Friday, October 15, 2021

The Gypsy King Quilt

The Gypsy King is my #4 of the Country Threads Dirty Dozen UFO Challenge for October and is a Finally Finish. Big sign of relief here because I seriously thought this would be the first time since participating in this yearly challenge that I would not finish on time.  Even before I started this quilt, I was in QAL Escape Artist mode by asking myself do I really need to make this quilt and do I still like these fabrics and I had to say Yes. This was reluctantly decided after much procrastination by viewing too many BTS and Fiona the Hippo photo/videos. I thought when I decided to participate in another year of the UFO Challenge, I would step it up by committing to finishing projects which were in the block stage rather than just needing to be quilted like I mostly did last year. This wasn’t a bad idea except if the UFO wasn’t a king size quilt with more than half of the blocks still needed to be made. It’s challenge enough to make a king size quilt let alone making it a double challenge by finishing it during a certain time frame. I wanted to QAYG, even though it was only going to be my third time using this technique, because it’s the only way I could quilt a king size quilt. Normally this would be something I would send to my long arm quilter but because of the pattern and scrappiness, I thought the quilting would be somewhat lost plus I rather save my money for a quilt more deserving of fine longarm machine quilting.
I mentioned in my Flying Geese Frenzy Quilt post which was my July finish for the UFO Challenge that the fabrics used in that quilt would be seen again for this project. The blocks are a modified version of the Unruly Pattern by My Quilt Infatuation (not an affiliate link) and were made while at the Grandparent House. The fabrics used were mostly Basic Grey’s PB&J line and Felicity Miller’s Charleston line, both of which came out around 2012/2013. I’ve used these fabrics in other quilts and mainly one which I will show later in this post. I needed thirty blocks to made a 90” x 108” quilt which I thought at first would make a King, but then I was briefly disappointed when I thought I made a mistake in  the measurement  and that this would only made a Queen. It was only after I was halfway through the quilting that I realized that I was confusing the measurement with that of a Queen size batting and yes I was making a King size quilt which is really what I wanted. I needed to sew 17 more blocks and thankfully the patches were already cut and ready to be sewn into bocks.
Here are the thirty blocks arranged on my design board. Initially the plan was to QAYG each block but then I realized that I could instead QAYG vertical rows of 5 blocks each which would be a lot simpler. The blocks were laid out with the seams of the blocks in each row either pressed going up or down so once the rows were sewn together, the seams would nest.  Otherwise not too much attention was paid where each block went and if it was too close to the same fabric which usually matters to me but since there is so much scrappening going on I didn’t care.

I thought I show a before and after shot of the batting pulled from the scrap stash and it doesn’t look like it made a big dent but nevertheless I was happy I was able to culled some large enough pieces to use for this quilt. I need six pieces measuring at least 22” x 96” and had four but was able to piece the other two using a pieced batting method found on A Quilter’s Table Tutorial. It really was very simple and know I plan on piecing more batting for future projects. I originally pulled the batting thinking I was going to QAYG blocks rather than rows so this also saved batting. I think the scrap pile on the right would have been a lot bigger. Before this gets tossed out, I first will cut up the useable pieces to make squares to use for dusting which comes in very handy around the house.
I sewed and QAYG one row/panel at a time. Once the row was sewn together, then all of the loose threads were removed and then pressed before placing it on the batting. Because the rows were only around 25” wide, I pin basted using the long arm straight pins. When you do this, you definitely need to be  sure your arms and legs are covered, armor around the torso would have been nice.  Each row/panel was straight-line quilted 1” apart with #2610 Blue Gray Aurifil thread. Since these were going to be sewn together, the quilting started and ended l” away from each side since this would also be the area where additional anchoring quilting would be done once the backing is added.

Once the batting was trimmed, two rows/panels were sewn together, one pair at a time and the 1/4” seams were pressed opened.
Here is a photo of four rows/panels sewn together. I had to say despite having to sew the rows together with the batting, the seams nested together very nicely. And even when they didn’t, it isn’t very noticeable.

