This quilt was completed in 2009. The quilt top--design, execution, assembly--required 18 months of steady work and necessitated my learning some new techniques in machine applique.
The project was originated by a friend who suggested that our group make reproductions of a well-known 1950 quilt, "Calico Garden," now displayed in the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. The original quilt, made by Florence Peto, is a crib quilt made with three-inch hand-appliqued blocks. I was not particularly fond of the original quilt, but I was fond of my group. I decided to participate, making a queen-sized quilt for our guest bedroom by enlarging and redesigning the original blocks. (I planned to exclude the blocks I did not like, however, so right from the beginning I was Not Following the Program.
The design I eventually chose did not work out entirely as I expected. And along the way, inevitably, I abandoned the original designs entirely to add blocks of my own. (For one thing, there were no birds in any of the original Calico Garden blocks; what's a garden without birds?)
I enlarged the quilt further when my husband said he'd like this bright quilt for our king-sized bed; I added outer borders to achieve the necessary size. When at last the quilt top was assembled, I sent it to a hand-quilter. I felt that the quilt 'deserved' hand work, but the time it would require (and the strain on my wrists and hands) made my choice sensible. I added the binding and label after the quilt was returned to me. Now we are much more reliable about making the bed because it's such a treat to walk into the bedroom and enjoy the sight of the cheerful quilt.
One thought: large 'album' quilts are perhaps more interesting in person because it is easier to see the individual designs.
If you would like to see all the blocks, go to my friend's website--thebluecatcreations.com --and use the drop-down menu entitled Calico Garden; there are two Elaines, so select Elaine W.
My favorite blocks are the 'woven' basket (lower right in this picture) and the cherry thief.
To answer a possible question: no, machine applique is not one bit faster than hand work!