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09/02/2013 / thriftomancer

Culture/Colonies Finished

Here it is! Repurposed linen top with cotton batting and backing, as always. Final dimensions are around 71″ x 80″

Culture quilt - finished!

And here’s a detail of the quilting, done by hand in cotton embroidery floss.

Culture detail

While quilting this I made a discovery: I really like this pattern and I don’t regret choosing it, but I quickly found that stitching from left to right is not fun. In the future I think I’m going to try and use patterns that only require stitching from right to left or away from me.

Other than that, I’m almost unreasonably happy with this quilt. It turned out exactly as I had planned/hoped. The only thing that vexes me about it is the name. Choosing between the two working titles, a) Colonies or b) Culture, is tough. Think I’m leaning towards Culture though.

For the record, neither title has anything to do with human civilization or expansion. Both names are references to biological samples because I’m a scientist and, while I was piecing the top, the way the square units were distributed reminded me of bacterial colonies, a.k.a. cultures, growing on agar medium in a Petri dish.

It’s not as gross as it sounds, I swear. A large number of bacteria are beneficial agriculturally, industrially, and medically. (Don’t even get me started on gastrointestinal flora.)



Leave a Comment
  1. Tonya Ricucci / Sep 3 2013 9:51 am

    beautiful quilt, congrats! why do you have to quilt from left to right? are you working on a big fame? Here’s my recommendation: quilt without a frame or hoop. Just baste it really well. then you can turn it any direction you want and, at least for me, it’s much easier to make the stitches.

    • thriftomancer / Sep 3 2013 10:30 pm

      I actually already do that: Baste securely (to the point of paranoia) then quilt sitting on the floor with the work in front of me. The reason I had to quilt left to right on this project was that, to make the squares close fully, I always had to return to my starting point. So for one side of each square, I was obliged to quilt from left to right. I did try moving it and/or myself around to mitigate the issue, but it didn’t quite work. ^_^;

      • joanna / Sep 4 2013 8:54 am

        I have never hand quilted with embroidery floss, but this is my method using hand quilting thread: I cut a long thread and crease the middle of it. I start in the top right hand corner of a square and only pull my thread thru to the middle and quilt across the top and down the left hand side, leaving half my thread as a long tail. After knotting off at the end of the 1st 2 sides, I go back and thread the other end and quilt down the right hand side and across the bottom, then knot off again. Does that make sense?

        • thriftomancer / Sep 4 2013 8:46 pm

          Sort of. It sounds like what I tried for the larger squares: Instead of quilting a complete square I stitched two L-shaped lines that met at their ends to form corners and a complete looking “square.” (Yeah, I started taking shortcuts once I realized how annoying quilting the entire shape in one go would be.) The difference is I used two pieces of floss where you use just one.

          And as for quilting with embroidery floss, technique-wise it’s exactly the same as using normal thread. The only differences are that it’s thicker so you have to pull harder/more carefully and you have to make sure the multiple strands of the floss all lay equally flat. It takes a little more attention at first, but it’s totally worth it design-wise. Lets you add a bit more color and texture to the piece.

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