Friday, June 24, 2011

Bottled Rainbows {Quilting}

This post is part of a series Bottled Rainbows {ticker tape quilt along}. You can join in anytime. We're going at a leisurely pace and using up our scraps! Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Ready to finish? Once you have pieced your Bottled Rainbow quilt top, the basting, quilting and binding can proceed just like any quilt. In fact, it's a little easier because you don't have to add the batting layer to your quilt sandwich.

this backing is scary huge

Is it just me, or is this backing scary huge?  Yeah, I thought so.  I'm feeling thrifty because I dissected and pieced together our master bedroom duvet cover to create my Bottled Rainbows backing!  And you know what, that means Brandon can't change his mind now because this new quilt is all we've got to cover our bed.  Muahahahaha! 

I had planned to use the Argyle in Bright (Remix by Robert Kaufman) to back Bottled Rainbows. But, now that this quilt is going on our grown up bed rather than the child's bed I'd imagined, something a bit more calm was in order.

little pin soldiers

This morning I taped my backing down (wrong side up) and carefully spread my quilt top over it (right side up). Then, in the startling silence I mustered my little pin soldiers to attack.

handy mr. Knit

And, with a little help from Mr. Knit who is supremely handy at closing those pins, I basted and basted and basted my little heart out.

at the ready

Actually, fact is, I really didn't have to baste too much for a quilt of this size. Since the center of each Bottled Rainbow block is already generously quilted to the batting, I have decided to quilt only along the seam lines of my blocks. The point of this second round of quilting is simply to attach the quilt top to the quilt back. Accordingly, I only basted around those seams and in the sections at the head and foot of the bed that extend beyond the Bottled Rainbow blocks.

quilting in progress.

Roll that baby up and have at it!

I'm quilting with a modified zigzag stitch in the same off-white thread I used for the ticker tape quilting. Don't forget to start quilting along the center seam lines to stabilize things. For more details on how to wrangle all that quilt into your home machine, see this tutorial from my Colorbrick Quilt-along.

Ziggy Zaggy

I do love the zigzag stitch!  It happens to be handy for disguising my less-than-stellar quilting skills.  Honestly, I'm not very good at stitch-in-the-ditch, and I know I'd have trouble doing long straight lines when handling a quilt of this size.  This approach is very forgiving.  It also echos the zigzags I used to ticker tape.  Oh, and to lock the quilting in place, I start and end each line with a straight stitch of zero length.

Quilting still in progress!


  1. Oh! It looks so beautiful! I love the backing! What a great idea!

    I can't wait to see it all finished!

  2. Oooh, it's looking lovely! I LOVE the zigzag! And, of course that you are re-purposing your old duvet!

    From first glance at that very first picture, I thought you were using AMH's Mixed Signals print from IC. :)

  3. It looks amazing!! I love the zig zagging too...that way it doesn't take away from the gorgeous blocks :o)

  4. I love these posts! The quilt is totally amazing; I am in awe x

  5. I have been loving this quilt to start with...I really, really want to make one. Then, your description of "pin soldiers" cracked me up. I now have that song "One Tin Soldier Rides Away" (or what ever it's title is...from the early 70's) in my head...but instead keep hearing "one pin soldier"!! And finally, (yes finally, I seem to be a motor mouth today), the quilting is perfect. I like how your machine zig zags. I will have to practice with my machine and find a setting I like.

    Deb from

  6. I love the zigzag quilting. It's giving me an idea of how to put the blocks together from a QAYG quilt from long ago, that my daughter-in-law is (im)patiently awaiting...

  7. I love that your hubby agreed to have this be the bed quilt. Mine would NEVER. It's gorgeous!

  8. I've used that backing a couple of times and love it! You've done a stellar job on this quilt and the zigzag for final quilting is sheer genius! You go girl!

  9. I love colour so I think I still would have used the argyle fabric, even if it was for my bed.... but maybe my husband might not agree LOL

  10. It looks great! And it IS scary huge. I like the use of the old duvet cover.

  11. This is so fabulous - love the tip with the quilting...

  12. I love the look of the zig-zag quilting...I have to try that next time!

  13. Ready to finish? You are SO funny!!! Wasn't it one block a month not one a week?? That said I should be finished about this time next year :))
    4 down... 12 to go!

