly, if it was intended for anyone other than Jo, I would not actually give it away. I am currently in the process of making another quilt using the same prints, similar but not identical to this one, to make a matching Friendiversary quilt set.

The above Instagram pic, from a trip to Sweden in August of last year, turned into this photo fabric print:

I hand picked and printed almost all the fabric used in the quilt top using Spoonflower, and its many talented print designers. I also custom made two text prints and one photo panel of my own. I ended up adding a few prints from my scraps stash as well, and the combination of fabrics turned out absolutely perfect!

I quilted each print with a different quilting pattern throughout the quilt, and while I did end up having one or two favorites, I really, REALLY love the variety of textures created by the mix most of all.

The white blocks, with the tight straight lines of quilting were my favorite. The texture of this tight quilting is absolutely amazing. On some of the prints, I quilted according to the print design. A few blocks had very minimal quilting, and other had none besides the perimeter.

For the backing, I used IKEA's Britten Nummer print, with a few scraps from the quilt top mixed in. I had not planned on piecing the backing, other than joining two lengths of yardage to cover the entire back. However, when I got home from IKEA I realized they had falsely sold me 10 yard of  "continuous yardage", with several HUGE and extremely UGLY seams running straight through, leaving me no pieces large enough, so I had to rethink my plan. Eventually, I ended up adding a few bits and pieces, and I am happy with the result. While I didn't get a great photo of the completed backing, you can get an idea of what it looks like here;

I made the binding using left over BRITTEN NUMMER print, and after covering the raw edge with overhang from the backing, I added it on top.

The one downside I found with this improv style quilting, is that it was a lot more time consuming than traditional quilting. Of course, I added extra work time the sheer size of this quilt, and by quilting each block differently, but even without that, this quilt took the longest to complete compared to all of my previous work of comparable size. Just cutting and arranging the quilt top took 4 days, assembly took 2, and quilting took a full week. Binding was about the same as a traditional quilt of the same size, but then I had to cut threads, front and back, for a few days. Lastly, I added one of my labels, and after 2.5 weeks of 10 hours/day at my sewing machine, this gorgeous quilt was finally completed!

Fabric Used:

Quilt top, organized by source:

Spoonflower, $18/yard:
watercolor mustache in aqua, by Katarina
Arrows & feathers, by Katarina
arrows by, katarina
watercolor dots purple, by katarina
arrows pink, by katarina
arrows_in_black_and_white_pattern, by katarina
long tiny striped feathers, by katarina
doilies on linen, by katarina
watercolor chevron aqua white, by katarina
love letter, by katarina
crazy dots gray, by katarina
chevron_arrows, by katarina
Letters, by Ankepanke
hearts and dots in a wavy stripe, by tb0969
I LOVE YOUR TYPE, by bzbdesigner
small_type-2, by bxbdesigner
Say What? (Quirky idioms typed text), by happysewlucky
Madame Fancypantaloons' Instant LIbrary Bindings ~ Blue, by peacoquettedesigns
Fancy Lattice Pink with White Outline, by karmie
Woodtype Alphabet (chalk), by penny candy

Other, approx. $10/yard:
white solid cotton
offwhite solid cotton
Michael Miller Cotton Couture, various solids
various prints from my scrap bin

Britten Nummer print, IKEA, $4.99/yard
various leftovers from quilt top

Britten Nummer print, IKEA, $4.99/yard


  1. Amazing! I love how it turned out and I am sure your friend will cherish it forever!

    1. Thanks! I really love it as well. It's my favorite of the quilts that I've ever made.
      I hope you're right. :)

  2. Really beautiful, I love the differnet fabrics used!