Tuesday, April 29, 2014

poetry in fabric

Just in time for his 46th birthday,
I finished My Love's quilt!!

For starters, I pulled all of my California Dreamin' fabrics that weren't pink.
I looked at every piece of fabric I have, and added any that coordinated to my stack.
Then I cut a little piece of 

and carried it with me everywhere I went for a few months 
and added fabric to my stack every time I found a piece that went with it.
My logic was - if it goes with Jenean Morrison's "Santa Barbara", it goes with the quilt.
When my fabric stack was tall enough, I had Tyler inspect it to make sure I didn't put anything too girly in it. 

I started cutting into my fabrics June 26th, just a few days after I finished the lightning fast Purple Posies.
It took me just one day shy of 10 months to sew my final stitch.
I did spend some time on T's quilt and other small projects during that time, 
oh, and Claire's quilt (which is basted and awaiting her mom to work some quilting magic on it :-) 
but the bulk of my sewing time has gone to this.

I totally lost track a few months ago, and can't even begin to guess how many hours I have in this quilt.
I just know it's a lot.
Tyler says it's completely appropriate that I would spend the longest on his quilt
and that it be my masterpiece ;-)

The star block is called a lone starburst
I think a lot of people just make one 'lone' block, and make a pillow out of it.
Which I think is a really good idea ;-)
It turns out that I'm not a big fan of foundation paper piecing.
I soldiered on, because it was all supposed to be so perfect.

This quilt is so not perfect.
But it is perfectly lovely anyways, I think.

I sent out an SOS back in January, because when I started putting the stars and the border together on my makeshift design wall,
I thought it was awful.
When Tyler came home and saw it, though, he really liked it.
In fact, the border was his favorite part of the quilt!
I about hit him.
I mean - the stars are the quilt.
I could have already made him 2 whole patchwork quilts in the time I'd spent on those stars alone!
(to be fair - this was his favorite quilt so far - so I shouldn't have even been surprised.)

I still wasn't crazy about the patchwork border - I thought the blocks were too big,
but since Tyler liked it, and it was, after all, for him,
I began sewing everything together, starting with the center stars.

When Tyler saw the squares that were created from the star points,
he said it was poetry in fabric.

And he finally fell in love with his quilt.
(he was getting a little nervous that he might not like it)
(I was a little nervous he might not like it, too ;-)

I was so glad that I'd decided to add the patchwork centers to the squares after sewing them together,
because I am telling you - those blocks did not line up properly, 
and if I'd have added the triangles during the paper piecing stage (like I did with the small diamonds) as I'd originally planned,
 I'd have ruined the quilt!

Tyler doesn't care much for FMQ (free motion quilting) and he likes machine quilting to just kind of blend in.
He likes hand-quilting, though, to be very visible.
So, I machine quilted diagonal lines in the patchwork square border, around the patchwork square centers (once outside, twice inside)
and around each star in 3 spots.
That was a lot of turning, let me tell you!
Then I hand quilted stars in the white and green & yellow borders, in the squares and diamonds and rectangles that the star points created,
and in the centers of all 24 stars.
(Joining hand and machine quilting isn't new for me; I've done it on the peace quilt, Lily's, Connie's, Penny's, and  TJ's.
I have plans to mix the two in my next quilt, too)

It seemed fitting to use the Santa Barbara print as the binding,
so I did :-)
I also pieced in a some solid orange,
which was a good move, 'cause when I showed Tyler I'd sewn the binding on,
he went around the quilt 'til he found it,
and smiled,
"I figured you'd do a little 'pop'."

I was about to toss it in the wash late Friday morning, when my friend asked if I'd made a label for it.
I hadn't, but I knew I really should, this being my masterpiece and all ;-)
so I whipped one up with scraps.

It was pretty much the only surprise
when he unwrapped the quilt for his birthday.

the stats:
"Poetry in Fabric"
Made June 26 2013 - April 25 21014
My own design, using the lone starburst block.
Quilt measures 78x90 after shrinkage.
Fabrics (40ish) are a hodgepodge of designer and not designer fabrics, purchased from several shops, both locally and online.
Thrifted vintage sheet backing, with 3 rows of patchwork squares pieced in.
Pieced and machine quilted with white and pale yellow 50 wt. Aurifil thread.
 Hand quilted with 4 colors of size 8 perle cotton,  and for the star centers, DMC embroidery floss.
Machine attached, hand-sewn-on-the-back binding.
Made with love.

