Friday, July 5, 2013

colorful chevrons and painted rocks

It all started with this,

a practice paper-pieced block I made using scraps from T's quilt.
(which looks really cool on the backside, too)

It was the middle of Spring Break week,
and my school-teacher neighbor friend came over for a visit.
The above quilt block was out on the table,
and she kept admiring it and petting the jewel toned pieces.
I was pointing out the problem with it
(the stitches showed - in the future I'll try newsprint instead of computer paper)

and she said it was beautiful anyways,
and I could just send it over her way if the stitches bothered me all that much...
Penny has had a tough time lately.
A really tough time.
The kind of tough times you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy tough time.

Now, I know a quilt doesn't really make anything better,
but I like to think it can make things a little more bearable,
for starters, it says somebody cares about you. A lot.
And hello - it's a quilt...

So, about a week before Easter, I decided I was making her a quilt.

why, hello, little grasshopper

I had pinned this quilt recently, and knew right off it would be perfect for Penny.
I keep Kona white on hand
and had several leftover solids from both TJ's quilt and Gramma's
so all I had to do was purchase about 6 more to round out the colors a bit.
I wanted mine bigger, so I went with 6" starter squares instead of 5" charms,
which, before shrinkage, made a 66 x 77 inch quilt.

Penny paints rocks.
She does everything from simple words to elaborate flowers spilling all over the place,
and I wanted that to be reflected in the back.
I tried to recall different words that she'd used on her rocks and used those,
and then I added 'friendship' to the mix.

Of course, my favorite 'rock' is the joy rock.

At 1 1/2 hours just for that rock, I was kinda glad I hadn't thought to add embellishments to my rocks until the last one...

Why you shouldn't make a label as part of your quilt.
I didn't quite finish in spring...

I knew I also wanted one big word on the back,
but I wasn't really coming up with anything, so I told Tyler is was his job.
I wanted it to be an affirming word, but not a 'preachy' one.
(like love - it could either be 'you are loved' or 'you need to love'...
(Not that I would put love on a friend's quilt. That could be weird....)
Peace was what he landed on after mulling it over and praying about it for a few days.

Of course - we all know about the problems I had with that...

I really liked the way the quilt I copied my inspiration quilt was quilted, with the pebbling in different colored threads,
but when I started making a list of threads I'd need, I quickly realized that'd be a little cost-prohibitive.
Even if I didn't order my preferred thread...
So I settled on a variegated thread that went with everything.

I don't really much like variegated thread.

So after I ripped out my error, (quilting with the quilt folded under itself - gah!) the quilt sat...

Now, I was dealing with major knee pain that made it difficult to sew, 
but that wasn't my only issue....
Tyler (who really didn't like my pebbling with variegated thread, 
and had told me that now that the quilt was no longer perfect (thanks to my quilting...) Penny would be more likely to use it) 
asked me if the reason I was dragging my feet on it was because of those horrible pebbles.
(He didn't say that exactly ;-) but he really didn't like that quilting!)
And I realized that 
that was what my problem was,
so I spent 9 more hours ripping out all of my quilting.
The only reason it only took me 9 hours was because I'm really not a good pebbler,
and where I should have had 3 or so lines of stitching right on top of each other, I had 3 or 4 lines right next to each other.

I determined that my only option, if I wanted to quilt with thread that matched each of the 38 different colored solids,
was hand-quilting.
So I went through my perle cottons and matched them up,
then got scraps of all the colors I still needed to match 
and spent an hour and about 12 bucks in Hobby Lobby buying embroidery floss.
Using thread heaven made it almost as nice to sew with as the perle.
When I first started, I averaged about 10 minutes per chevron-half
 to hand quilt (including needle threading and knotting) but by the time I finished, I was down to 7.
There are 84 half chevrons, so I estimate I spent about 11 hours on the hand-quilting.
(which kinda surprises me - I thought it would add up to more...)

I went with Remix again for the binding and several times while hand-sewing it onto the back
I was just so tickled with the perfection of it. 
It just matched so well!

Even with all the problems I encountered,
I loved making this quilt.
I loved using a ton of sizing and having crisp even mostly-matching-up-perfectly seams.
I loved pressing the seams open and finding the tiny little half square triangles.
I was so pleased with the floral print for the back - it's from Hancocks, but it is so soft and is just perfect for Penny, I think.
My hand-quilting is improving tremendously, to where the back actually looks pretty decent
I was quite thrilled with my first go at applique - until I washed it.
And had to fix it.
And embrace the fray.
But even in that, there is beauty ~ and the quilt may speak to Penny even more...

This one is actually a little tough to let go of.

I hope that she loves it as much as I think she will.
And I hope this quilt will bring at least a  bit of comfort and cheer to my friend 
for many years to come.

linking up with the amazing Amanda Jean's Finish it up Friday


  1. I love this! I just finished a chevron quilt as a gift for my best friends Birthday, but actually I think I like yours more :D The colours are great.

  2. I really like you quilt. The backing is absolutely great too.
    Gunilla in Sweden

  3. I'm sure Penny will love the quilt - it's not only stunning in design but a work of 'heart'.

  4. Simply fantastic! Your quilting was an excellent choice and adds a lot of texture to it. I am very proud :-)

  5. I love everything about this quilt! I am also very sure it made her feel very loved ;0) Great work!

  6. WOW !!

    she will definitely love it!

    love you,

  7. gorgeous sister!! Just like you! shes gonna love it!! xoxo

  8. Stunning. Absolutely stunning. The embroidery. The bindings. The colors. You got some mighty talent going on there girl!!

  9. Such a labor of love. Thank you for sharing your quilt for Penny. I hope when she wraps up in it she can feel the love.. Tears... to have a friend like you is a treasure for sure.

  10. Gorgeous! I love all the colors and the rainbow binding.

  11. A quilt made especially for someone is a beautiful gift. No doubt Penny loved it and still does. Good on you for persevering to create a finish you are satisfied with, one filled with love.

  12. Hope your friend is doing lots better! How sweet of you!!!!


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