The “Cot to Coffin” quilt is done!
I began this quilt in late January, in response to a quilt challenge my guild was doing. A number of guilds have done these challenges, as part of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. I’ve written several posts that give more details about the planning and process, if you’re especially interested you can click on links throughout this post.
My personal goals were to a) make something that was meaningful to me, b) try and use fabrics and techniques consistent with what a woman could’ve used in 1814, and c) make hand quilting a big part of the design. Very few quilters in my guild quilt by hand and I wanted to honor the process.
I based the quilt on the words of a song reportedly written by Catherine Macomb. Catherine’s husband, Alexander, was the field general of the land campaign of the Battle of Plattsburgh in September of 1814. The words of the song describe Catherine’s feelings as she watched the battle and worried for her husband’s safety.
I embroidered the words to the song, “The Banks of Champlain,” and the title, and finished that by the end of February. (You can click on these photos for a closer look.)
Printed text, then embroidered
I used a simple backstitch
Very happy with the title stitching!
I used the design of the Great Seal of the Untied States as a focal point; I read that patriotic designs were popular among quilters in this era. I embroidered the outline, with the intention of adding detail with the quilting.
Unquilted claw and olive branches
Claw after quilting!
I finished the top on March 23, basted it, and started quilting. By mid-April, I decided that my basting stunk, pulled out hours’ worth of hand-quilting, and re-basted using Sharon Schamber’s method.
I finished the quilting on June 18. Most of the quilting is done with off-white thread on the off-white fabric. On the red borders, I used a variegated brown thread and outlined the flowers in the print.
I like the feather detail on the wingsI
I was relieved with how the arrows came out!
The back of the quilt
The back of the quilt; colored thread on borders
My favorite parts of the process:
I love the design and all the connections it made for me.
I loved (loved!) doing the embroidery! That came as a big surprise—now I’m thinking about other projects that incorporate embroidered words in similar ways.
I loved the hand quilting. There’s something about making those tiny stitches and seeing the fabric transformed that really makes me happy.
My least favorite parts of the process:
As always, the basting. But this new method I’ve learned helped a lot.
I didn’t enjoy the parts I did on the sewing machine. I sewed the long seams by machine and, even though I am very happy with my new Singer Featherweight, machine sewing still gives me agita.
The part I was most ambivalent about:
The deadline. I’ve never made a quilt under deadline before and the deadline was a source of a lot of anxiety. It didn’t help that the whole time I was working I thought the deadline was June 30 but then, about two weeks ago, I read the small print and learned the deadline was August 31!
So the deadline made me super nervous, but it also meant I got the quilt done MUCH more quickly than I’ve ever finished a quilt before (the last one took 17 years to finish).
This quilt will hang with others—some traditional, some non-traditional, some made by experts, some made by school kids—in a public space in Plattsburgh during the Battle of Plattsburgh commemoration in September, 2014. I’ll probably share some photos of other “Cot to Coffin” quilts with you then.
Thanks so much for accompanying me through this project and letting me show off the final product!