Chicken approved.

I had a super hard time getting decent photos of this quilt,
and I still haven't managed to get a full shot of the front or back yet.
After 4 days of trying, I just decided to pass off my lame attempts, and keep the rest of my hair.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.
Amanda Jean :-)
And even though it is no longer a work in progress, I'm linking up with Lee anyways ~ I figure ya'll won't mind;
so many of you have kindly been cheering me on throughout the past 10 months.... (thank-you!!)


  1. This is beautiful. You should be super proud of how it came out.

  2. oh what a beautiful quilt! And wonderful hand quilting--I'm sure it will be treasured for a long, long time.

  3. Beautiful quilt, and I love the title your man chose. Great finish! PS- I love the borders, too :)

  4. Love it! Its perfect.

  5. Beautiful quilt! Love the quilting! and the chicken (or is it a rooster?), too!

  6. Gorgeous. So much work and so much love has been put into this quilt, and it shows.

  7. It is stunning. Amazingly beautiful and impressive. You're so talented!

  8. This is spectacular. Combining machine quilting with bold hand quilting is genius, and adds so much character to this labor of love. I tried hand quilting "in the ditch" once and it was murderous and felt like a waste of time, since you couldn't see that stitching anyway. I think I'm going to try it your way and combine hand/machine quilting next time I have a quilt top that begs for hand quilting.

    Can I ask how you handle the layering and basting when you quilt this way? I do safety pin basting for machine quilting but long hand basting stitches radiating out from the center for hand quilting. Can you skip the hand basting if you pin first, then anchor the seamlines with invisible machine stitching?

  9. A quilt with a wonderful story and lots of love. It looks amazing - the hand quilting really adds something special. So pleased Tyler likes it also - and the chickens!

  10. simply amazing! I like your theory of how to select fabrics. what a work of heart and love. the handquilting is the perfect final detail!

  11. Another chicken lover! Nice to get acquainted. You have done some excellent photos of that beautiful quilt! No more pulling your hair out :) WIP-ing with you...

  12. This is fantastic!

  13. Oh boy, that is absolutely gorgeous - wonderful work!

  14. This is a beautiful quilt! The story that goes with this quilt is just as wonderful as the quilt! Made with love indeed. Thank you for sharing!

  15. WOW!! It is finished and it is almost too awesome for words! I'm glad those chickens didn't get any closer or it would have been christened with chicken poop. All those wonderful comments the quilters gave you was quite an applause to your beautiful work. they can tell there's a beautiful person behind all that beautiful work!

  16. What a beautiful quilt! Great job, it turned out amazing.

  17. Thank you all so, so much for your kind, encouraging words!! It is fun to share projects with women who can appreciate what went into it :-)

    Rebecca Grace, I sent you an e-mail, but in case you didn't get it (or someone else is wondering) I'll reply here, too:
    Spray basting is the perfect solution :-) but in the unfortunate event that you cannot 505 it - pin baste, then do your machine quilting and remove pins as you go, and your quilt should be sufficiently stabilized and you can then hand-quilt without worrying about pins OR any basting threads. (I used this method a few times before discovering the fabulousness of spray basting, so I can confidently recommend it)

    Mom - quilters are a lovely bunch of people :-) and YOU are a lovely mom!

  18. This is absolutely one amazing labor of love! <3 What a special present. I agree... definitely a master piece.

    Stopping by from Lee's hop http://www.domesticdeficitdisorder.blogspot.com/2014/05/wip-wednesday-may-7th.html

  19. The best kind of quilt: beautiful and full of love :)

  20. Is this the quilt you were referring to that my big star quilt reminded you of? I couldn't get the link to copy on my phone for some reason. Anywho, it's awesome! And if this was 4 years ago, what are you making for his big 5-0?!


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