Genome Quilt: Finished!!!

It’s finished, and I absolutely and completely and positivly love it! I actually finished the quilt the middle of last week, but wanted to wait until the weekend to get proper photos of it before posting this post.

This quilt has been a looong time coming, for those who haven’t followed along for the entire process, here’s a summary. I started thinking about it September 2009, and buying the first fabrics for it shortly after that, and then some more in october, but I didn’t have all the fabrics until I went to Perth in April of 2010 and bought a stack more. Cutting started in May 2010 at the inaugral MMQG SASD, and after some more cutting, was piecing in May too. The fabric selection was then finalised with a last few additions to bring the quilt up to size and match out the dark/light fabrics. By the end of June I had made all my HSTs and worked out the layout. And then the requirements of working on my thesis seriously amped up and the quilt stayed pinned on my makeshift design wall for a VERY long time, with very little piecing having been done on it. But plodding away on it a block at a time I started to make some progress and then made real progress at the MMQG retreat in May. Then, as I had some extra time while waiting for thesis corrections the piecing started to roar along in June and July, meaning that I finished piecing the blocks, and then the top, in mid July. Quilting progressed well in July, partly due to having big chunks of time to work on it while I was watching the Tour de France, and a crafternoon or two, meaning that by last week (Mid-August) I was onto binding and finished the quilt very shortly thereafter! All of the posts about this quilt can be seen here.

The concept of the design was “stolen” from Beverly St Clair, who explains the concept of the quilts on her site. Briefly, giving the HST a dark half and a pale half means that the unit has 4 possible orientations. The four orientations then represent either A, G, C or T from the DNA code. The code that I chose is mouse integrin beta3, which is the gene around which my PhD focuses, and the first 1225 bases of the gene are included in the quilt. I love that it’s a thoroughly geeky quilt but you wouldn’t know unless I told you.

When choosing my quilting design I wanted something that would add to the quilt, encouraging people to look at the quilt top as a whole, rather than separating it back down into its individual units. It took me a while to settle on a design, but when Jo suggested concentric circles this time last year when I was visiting Cowslip Workshops with my Gran I instantly knew that this was the quilting design for me. You can see the design I chose particularly well on the back of the quilt (above).

So over all I’m incredibly happy with the quilt, but if I were to do it again there are a couple of things I’d do differently. Firstly in my fabric choices, I think I would not have included some of the paler aqua fabrics (visible in the above photo) and chosen some darker fabrics instead. They’re a lot paler in value than the other fabrics so have given a sort of pale line across the quilt where they are in the gradient.
Secondly, it’s not really visible in the photos, but in person you can see the seam allowances of some of the white fabrics through them, I think because the backing is dark and the wool batting isn’t all that solid so doesn’t provide a good shield from the colour. It’s not a disaster, but in future I will remember it and either use a more solid batting, or “underline” the quilt top with some white fabric between the top and the batting.

(A huge thanks go out to Mindy and Claire for helping me with the photos)


  1. Bronwyn

    Well Done Rachel!!!!!!!

  2. Sam

    What an achievement Rachel! Congratulations! It is a seriously cool looking quilt. I love your hand quilting and I think the DNA reference/inspiration is very original :-) Can't wait to see what you make next. Sam xox

  3. Anonymous

    What a monster effort! It looks amazing!

  4. Anonymous

    p.s. from Kelly :)

  5. Bek

    This truly is amazing Rachel! You must be soooo proud!!!!

  6. scientificquilter

    I've been waiting for you to finish, and it looks fantastic. If you don't mind, I'd like to blog it in the next day or two and perhaps use a picture or two of yours from my site. Lemme know if that's okay. Great that you've done so much work and thought into it, and again, it looks fantastic! With Hidden meaning. One question: you putting all this info on the label, because the meaning behind the quilt may be lost without it.

  7. Helene

    M-A-G-N-I-F-I-C-E-N-T !!!!!

  8. Mary-Anne

    Looks awesome Rachel, I love how the circles look on the back. If the front hadn't involved so much work which you'd obviously want to show off, you could use it as a reversible quilt. I love the gradient on the front too. Amazing quilt!!

  9. Banana

    That is splendiferous, and I really like the way it looks kinda faded in the middle. Great shading!
    The Scientific Quilter alerted me to your great quilting.
    Would you mind if I featured it on my blog?

  10. Mandy

    Well done Rachel, what an achievement, amazing job. :-)

  11. Andi

    It looks amazing and the quilting is wonderful.
    Well done!!

  12. Amanda

    Congratulations! Your quilt is stunning.

  13. thecuriouskiwi

    Wow this is amazing! I really can't stop looking at it. I am sure that if I saw the code for mouse integrin beta3 written out it would just be a jumble for my eyes and make no sense but seeing it in your quilt gives is a graphic representation and I can see the pattern in the shading and direction of the triangles, I'm loving it…and the dedication! :) well done xx

  14. i heart fabric

    Wow this quilt is sooo impressive!!! You have done such an amazing job!!

  15. Pingback: Goodbye 2011 | Lavender Lane

Leave a Reply