Honeymoon Quilt Finish

A couple of months ago my husband and I celebrated our 17th anniversary. This week I finished a quilt made with fabric purchased on our honeymoon on the island of St. John. It may have taken me 16 years to think of how I wanted to use the fabric but once I got going, it didn’t take too long to finish it up. I posted earlier about making the quilt top in August of last year. Because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt it, I set it aside (for nearly a year!) Come January of 2015, I set a goal to finish this quilt up and I did it. This finish means that I do not have any unquilted tops lying around. Yahoo!

This project was fun to plan. I have been reading about whether to stitch in the ditch before starting to FMQ. Honestly, this sounded like a whole lot of extra work. I decided to compromise and I stitched the perimeter of each nine patch. I thought this would stabilize the quilt and hopefully, reduce and puckers on the backing. It is so irritating when you flip the quilt over to check on it and there is a fold. Between pin basting and ditch stitching I was hoping for a better back. Some quilters think it holds the quilt square and prevents distortion. Others say it makes the FMQ work look better. I do think it helped. My quilt stayed square and often, it doesn’t. I didn’t have a single pucker on the back. The only thing is that on the back of the quilt, the ditch stitching is very visible so one has to take that into account when planning the quilting. It doesn’t show much at all on the front. As for any benefit to the look of the quilting on each nine patch, I didn’t notice a huge difference. In fact, after I had quilted about 65% of the project, I noticed that I had skipped ditch stitching one block. That block really didn’t look noticeable different from the others. So, I think it is good forquilt stabilization and keeping square but doesn’t noticeably enhance the FMQ.


I took a look at some quilting sites (mainly Lori Kennedy’s site, The Inbox Jaunt) to get inspiration. I knew that I would do an all over FMQ pattern but wanted just a bit more detail than that. Each of the nine patch blocks have a blue center. Starting with that, I quilted a large flower in the center of each blue square.


I decided that leafy fines would complement the flowers. Using a variegated green YLI quilting thread, I FMQ’d leaves of various sizes on each block. I left the black sashing plain.  Because the backing is a light green batik, the FMQ stitching really shows up on the back. Not sure if this is good or bad!  For the most part, I am happy with the stitching. Why is it that my eye goes to the little tension blips and the occasional jittery stitching instead of the overall look? For those of you that quilt on your domestic machine, how to you handle the starts and stops? Look closely at the squares that I ditch stitched, see the dark spots at one corner where I stopped and started? I chose to reverse a few stitches rather than knot and bury tons of threads. Not sure I like how this looks. What is the consensus? Do you back tack stitches or knot and bury threads? I know which is cleaner but yikes, burying all of those threads is time-consuming.


The binding is, as usual, one of my favorite parts. I used the honeymoon batik for the border and also for the binding. To add some depth, I attached a black flange to the perimeter of the quilt before binding the quilt. I love the ‘something extra’ that this flange adds to the quilt.


To honor our honeymoon, I tried stitching St. John as well as April, 1998 on a corner of the quilt. Kind of difficult to see but it was a good addition.


When I was binding it, I came upon my two ends that needed to be joined and sighed my heavy, here-we-go sigh. I hate attaching the tails of the binding. This time I looked to Rita over at Red Pepper Quilts. On the off chance that there is someone who hasn’t heard of Rita, she is an amazing quilter who has the most amazing sense of color. Her quilts are bright, happy and so vivid. Truly amazing. If you haven’t looked at her work, now is the time. She has numerous tutorials, several of which talk about binding. This is the one that I used. The result was good so I will refer back to her measurements next time.

I can check this goal off of my 2015 list and move on to another one! I think the next goal I need to work on is some quilt restoration. I have two quilts to restore and I want to get one of them going soon.

Finally, remember the Allison Glass mini swap that I participated in? I blogged about the mini that I made here. There were a few comments asking me to post the mini that I received. Wow, I can’t wait to share it. It is gorgeous. I am so grateful to my partner for putting so much effort into this project!


My partner outdid herself with this. I love the text print that was used as the background on each 2″ square. She appliqued the orange peels with a blanket stitch which was brilliant.


She also made this smaller mini. I think it is intended as a pot holder but I am hanging it on the wall. I don’t want it soaked with food splatter, which we all know would happen.


I also received this sweet wallet. Hand-made and so well done, it is lovely.



The swap was fun and I am thankful that I gave it a try as it pushed me quite far out of my comfort zone. Also, I am truly grateful for the work my partner put into the items I received.  That being said, I am not sure I will do another one for a while. I could see participating in one each year. They are quite time-consuming and it set my nerves on edge trying to think of what my partner would want, based on the few hints we are given. The process is a good way to get to know other makers though. It is really a big deal on Instagram and there is a swap for just about anything crafty.

Hope you all have something fun planned for the upcoming weektend.

Linking to Freemotion Mavericks, Quilting Jetgirl’s Thankful Thursday, Let’s Bee Social and Finish It Up Friday. Also with Sew Bittersweet Designs for the June ALYOF Link up.


