Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ties that Bind

In my rather philosophical state of mind I chose a thoughtful and telling title for this quilt, which is a gift for another quilter who is making a quilt for me. We are working from a similar script with self curated selection of Kona solid fabrics.
Ties that Bind, a #twinsisterscityquilt
 Daughter, Doctor, Wife, Mother, Quilter, Traveler, Friend. These are 7 powerful words that describe more than a few people. These are 7 powerful words that I share with a friend. We are not old friends, but became instant ones; someone you are lucky to meet and like immediately.

We hatched a plan about a year ago to make each other quilts under the byline #twinsisterscityquilt (on IG). There is much in that name, overlapping similarities that cannot be ignored. Easterners that are now Westerners anchored by family to the Rocky Mountains, birthdays that easily morph one into the other, a quirky appreciation for rules and a daring spirit to break some of them.

My quilt has so many little things that she will appreciate, least of which are the threads. Over a dozen colors, some collected while we walked the miles and miles of vendor aisles at the International Quilt Festival. I won some, I bought some and I used them all on this quilt. Threads of differing weights, 28, 40 and 50 give incredible texture to the wavy line "matchstick" quilting. I even popped one row of neon pink into the mix. I deliberated about that thread for more than you would think necessary. I know, if you're reading this Kathryn, you remember that well.
Hard to see, but there are many different colors of threads used in the quilting
I bound the quilt with a subtle 2" straight of grain binding to which I added a tiny pop of the Kona color of the year, Highlight, and a sliver of my signature retroreflective glass nano particle fabric. I started the quilt in 2015, but finished in early 2016, so the nano particle fabric is my nod to 2015 making, like a hidden signature that Kathryn will understand.
binding details

I backed the quilt with fabric from Kathryn's favorite designer, Tula Pink, and kept  my deliberate inability to leave things alone (some quilting rule breaking), by incorporating improv circle replacements for some of Tula's polka dots. Just 3. Tula even approves!!!!
Ties that Bind, back
Lastly, the something new, my 2016, Wabi-Sabi, of this quilt is the hand tied threads, clustered and scattered across the top. They are tone on tone, one set in each color used on the quilt. They are closely cropped, lending 3-D texture to the quilts otherwise heavily quilted surface. These are the "Ties that Bind" . Ties of Friendship and Family, of shared passions and creativity, and of quilts.
some of the many threads in all kinds of weights used on this quilt

I suspect that over time they will fall off, leaving little color pops of spontaneously found threads (yes, this was deliberate) in unexpected places. Right now, for some many reasons, I'm loving the idea of impermanence and change. Kathryn when you find them, about the house, in the dryer lint bin, stuck in your vacuum,  I hope they make you smile.

"Ties that Bind" ( a #twinsisterscityquilt for Kathryn)
54 x 63"
Improv pieced, curated Kona cotton solids to a set script
Tula Pink Backing, Free Fall 100% cotton with 3 improv inset circles from fabric remnants from piecing the top.
100% wool Quilters Dream Batting
Quilted on a Domestic Bernina, modified #4 stitch (length 3, stretched 5x)
colored matched cluster of ties

Threads: Aurifil assorted colors in 50, 40 and 28 weights, 100% cotton; Glide "Hope" 100% poly (top)
40 weight Aurifil #2645 (bobbin). Other assorted threads, various manufacturers in blues, greens, purples, yellows and pinks.
2" SOG binding, color matched with incorporation of Kona 2016 color of the year : Highlight and glass, retroreflective nano particle fabric.
Nano particle fabric in the binding, photographed with the flash on.

Enjoy dear friend! It was made for YOU.


  1. Beautiful and so full of meaning! Your attention to detail is something to be admired!!

  2. Gorgeous and inspirational. Love hearing the stories behind the quilt.

  3. What a fantastic quilt and story behind it. I am especially drawn to your customization of the backing fabric. :)

  4. What an incredible quilt!! I love all the thought put into it! The central motif reminds me a bit of the instagram icon as well. :)
    I think my favorite part is: "I'm loving the idea of impermanence and change." and how you incorporated it with the little ties.

  5. LOVE!!!
    You (beautifully) did what I love the most about 'making' - the chance to put so much of yourself into something, but at the same time make it so totally someone else. I am quite certain Kathryn will treasure this.
    (I also named a quilt 'ties that bind' - it was a gift for my baby brother and his wife when they got married.)
    happy sewing (and making people feel special)
    ~ Tracy


If you don't speak up, I won't know what's in your mind…….