Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Quilting for Love

          I have found a new way to keep my machine whirring. Along with clothes, I have now sewn 5 quilts in the past two years. Each one has certainly been a labor of love. This last one especially. A labor of love, to honor the love between two people that I love, and whose love I stem from.
        My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary at the end of June, and I had been pondering how best to honor them for a long time. I considered trying to plan a surprise party, but surprising my mom with an event would be pretty near impossible to accomplish. This woman plans vacations and celebrations about a year and a half ahead of time. She is more organized than I can really even fathom and there was no way I could compete with that. So I decided to stick to what I am good at, and began brainstorming quilt patterns instead of invitation lists.
        A universal theme with our family is the beach, so I was thinking about shells and sealife, but nothing was feeling right. We have always spent a lot of family time together at the cape, and they recently bought a house there, so I started to focus on that. Something for the cape house.  We tend to be there for July 4, or perhaps the next weekend, so things are usually quite patriotic. Also, my parents were almost married on the bicentennial of the nation's birthday (but my grandmother made them switch it to the weekend before). So I settled on stars and stripes and red, white and blue. I found a flag print with hearts and stars on the red tag shelf at JoAnn's (and had a 50% off red tag coupon!) and snatched that up for the backing.
        I decided to have this be the only overtly flag printed fabric, and for the rest of my fabric choices, I used a lot of blue flowers (I couldn't find hydrangeas, but a lot of beautiful things that reminded me of them), some white with blue, some red, some that looked like fireworks and pieced them all together into a large star shape in the center, with several smaller stars and some stripes around the outside. I made some quilt binding out of some plain red fabric. 
Final product. Love it so much, especially that center star. So proud!

         This was the first time I did a pieced quilt like this and I loved it. I scoured pinterest for quilt stars, and used this one as my center star inspiration: 
                                        which you can read more about here
                  I at first tried to use the pythagorean theorem to figure out the length of the sides on all the triangles I drew, scaled up, but there were too many unknowns and too many triangles that didn't easily fit into a right triangle. So I made a life sized version of one quadrant; went all origami on it then cut it up. Then, I traced each piece onto some cardboard with 1/4" seam allowance added, and cut those out for my pattern pieces. It was quite a lot of work before even cutting any fabric, but I guess that is what quilting is all about. It's ridiculously time consuming every step of the way. Which some may not understand, but when you are thinking about how awesome it is going to turn out, and how much the receiver will appreciate it (especially if it is your parents; no one loves your work more than them, right?) and you are a bit of a math / art geek then it is actually a very pleasant way to spend your time. 
              Here's some close ups of the other stars

 And that center star again, because I love it:

And here is some fun quilting I did on a plainer navy fabric (free motion of course; I have decided it is the only way to go with quilting):

And some detail of some of the free motion quilting on one section of pretty blue floral:

        You can kind of see how I just did some zigzagging on the lighter blue floral next to this one; I hated it. I almost ripped it out, but I didn't have that kind of time on my hands. Tracing the print on the fabric and emphasizing the beautiful fabric is my favorite way to quilt right now. This was the first large (non-baby) quilt that I have done in free motion and it was infinitely easier to do than to quilt a large blanket without the free motion. It is however, still a little bit ridiculous and tricky considering I don't have a long arm machine. I am going to try to stick to baby blankets for the most part. And not even because I don't like doing it, but it just takes so. much. time. My want to sew pile of clothing projects grew so large while I worked on this that I probably won't finish it before I start on Halloween costumes. But I guess when you love to sew, the list always grows faster than your machine can go. Toying with ideas is half the fun. 
        Anyways, they loved it. It is queen sized, but I figured they would use it as a throw on the couch or something. They wanted to hang it up on the wall, which I was against, because I think they should be used. When I asked where she would have the space to hang a queen sized quilt, she brightened. Realizing it was a queen, she brought it inside and laid it out on her bed. And kept it there. 
Melts my heart. Almost as much as this:
Happy Summer!
Happy belated fourth of July!
Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Jenn---this quilt is amaaaaaaaazing. My mom is going to love it-- when I try to direct her to your blog (always a technological challenge with my parents!)

    1. Hahaha! Thank you, Am! Your mom was my first quilting hero. It was fun to check out her work all over John and Liz's place at the lake.