Swatch Me Whip (Erin's Graduation Quilt!) / by Riane Menardi

It's finally done! This quilt is all hand quilted, and it was truly a labor of love (not to say that I didn't love every minute of it, but this one took a long time). Every time I thought it was done, I picked it back up and kept stitching. I'm pretty sure that it's done now though, because over Thanksgiving I got very tired of working on it. (And also I needed to submit it to QuiltCon.)

The "swatch" blocks were made from various charm packs I had lying around. I cut and sewed them improvisationally. There's probably an easier way to do improv sashing and make the squares less "square" than the method I took, but I love the way they came out. There's no way to replicate them. (Not even I could do it!)

I left all the edges untrimmed and not squared up. I had a few puckers come up during construction, but all the imperfections in this quilt complement each other ā€” the unsquared-up blocks, the puckers, the hand-quilting, the non-straight edges in the final quilt. Perfection is overrated.

I also added some blue squares throughout, mostly to fill space and stretch my fabric. But I love the aesthetic of those floating squares! Even if you don't belong in a swatch, there's still room for you. (This quilt also started out with a flash of embroidery before I took it out and created that swirl in the center. I love the swirl more!

And then came the stitching. I love sashiko. And I love the aesthetic of matchstick quilting. I wanted to see if I could combine the two. I started working on this quilt in April, and I just finished it at Thanksgiving. Granted, I didn't sew much on it over the summer, but this beast took a while! Luckily, sashiko stitches up quickly ā€” gotta love those big stitches :)

A lot of people ask if I marked my lines before stitching. Yes. Yes I did. I like to just sew on the line without stressing about where the line is going. Marking lines lets me look at the quilt holistically, where when you're sewing, you can get bogged down in the 6"x6" square bit that's right in front of you.

My sister, Erin, graduated from Drake University last May. She's been watching me stitch her quilt for the last few months and has been cheering me on ā€” she even sat with me and started some sashiko projects of her own. She's a graphic designer and gave the quilt its name, "Swatch Me Whip" (which started out as a joke, but now I really like it)!

Now if only I can bear to part with this quilt and actually give it to her. She might just have to use it at my house. We'll see :)