Sunday, May 02, 2010

Elliott's Birthday Quilt

In honor of Elliott's first birthday I held a little contest over on our family blog. Part of this was to help some of my family members get a little more comfortable leaving comments on a blog, but it was also a great excuse for a new project...this time a quilt!

Birthday Quilt - top

Last year I visited the Long Beach Quilt Show where I scored four Moda Blossom charm packs for $3 a piece. I was even more fortunate to have an extra piece of a nearly solid brown print in one of the packs. As a result, I was able to use this extra square as the center of a radiating pattern that repeated the other fabric prints outward in a very deliberate patchwork layout.

Birthday Quilt - top

Finished dimensions: ~46 x 46

I didn't use a pattern for this quilt, but just started from the center and laid out the prints in what I was hoping to be an appealing manner. As is usually the case, B was able to help me tweak my 'good' layout into something really nice. (I was originally going to have all 5 of the dark brown prints as an anchor in the middle...like a big plus sign. B showed me how by alternating the color themes of the prints and pulling those brown pieces farther out it didn't look so heavy. And trust me this looks SO much better!)

Birthday Quilt - back

The back is pieced with Kona cotton.
(Excuse the askew photo - it's really hard to take full quilt pics by yourself!)

The back of the quilt ended up being a very happy accident. My original plan was to have a strip of the leftover charm squares running down the side and perpendicular to three solid panels of different colors and widths making up the rest of the back. (Un)fortunately, I cut my brown fabric the wrong way when I was cutting my binding fabric and no longer had a piece large enough to span the entire back. I was just going to buy more (which killed me!!), but then I thought I would lay out the pieces of the other two colors to see how much space was really left unaccounted for. Turns out? Not much. By making a 'T" with the leftover charm squares and using some of the brown that I cut incorrectly as sashing, I came up with my design.

Birthday Quilt

(Un)fortunately, what this mistake also presented was a new challenge in quilting the front and back. I've only previously quilted straight on my machine. However, if I quilted in the ditch or even ran parallel lines down the squares on the front, I was going to have issues with my quilting lines matching up to the lines on the pieced back. Now under some circumstances, this wouldn't be a problem. But with the high contract colors of my quilt and the fact that I was using dark brown thread to quilt, those quilting lines were going to look terrible on the back. And it did...especially since I didn't have my back and front perfectly straight when I basted them together...which really would have been impossible under the circumstances (and maybe always? I'm not sure since I'm still a beginning quilter).

Birthday Quilt - back close up

So what's a novice quilter to do? Learn something new! I watched and read a ton online about free motion quilting and finally used Oh, Fransson's free motion tutorial as a guide. Guys, this tutorial was so great! (If you like quilting and don't already know about Oh, Fransson!, you really need to go check her out. So inspiring!) Free motion was the perfect solution to my problem. I was able to mask the slight offset between my front and back pieces and I love the dimension the quilting lines added to the quilt. And it was so...much...fun!! This will definitely not be my last free motion project.

All in all this was actually a very cost effective project as well. The front cost $12 for the charm packs and the backing and binding totalled about $11.50. I had the perfect piece of leftover batting in my stash and used one and a half spools of 100% cotton thread at about $3.50 each. I love being able to make something so economically without cutting corners. I get a internal thrill whenever it works out so well.

And finally, this is my aunt who won the quilt and the contest honoree.

Birthday Quilt - Recipient

I had so much fun working on this project and I loved having a 'soft' deadline. I seem to work best on deadlines...and if I get to set them, its even better :)

6 comments:

Ruinwen said...

What a gorgeous quilt! :)

mle said...

Wow, you did a great job! it is so beautiful and I can't believe you got such a deal on that gorgeous fabric! Congrats!

Nonnahs said...

Okay. I absolutely LOVE this quilt! I love all the colors and fabrics, and your quilting is so beautiful! Excellent work!!

amandacathleen said...

love love love your finished quilt!

Octopus Knits said...

The quilt is beautiful! I love hearing about the thought processes and plans (and the changes of plan) that led up to the finished product. Your aunt must be thrilled :)

Melissa said...

Very lovely! I love how the back turned out. I am totally hooked on the Oh Franson! blog lately. So inspiring!