  14. I love this quilt. The zig zag is a brilliant idea. Ditch stitching is never easy!

  15. I knew I'll love this quilt. And I love the new backing even more than the previous one.

    But, oh my God, what's that room? It's a.m.a.z.i.n.g! I looove it! That wall is perfect! Can I come live with you? :D Pleeease :D

  16. This looks so amazing Rachel! I, too, am not the greatest at stitch-in-the-ditch...don't ask me why it never occurred to me to zig-zag!

  17. Rachel, This looks soooo intimidating and beautiful all at the same time. I can't wait to see the finished project! I've been pondering making my daughter a quilt for some time now so maybe this will inspire me to get with it! :)


  18. Diane - Thanks for the room love! My husband and I made those wall panels about 6 years ago. They're just 1 x 1 wood with fabric stretched over and stapled. It's funny seeing them with Bottled Rainbow. Makes me think this whole Bottled Rainbow thing must really be "me" since they so match my house!

  19. Like one of your earlier readers, I loved the congruency of the pictures on the wall with your blocks. Serendipity? No, you explain it later on.

    Good luck to you on the finishing of this project, and I'll look forward to seeing it on your bed. Hope your husband likes it!

    Elizabeth E.

  20. Looking great, Rachel!
    I am only 3 blocks from finishing, and have been shopping and thinking and eyeing and imagining what kind of back I'd like for it. I was hanging out at one of my LQS during a break from Long-Arm quilting class (!), and saw a stunning grey with white ovals. I wondered about how cool might it be to back Bottled Rainbows with a neutral grey. Would that enhance or take away? I love how grey mixes with colors in my other projects...would this work as nicely?
    Will let you know what I decide. In the meantime, this has been a really fun project. Thanks!

  21. I was wondering how you were going to finish it. It looks good!!!

  22. Looks great to see some quilting photos!

  23. ARen't you clever to use the duvet cover. I love that idea. Can't wait to see your beautiful quilt on your bed!

  24. I too love your living room walls. Your quilt is looking fine.

  25. I think I want to kiss you for showing me how to avoid that ever wrinkling batting layer! This is a brilliant method! I'm never spending hours pinning a budging batting between front and back pieces again!

  26. Do you use a walking foot? It looks awesome. Mine is a little different I quilted each square to the backing, now I have to sew each one together and add binding to cover the seams. OOPS! (keeping my fingers crossed)

  27. Well, that way can certainly work. I've heard of it done that way. Yes, I used a walking foot about 100% of the time. Makes all the difference for me!

  28. Hi!

    I'm loving working on my bottled rainbows quilt! I have all of my blocks finished and pieced together. Now I need to add my borders, backing and binding.

    Did you address how to do the binding? I feel like I read it somewhere but I cannot, for the life of me, find it.



    1. I'd recommend my Zigzag binding tutorial: It's how I bind everything!

  29. I finished my bottled rainbows quilt! I absolutely LOVE it! I will post pictures as soon as I do the photo shoot - oh yeah, this quilt gets its very own photo shoot.

    I loved your idea of using a neutral for the borders so I used a quilting linen in oatmeal and wow, I adore it. This quilt will be going to Italy for my dad and step-mom, so using European linen felt just right.

    This project was just so much fun and I know the recipients will adore it.

    I made this in a European king size, which is really our Queen size and had planned to make another one for my bed. I loved the earthy linen next to the bright colors that I have decided to use linen as the borders for all of the blocks and then do color inside of the blocks. I plan to do the inside of each block with some kind of shape that has significance to us - like a tree because I love nature, or something with Chinese significance since we adopted our daughter from China.

    Anyway, I have other projects to be made before Christmas, so my quilt may have to wait. Besides, I'm not sure I'm completely ready to quilt another humongous quilt just now. :)

    Thanks so much, Rachel, for this tutorial! It seems that every time I sit down at my computer, it just goes automatically to this tutorial before I even start typing - that's how much I've visited. lol!


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