18 thoughts on “Honeymoon Quilt Finish

  1. Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl

    I personally really love it when the back of a quilt really showcases the beautiful (and hard work) of your quilting! I definitely opt to bury my threads, but I do it as I go so that it isn’t a chore to get through when the quilting is over. We all have our own style and preferences when it comes to that, though! And what an awesome mini you received – I think that doing a swap or two a year would be a reasonable limit.

  2. JanineMarie

    Oh, this is special. I think the first post I read of yours was the one from last August when you shared about this quilt. I’ve been reading your blog ever since and always look forward to it in my inbox. The swing is such a beautiful setting to show off the fabrics and design of your quilt. Your quilting on this is delightful and I like that you can see it on the back. I usually do bury the ends of my threads as I go, (I use one of those self-threading needles), but most of my quilting has been very simple with few stops and starts. I do remember that on a big quilt I made that had some stand-alone flower designs in the middle of the meanders, I got very sick of burying and just did teeny tiny stitches at the beginning and ends. I think how the quilt is intended to be used might be a guide for what to do and whether it will bother you to have the endpoints show. Thanks for sharing about your decisions of whether or not to quilt in the ditch. I have been wondering about the same thing, and it’s good to read your assessment of it. Thanks for the link, too, about joining the binding strips at the end (not my favorite task, either.) Your swap looks like it was a lot of fun. (That blanket stitch is so cute on the the mini you received.) I’m a bit intimidated by all the special extra gifting that goes with swaps and haven’t participated in any, but…maybe someday. Sorry to be so long winded–there was a lot in your post that resonated with me!

    1. Bernie Post author

      You aren’t being long winded at all. I love hearing from you. I do agree that the use of the quilt guides how much attention I pat to the details. This quilt will be kept at the house and used by all so I wasn’t too worried about backtacking my starts and stops. If I planned to sell it, gift it, or show it, I might do otherwise.
      Those extras on the swap really intimidated me as well. Some participants really go all out. My partner certainly did.

      Have a great weekend Janine.


  3. Cathy Peterson

    Wow, this turned out beautifully!! You have such a good eye for color and placement…it’s gorgeous!

  4. Linda

    Bernie your quilt is such a treasure – does your husband like it? How smart to purchase batiks on your honeymoon! It’s just gorgeous. I love the quilting stitches in the back, and I would not have noticed your “dark spots” – I really had to look for them. The honeymoon note in the corner is a really nice touch.

    OK I have always knotted my stitches, but oh my gosh – I have never buried them! It’s weird because as soon as I read your post I remembered that when I took my quilting class the lady showed us how to knot and bury, and I completely forgot the “bury” part! Geez! Thanks for the link to Red Pepper – I have always used Amy Smart’s tutorial for binding, but I’ve not tried stitching lengths together on the bias, and it really looks so much neater. Yesterday when I was joining my binding I foolishly didn’t leave enough extra on the ends and made it especially hard on myself – lol!

    1. Bernie Post author

      I always used Amy Smart’s method as well. It isn’t as clean as joining on the bias so I was glad to find this tutorial by Rita. Hope it helps you out as well.

      I really like the little honeymoon reference in the corner as well. I never label my quilts so at least this one has a few details. I did the same thing with Julia’s quilt – I put the year in one spot and her name and my name in another spot. Kind of fun to look for it.

      Take care,

  5. Sandra

    I usually stitch in the ditch to “block” the quilt and help keep it straight. I know Christina Cameli does not, and I get that it’s extra time away from FMQ! Old habits die hard though, and even on my longarm, I find I still do some ditch stitching. It is so nice to find someone else with a 16-year-old project! I just finished one this week myself…sadly it is not the end of the WIPs…

    1. Bernie Post author

      So how much ditch stitching do you do? Does the look of it on the backside concern you? I don’t really mind taking a bit of time as I believe it helped keep it straight but with some projects, I wouldn’t want those lines to show on the back. Thoughts?


  6. Jenny Benton

    Happy Anniversary – and what a lovely quilt you have made to celebrate. It is even more special as it has the honeymoon fabric in it.

    I’m one of those “must bury the knots” people. Like to sit somewhere comfy, needle and snips in hand, and just get on with it. Doesn’t really matter if it takes several stints to get it all done, now, does it?

    Jenny from New Zealand

    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Jenny,

      In the quilts where I buried the threads, I was so much happier with the overall look. I just need to be patient and go thru the process of knotting and burying my threads! So glad you stopped by.


  7. Marie

    To prevent the little “clumps” of thread on the back when you start pull your bobbin thread up to the top of the quilt and take a couple of tiny stitches to lock the stitching. Then you can clip both threads at the same time close to the quilt or bury them. I don’t bury them and have good results with just clipping them close to the surface.

    1. Bernie Post author

      That is sort of what I was doing. I think it did too much back stitching. I am in a bad habit from garment sewing where you can backstitch and it doesn’t show. I need to be careful to only do a couple of stitches. Thanks for the input. I do appreciate it!


  8. Val Reynolds

    Simply love the idea of an anniversary quilt. Yours is beautiful (love batiks) Inspired by the orange peels….this is on my to do list and i like the idea of a wallhanging. You are right…they look great done with a blanket stitch. 🙂


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