Thursday, December 27, 2012

Simply Quilt

Disclaimer: I apologize for the bad photos (and will until summer, most likely).  I finished this late at night and had to deliver it the next day, so there was not time for day shots. 

Here it is - my first-ever commissioned quilt!  My good friend Sabrina asked me to make a few gifts for some of her family members.  Apparently she's shown some of them my blog and they really like it (and might even check back semi-regularly...).

Anywho, this was a bit of a late request, so we decided to keep things simple and go with a (mostly) wholecloth quilt.  After scouring the interwebs, we narrowed it down to Simply Color Dotty Ombre from V & Co. in blue and Nature Elements in Ocean Breeze from Art Gallery.  Sab picked the dots.  I have to admit, I was pushing more for the nature elements.  I love the color and the pattern, and though the simply color is great too, I was nervous about making a primarily white quilt.  I'm still a little concerned about the white part - dirt is going to shine on this thing - but I have to say, I take back my hesitations otherwise.  I really like the wave effect of the pattern.  Also, the selvedges have a ready-made binding, so I didn't even have to worry about buying extra fabric for that.  So great!


For the back, I really wanted to use flannel.  This quilt is for Sab's grandmother, whom she mentioned gets cold easily, so I thought flannel would add a nice touch of warmth without making it too heavy.  I did some searches and couldn't find anything I liked or that I thought would work well with the front...until Black Friday.  Despite the fabric buying ban imposed on me by Mr. T until I use my entire stash, I couldn't help combing through the sales.  That is when I stumbled upon Greenhouse Flannel.  Not only was it a perfect fit with the front of the quilt, it was 50% off and an additional 25% with the Black Friday sales. What a steal!  Also, despite my ineptitude, it pieced together really well so the seams don't stand out too much (I can also thank the busy pattern for that).


By the time I got this thing basted, I only had one day to quilt and bind it before I had to deliver it (Sab was getting on a plane to India the next day to visit her family).  With so much white space, I had a really tough time deciding how to quilt it.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do very little quilting to keep it extra soft, but otherwise I had nothing.  At first I was thinking randomly spaced straight lines in blue and green thread, but that just didn't feel right.  The front feels so dynamic, and I worried that straight lines would detract from that movement.  So, with some trepidation, I grabbed my free motion quilting foot and consulted this tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman.  I've had my FMQ foot sitting around since September, but haven't had the nerve to try it out yet.  Well, I'm hooked!  It was so much fun!  Definitely difficult, but also fun.  I originally had grandiose plans of doing a swirly figure eightish design a la Denyse Schmidt, but after a few practice rounds I realized that was a bit too ambitious, especially with my tight deadline.  Instead, I did some simple wavy lines (thus, the name of this quilt - simple - which also ties into the name of the fabric).


The quilting is hard to see because I used white thread (by design. I don't need those uneven stitches standing out too much), but I like the overall effect.  It was a challenge wrangling the quilt through my tiny machine, and I have no idea how I'll ever quilt anything larger or with any sort of intricate, non-linear design, but it was a good first FMQ experience.  By the end there was a marked improvement in my stitch length and the evenness of my waves.  I even rearranged my sewing area a bit to better support the quilt (well, I just moved the chair and the machine to the short end of the table, but that's about all my limited space allows).


As mentioned above, I used the selvedges for the binding.  This was a hint too short, so I added a short strip from the yardage as well.  Then I machine bound it for a quicker finish.  It ended up being about 54x55, so a decent lap quilt, especially for Sab's petite grandmother.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this quilt.  The quilting is by no means perfect, but I'm happy with my first attempt.  And unless you study the stitches, it's not overly obvious. Now I just need to figure out the best way to add labels to my quilts.  Suggestions are more than welcome.

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