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heart quilt finished!

I finished a project! A big one, too. I began this heart quilt in February 2010, and I finished it in February of this year. Then I waited a while before taking pictures and posting about it. You don’t want to rush these things.

heart quilt

The Hearts of #Quilttalk

The quilt’s history is a lot older than that, though. The blocks are more than a decade old. Back then, I was part of an online quilting guild (yes, way back in 1998). These hip mamas met on an IRC channel called #quilttalk. Remember IRC? Yeah. A cursory web search reveals that #quiltchat is now the channel of choice, but back in the day, it was #quilttalk.

The blocks in this quilt were made by the #quilttalk quilters. Once in a while, we’d hold a swap, where you make six identical blocks and mail five of them to the swap hostess. She sends back five different blocks from other quilters, and they each get one of yours. Multiply that by the number of sets you’re crazy enough to make, and you can get a whole quilt’s worth. So some of the blocks are mine, and some are swapped. I held on to the blocks for years while I didn’t quilt, and then for a few years after I picked up the hobby again, wondering how on earth to set them — they are so different from one another! The guidelines for swaps vary; this one specified the finished block size and that the block had to contain a heart, but that was it.

detail of border, heart quilt

border detail

Normally I don’t go in for pink, but I thought it might pull together the different colors in the blocks if I set them with pink sashing (that’s the strips between the blocks) and borders. I like the effect. This is the first full-size quilt that I’ve kept for myself instead of giving away, and I really like cozying up under it. It’s riddled with flaws but I like it anyway.

One of my favorite features is the pieced stripe along the back. When I trimmed the borders, I had a couple of inches left over, and I had to piece the back of the quilt (sew two large lengths of fabric together longways) so I set the pieced strip in between them. It’s off-center on the back and gives the reverse side a little whimsy. It’s very satisfying to have it finished!

detail of heart quilt

a terrible photo of the pieced stripe on the back

It’s called The Hearts of #Quilttalk in honor of my friends from so long ago. I quilted it on my little tiny Bernina Bernette, and it was very frustrating trying to squeeze the rolled-up quilt under the short little arm. Luckily, I’m saving up for a solution to that problem right now!


  1. Giulia says:

    Remember IRC? Do I ever. I still have a pang of nostalgia listening to a fax machine because it reminds me of my 14.4 modem connecting to my online friends. I never encountered #quilttalk- kinda wish I had- but there were some really fun rooms nonetheless. In some ways, twitter reminds me of IRC. I like the room notion, sometimes twitter feels like you’re in a giant auditorium and all you want is a small group seminar.

    Synchronous chat pontifiations aside: your quilt is gorgeous. There is something really impressive about how you worked away at that for so long, keeping the pieces through the years when you didn’t quilt. I used to work for a notions importing business. Creating the packaging for quilting supplies was the closest I came to creating a quilt, but I so admire the craftsmanship, planning, and tenacity required for you to finish such a project.

    Well done!

  2. […] unpacking a box last weekend I came across a note listing the blocks in my heart quilt and the names and nicks of the women who made them. What a delight! Now I can personally thank the […]