For quilt-lovers: quilting season finale

For some reason, quilting feels like a fall-winter activity to me.  Well, plus early spring, which in our neck of the woods is really the tail-end of winter, often lasting until mid-May.

Fortunately, I finished the last components of my self-imposed winter quilting project just in the nick of time.  Just before I could no longer in good faith put off going to the gardening centre for bedding plants.  The official start of spring!

My project this year, which I first started talking about at Christmas 2019 – pre-COVID – when we were visiting our son and young family, was to make them each a lap quilt to keep them warm and cozy on chilly nights when they watch TV in their family room.  At Christmas time this year I finally decided to get going.  I asked each of them what their favourite colour was and proceeded from there.

I’ve already reported on the first parts of this project on International Quilting Day in March, the boys’ orange and green Lego quilts.  Here’s a snap of the happy recipients.

LegoQuilts

The remaining parts of my self-imposed project were obviously for their Mom and Dad.  Their Dad proclaimed blue as his favourite colour and Mom went with “all colours”.  That was my starting point.

Unbeknownst to my lovely son (the Dad), during my February decluttering I had come across his childhood Star Wars comforter, stored away for safekeeping decades ago.  It’s blue, perfect! Now I just needed to decide what to do with it.  Without thinking it through at all I took it apart, threw out the old backing and batting, and washed the top.  I thought I’d cut it into squares of the characters and piece it together, but when I looked more closely it was clear that the characters were far too big for that.  Best to just cut out one piece the size I intended for his quilted throw.  This is (the first instance) where thinking this through more thoroughly would have been a good idea.

I was going to draw curved lines on the fabric to use for my quilting tracks, but as I was starting to do so, I noticed all these tiny holes in long rows.  It had never ever crossed my mind to check to see how the comforter was really put together before taking it apart.  Maybe you won’t be as surprised as I was that it had been quilted quite elaborately with invisible thread; that’s what those tracks of tiny holes were from.  If I had given this any thought at all, I would have cut my fabric from the centre so the quilting pattern already in place was centred, but of course that ship had sailed.  So the quilted pattern on this lap quilt follows the original pattern but is completely off-centre.  Fortunately, I don’t think the Dad recipient is too fussy in that regard!  I finished that one in time to send it to him to open on May the 4th (!) and then could concentrate on the one that intrigued me the most.

DadQuuilt

I don’t know about other quilters, but I usually look for designs on the Internet that appeal to me, then try to figure out how to make them.  I found one design that I thought would be terrific in many colours, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how I was going to put all the piece together.  It was complicated in spades.  So I looked some more and came across this image.  I thought that would be fun to make, although using hand quilting rather than the machine quilting it showed.  OK, design determined.

MomQuilt1

I chose the background fabric I wanted and then assembled lots of fabrics that I loved and thought the Mom would love, too.  I made a stencil for the “petals” and started cutting.  I figured out how I could maximize the 3m piece of fabric I had purchased for the background to get the size I wanted and cut away.  That’s when things went a bit off the rails.  My creative way of cutting the fabric to get the right size I wanted meant that some of the pieces I was putting together were cut on the grain and other pieces were cut against the grain (at right angles to the original).  Now I know why that’s important!  This picture below shows the pieced background I had hoped to use, with the petals laid out to see how they fit.  Yikes, see how the top part of the background is puckered and the bottom bits are taut?!  Not good.

MomQuilt3

Back to the fabric store for more of that fabric.  Rip out the seams with the handy-dandy seam ripper.

SeamRipper

Wash the new fabric, iron everything again, carefully cut what I’ve determined will work properly, and sew the new piece together with the main old piece, all on the grain.  One problem.  I measured twice and cut once, but I didn’t check carefully enough to make sure I was sewing face to face rather than face to back of fabric.  Yikes.  Out comes the handy-dandy seam ripper again.  Finally, I sew them together correctly, iron them again, and lay out the petals.  Phew.

Next challenge is: how do I keep all those large petals in place on a large piece of fabric while appliqueing them one by one in their proper place.  I had thought of pinning them, but I became less convinced that everything would stay in place, including the pins themselves, as the whole ensemble was pushed and pulled through the sewing machine.  So I decided to try using adhesive sheets for fabric, which I hadn’t used before.  It seemed to be made for the job, but the included written instructions were indecipherable to me.  But wait a minute, let’s see what YouTube might be able to help with.  No problem at all, YouTube is a saviour!

YouTube1

YouTube2

Finally, I was on track.  I got the petals all stuck on lightly with “invisible” fusible sheets, got the petals all appliqued onto the background, and proceeded apace to quilt it.  Hurray, I mailed the final part of my winter project to its beautiful recipient on May 16, which I am officially calling the last day of early spring!  No more new quilting projects before late fall.  My plan is to remember all the lessons I learned from these efforts.

MomQuilt4

One lesson I learned long ago: when you know the person you’re making your quilt for and can envision them using it, every stitch you take and even every mistake you have to correct is a pleasure. 🙂

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28 Responses to For quilt-lovers: quilting season finale

  1. Jean says:

    I llked the leaf contemporary pattern.

  2. Your quilts are beautiful. I so admire people with this skill 🙂

  3. Bernie says:

    Ah “unsewing” never my favourite! Well done on all four of those. Love the last one. Sad my kids don’t want any quilts from me. Grandkids have them though and love them!

  4. I love this line: “Well, plus early spring…” I promise you, we won’t hold you to it if you post about quilts in the middle of July also, Jane! 🙂 Your quilts are beautiful. – Marty

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Lol, thanks Marty. But when you live where we fit a year’s worth of Florida-ish weather into 3-4 months (our growing season), I should probably go lightly on my indoor activities (except for blogging, of course)!

  5. Wynne Leon says:

    Wow – what beautiful labors of love, Jane! I love your last line – making it with love for people you love, even through the mistakes is a wonderful inspiration and motivation.

  6. You are so far ahead of me with your quilting. I’ve been so busy I haven’t put Heather’s quilt together but have it draped over the quilting frame!!!

  7. margiran says:

    Quilting isn’t an interest of mine but I was fascinated in reading how you set about deciding what to do for your family and how to go about perfecting it. They do look lovely as well as cosy.
    Just shows that where there is a passion there is a way.
    Now to bedding plants .. 😊

    • Jane Fritz says:

      That’s the motto, all right, where there’s a will there’s a way! Happily, the past two days have been effect here for putting in our bedding plants. Now they just need to grow! 😏😊🌷🌺🌼

  8. Rose says:

    These are beautiful! There is so much work and heart that goes into quilt-making.

  9. jofedorchuk says:

    I can so easy relate to your journey with these quilts, I often take inspiration from an image online and ‘run with it’, stumbling as I go, crochet, paper, fabric, it doesn’t matter, it’s all a learning experience and feeds my creative instincts. I love that you put it into words so well, thx!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Jo. You say exactly what I love about the process, feeding my creative instincts (such as they are) and always learning. The continual learning is an important component. Thanks for this.

  10. Phew! Quite the project to make those quilts. Those little boys are so cute on the quilts made with their favorite colors. The Star Wars quilt is just plain special. (I’m a huge Star Wars fan.) Last but certainly not least is the petal quilt. Absolutely lovely! I can picture your family wrapped up in their cozy quilts. Pop the popcorn! “Star Wars”, anyone?

  11. Maribel Conover says:

    You have taken quilting far beyond my meager talents!😃👍

  12. LA says:

    My friend is a hard core quilter. Kudos for the beautiful things you create!

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