Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yin and Yang - A Quilty Finish

At the beginning of 2013, I asked my son if he would like me to make him a quilt.  He said yes.  He wanted a wall hanging to go over his bed that was the Yin and Yang symbol.  My eyes glazed over.  

Then I said, "but wouldn't you like to have a nice pieced quilt.  I could make you one with this cool hand dyed fabric in bright colors that I had just bought."  
He said no.  He wanted a Yin and Yang wall hanging.

Well, the only way that I  could think of to make one would involve applique.  I've taken classes in how to do applique but let me just say that at this point in my quilting career, it just doesn't really interest me.  But with him insisting,  I decided to give it a whirl.  But then I waited and waited and waited some more.  I think I was hoping that he would just forget about it but he has a mind like a steel trap and never forgets anything.  So, come December, he wanted to know if I was ever going to make his quilt.  I said I would start it and have it ready for Christmas.  Never make promises that you can't keep.  

Really, it was a simple quilt.  It didn't have a lot of parts.  My son had already picked the colors, gray, black and white.  I had all the fabric.
So,  I cut the gray background fabric to the size he wanted for the wall hanging.  Then, I made a large paper pattern and basically hand drew the yin yang symbol on the paper.  I think I used a pencil tied with a string to my compass and just went around in circles.  Then for the small circles inside each part of the symbol, I used a plastic lid as a template.  He approved the size and design so I started cutting it out of my fabric.

I used the paper patterns and cut each side out.  I made sure that when I placed them on the paper, they met in the middle and it looked right and everything.  I spray basted the large pieces to the gray background.  Then for some reason, I decided that I would go ahead and make my quilt sandwich and use my blanket stitch on my machine to go around each side of the symbol.  That way it would look all neat and professional and would show up on the back of the quilt (sigh).  I decided that I would only quilt the gray area around the symbol.  Not the symbol itself.
 Well, I did that and it came out oookkaayy.  But when I tried to blanket stitch the little circles, it was just a mess.  I ended up having to remove about a million very closely sewn stitches.  Then I just ended up hand sewing the small circles still using a blanket stitch.  Although, hand stitches and machine stitches look completely different.

My quilting on the gray area went great.  I free motion quilted in a loopy pattern which I just loved. 
I used a black and white striped binding that I had been saving just for this project.  I love striped binding.

I machine sewed the binding on and I think it came out great.  I stitched the back of the binding on by stitching in the ditch on the front of the quilt.  I'm getting pretty good at that and you can barely see any of the stitches on the front.
I didn't finish it in time for Christmas though.  It was more like January 2nd.  So, technically, I guess it's my first finish of the year.
**This is how he wanted it to hang.  On it's side.  Don't know why, he's a teenager so.....**
I now realize I should have done it differently.  I should have used a fusible on the applique pieces especially since they were so big.  I should have hand stitched them down on just the background fabric, not the quilt sandwich.  I think if I had done that, the back of the quilt wouldn't be such a hot mess.  The front looks great and my son LOVES it.  He loves the whole quilt.  I'm the one with the problem.  But I've learned a lot in the making of this quilt.  Live and learn.

I used a gray chevron on the back and I attached a hanging sleeve with the same fabric.  This is as much of the back as I'm going to let you see.  I didn't take this for show and tell at my LQS because I was afraid of what the experienced applique people might say about the stitches on the back.

Yin and Yang Quilt
Measurements:  42 1/2 inches by 44 1/2 inches
All done by me and quilted on my home machine in a free motion style with my walking foot.
The solid color black and white are Kona Cotton.  The gray is Moda Bella Gray and the gray chevron is from Riley Blake.  The black and white stripe binding fabric is Michael Miller's Clown Stripe.

**Linking up to Can I get a Whoop Whoop?,  Needle and Thread Thursday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.  See my linky page for clickable links.**


  1. The back can be your guilty secret, keep it on the wall and no-one will ever know:)

    Looks great from the front!

  2. haha! isn't it great how kids have such distinct ideas of what they want and can't be swayed sometimes. You did a great job of turning the vision into reality!

    Thank you so much for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  3. Quilt looks great. So proud of you!

  4. It is so unique, I really like it. The important things to remember: your son is happy and there are no quilting police!

  5. It's fantastic! I love it! Great Job!


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