Its done! I can't believe it...I planned to finish it in January and I did it. Sitting on my to-be-finished pile since September, here it is.
(I'm realizing that something looks a bit yellow in that photo above, but its the light, this quilt top was in perfect condition). I was having trouble with this quilt top early on. Between trying to decide what felt like the right backing and the right binding, I was getting nowhere. Lots of combinations crossed my mind that weren't bad, but I was waiting for something that felt more right. I "got it" when Ian and I saw the play Goodnight Moon at the Seattle Children's Theater last week. I'm looking at the stage (the set design was so great), in particular the green bedspread on the stage bed, thinking, "where have I seen that green before?" It suddenly dawned on me, the green of that spread, the colors of the illustrations in the book, of that set design. The set design and crafting gods were hitting me over the head. My quilt top WAS the green in that bedspread on that stage. The white circles are the moons, right? I became an obsessed woman after that afternoon. (Shortly afterwards, I ran across this fantastic photo on Flickr of Ms. Sly Fox herself, how weird is that?)
For those that may not know, I purchased this quilt top on ebay. I don't remember now when it was made, but the description did describe it as older (I'm thinking 50's) and it smelled incredibly musty when I got it (I could hardly stand to have it folded up in my little studio). But I loved the simplicity of the design, that it was stitched together entirely by hand, and the fabrics were cotton and nicely softened. I used Bac-Out, and the combination of that and a few days of airing out in the sun did the trick for the smell, there is no trace of it. I pieced the back of the quilt using two yellows, a curry shade and another slightly lighter and brighter yellow, with 2 strips running down the middle to break them up, my favorite tape measure fabric and a smaller strip of 1940's quilting cotton I've had for ages.
Its the binding though, that really sets it off for me. The orangy-red in the Clement Hurd's illustrations? It was the absolute perfect shade. Plus, I took my time binding it all and didn't rush through the process (as is my typical style). In finishing the binding on past quilt projects, I have followed the method described in Modern Quilt Workshop, where you basically sandwich the binding around the edge and machine stitch through all the layers, no handfinishing required. It makes for quick work, but this method has always turned out sloppy for me, I've never really gotten my head around the way to do it well. But, as of this project I am now sold on a good old fashioned 'hand finished' binding. There's just nothing that beats how nice the finished product looks to me.
The quilting itself was done all on the machine, by eye. I just stitched through the center of each "moon" with diagonal lines going both directions across the quilt (X's and O's) with off white cotton thread.
This quilt is for Ian's very soon to be redecorated room. It is so freakin' perfect for him, I think I need to go out and celebrate somehow. Although, maybe I'll just stay home, make myself some tea and take one of these instead. Let's remember the other quilt top waiting in line. Can't get too relaxed.