After machine quilting four rows/panels rather cautiously and suffering some pricks, I remembered that I had made some pin point protectors and boy did that make a difference in how fast the last two rows/panels were quilted. I was rather annoyed about forgetting that I had these, so to avoid this happening again the future, I packed the long arm straight pins with the pin protectors. I just hope I remember that I did this when I’m looking for the pins.
Once the six rows/panels were sewn together which I might say it was a little cumbersome, I discovered a new absolute “hate”; pressing a 108” x 124” wide backing. For me, this is one of  the good reasons why king size quilts should be sent to a longarmer. I have to mention that the dusty blue Moda Marble wide backing has been sitting in the backing vault for awhile and that it was the right color. You don’t want to use a light backing when you QAYG, because the seams of the top and batting will show through the backing.
Also, a little cumbersome and time consuming was placing the top/batting on top of the backing. I still pin basted 4” apart.
Once the quilt was layered, I originally only planned to anchor quilt around the seam lines of the rows, but then decided to also quilt it approximately a 1/2” away from the sixth line of quilting just for added anchoring.
I thought the final machine quilting went well until I saw this which happened at one of the corners as a result of bad basting but was an easy fix. I am hopeful the QAYG technique will be stable enough for the Gypsy King quilt which will be used for our bed and will be subject to numerous washings. If not,  then I know five or six people/dogs who might want a yoga mat.
I was going to machine bind the quilt with a yellow print in the quilt which I had yardage of but I remembered I had this Basic Grey text print on grunge which I think is from their Merkai line. I thought it would be perfect although I can’t read some of the verbiage; I just love using text prints for binding especially when you can read all of it.
I mentioned earlier in this post where the fabric for the Gypsy King quilt came from and would show the quilt where it was used mainly for; my often mentioned but seldom shown, but still gives me the willies, Gypsy Wife Quilt which I put to great use my QAL Escape Artist skill by finishing it sampler style and not with the strips. If you’ve made a Gypsy Wife Quilt and have since recovered, you know what I am talking about.  A funny tidbit here, the yellow binding I was going to use for Gypsy King, I used it for Gypsy Wife which I didn’t realize until I pulled it out from her sitting spot.
And now you know why I named this quilt Gypsy King as a reference to the Gypsy Wife quilt and as to the size of it. Truth be told, I didn’t come up with this name until I put together these four quilts for this pic to show my new bedroom ensemble which almost was eight years in the making. I now have a quilt to hang on the wall which can only be Gypsy Wife, Gypsy King for the bed, Flying Geese Frenzy for the rocker and Fat Eighth Frenzy for the bench. I would love to put this in my bedroom now but sadly the Winter quilts were just hung or laid on the bed this week. I will have to wait until either next Spring or Fall for my new ensemble can make an appearance. Meanwhile the Gypsy Wife Quilt will be hanging around my studio to remove any bad woo-woo between us so I will be comfortable sleeping with it hanging above my head.

I thought I include some more pics of Gypsy King just to show how well I think it turned out and the size of it although it looks rather small hanging from outside the screen room. Also to show how wonderful the Master Quilt Holder/Hanger is for climbing up the ladder after recovering from whatever he had, wasn’t Covid, Strep Throat or telling me too often how much he loves helping me, etc. Because he was laying low this week and didn’t go to the Grandparent House, I was able to finish Gypsy King. Finally, I now know my limitations and don’t plan on ever quilting a King quilt ever again…but I do have plans for making another one.

Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation/NTT


  1. I really love this quilt, Rose, and enjoyed reading your post about it! Any kind of scrappy quilt is my favorite. It is definitely a "scrappening" quilt, which is a new term to me, but so perfect! I've never made a Gypsy Wife quilt, but now consider myself warned. I'm so impressed that you quilted this yourself, and the QAYG technique sounds really handy!

  2. Your quilt is glorious Rose! I love the colorful scrappiness. I have always loved the PB&J line and still have hoarded fat quarters in my stash. The backing really is the perfect choice, and I love that binding too. I am not sure I will ever try a king quilt but I do love your!
    My favorite word from your post: scrappening. :D Thank you for the link to the batting piecing tutorial.

  3. Awesome king sized finish, Rose!!! I fuse my batting scraps together the same way and it works good and fast. QAYG--that is a big job for such a big quilt and you did well! Kudos to the quilt hanger, too--great job! And yes, I'm in the club with you and totally get it--recovering Gypsy Wife quiltmaker.

  4. I think you have earned the King Quilt Wrangler award on this one, Rose! Of course, the two quilts would be bound using the same fabric - it was just supposed to be! Your MQH is doing a great job, as usual! Great finish, my friend!

  5. Hi Rose! What a great finish and quilt. Ugg. King-size quilts are a beast to quilt on the DSM but you came up with a good solution. The Master Quilt Holder did his usual fabulous job. The name makes me think of the musical groups Gypsy King(s). I hope you guys are doing well and taking care. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  6. Wow, Rose! I can't imagine how many hours went into the gypsy quilts but they are stunning! Congratulations on the finish!

  7. You are much braver than me to attempt to quilt such monstrous (sized) quilts Rose! You’ve done a wonderful job and it will look great on your bed when it’s finally gets it’s turn.

  8. I love this whole batch of quilts, Rose! Your bedroom is going to be delightful, and you must share a photo when you decide to switch things out again. Your way of doing the QAYG is intriguing to me, and I must study it more and then paw through my bin of batting scraps to see how they could be tamed. I have a lot of small pieces that aren’t all the same type/brand, but maybe they could be worked into smaller projects (definitely not king, although I’m impressed with your fortitude in completing that huge quilt).I hope your hubby is feeling better. Any amount of under-the-weatherness is a bit scary right now, isn’t it? He did a wonderful job of wrangling the quilt onto the screen room. Oh, and congrats on your 5-year anniversary. (You can tell that I’m way behind on blog-reading.)


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