Thesis Quilt

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thesis Quilt - Finished Top, originally uploaded by jenib320.
What started off as 5 yards of Pimatex cotton is now a finished quilt! I am so happy with the finished result and really enjoyed the process. I am so proud of this quilt, knowing that I created the colors and patterns in addition to the actual sewing and quilting. I knew that I wanted to play with warm and cool colors again, but felt that half-square triangles would have taken away from the fabrics, which is what I wanted to shine. I ended up designing this simple patchwork square version of my warm vs. cool quilt. It's not as pronounced as the other version, but I think you can still see the contrast.

Thesis Quilt - Finished Back, originally uploaded by jenib320.
For the backing I ended up using the same method as my Castle Peeps Quilt. I had around a yard (I think?) of undyed Pimatex left and a lot of dyed scraps from cutting the top. This gave it some interest and broke up the white a big. I fought with it a little to get a large enough back but I am happy with how it turned out. This quilt took all about maybe a 1/4 yd of those 5 yards, it was pushing it!

Thesis Quilt - Close-up Quilting, originally uploaded by jenib320.
I quilted it free-motion, quilting these little worm guys, haha. I don't know what to call them? I quilted horizontal lines on the warm colored sections and vertical lines on the cool colored sections. To add even more contrast I quilted the horizontal lines tighter and the vertical lines looser. It's hard to see on the top, but you can really see it on the back! Sometimes I got into a rhythm and would get a little tight on the vertical lines, but for the most part I was good about remembering to switch!

Saturday, originally uploaded by jenib320.
The quilting was a little tedious. I quilted it in rows so every few squares I had to stop to turn the quilt. I think it took around 3.5 hours to quilt. Which isn't too bad for a lap sized quilt (finished at 45" square). This was the first time I ever used gloves to quilt. The pimatex is a higher thread count than regular quilting cotton and slightly slippery. The gloves really came in handy and I'm thankful that I had them on hand!

Hand-Dyed, originally uploaded by jenib320.
Dyeing the fabrics was such a fun project! I was so pleased that even the first time I tried it, the fabrics came out usable. If you're interested at all in dyeing your own fabrics with resists, I highly recommend Malka Dubrawsky's book, Color Your Cloth. I worked almost exclusively from her book and had really no problems at all. I did mix some of mine own colors and perhaps did not dissolve the dye enough a few times but honestly, it was really easy! It's a little expensive to get all the supplies together, but most of the items you might already have in your home. The resulting feeling you get from holding and sewing with fabrics that you dyed patterned yourself is so worth it!

Tools, originally uploaded by jenib320.
I had so much fun applying the wax to the fabrics. I used lots of cardboard to create my designs, tubes and shapes created using cut pieces of cardboard. Everything about the dyeing was really accessible. I found almost everything I needed at Wal-mart and my local craft supply store. I ended up purchasing the fabric and some of the chemicals at Dharma Trading Co. They have a fantastic selection of products and very reasonable pricing.

Thesis Quilt - Binding, originally uploaded by jenib320.
I have dubbed this quilt the "Thesis Quilt" because it is a part of my senior honors thesis. I am lucky enough as an honors student to have a lot of flexibility in my thesis. I'll be talking about it more in the coming weeks, but you all have honestly already read a lot of it! I'll give you a hint.. the title of my thesis is "The Art of Choosing: Fabric and Color in Modern Quilting"... ;)


  1. I really love both the designs - front and back, and I like your elongate quilting too. You must be really happy it's finished!

  2. Beautiful, just beautiful! Both the fabrics AND your choice of pattern to spotlight your fabrics... congratulations!

  3. When I was in class last Monday with Malka, I mentioned this quilt to her and how pretty I thought your fabrics looked. I am going to write down the link for this post and give it to her in class tomorrow so she can see the amazing finished result. It looks so beautiful! The colors are so vibrant and the combination is great. I definitely want to try dying my own fabric. Maybe I can convince Malka to teach a class on it!

  4. Beautiful quilt congratulations on finishing it. The colors are wonderful and I loved the quilting.

  5. I love this. Your quilt looks great. Learning to dye fabric is on my list. I've been meaning to order Malka's book. It seems so daunting. I'm glad to hear it's not too bad.

  6. You did such a great job!!

  7. beautiful jeni! and totally cool about your thesis. :)

  8. It looks wonderful!! That is so cool that your thesis is about fabric and quilting!! :)

  9. That's beautiful! I love the colors and the quilting is great! I've always wanted to dye my own fabric. Thanks for the source. I'll have to check it out.

  10. what a cool project. i want to dye some fabrics now and make a quilt out of them!

  11. It is gorgeous. I just love the way you chose to quilt it, and how much the fabric stand out, especially on the back. Great job!

  12. This is pretty awesome -- especially that you did it all, from fabric design to sewing to quilting. Very cool!

  13. Just beautiful! Have you posted on the process with wax, etc on your blog? I'd love to read more if you have.
    Good luck on your thesis!
    Jacque in SC


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