Welcome to this week's landing spot for TGIFF!
It was a clever idea that Laura and M-R had to develop a weekly link-up where the hosting responsibilities are divvied up to lighten the load. And this week it's my turn! If you want to explore further, here is its mother page: TGIFF.
(Today's link-up is below my own finish report.)
This finish absolutely thrills me! Let me present "Run, Kitty, Run!":
The quilting on it represents a huge move forward for me with my Free-Motion skills, and the overall effect came out EXACTLY as I had pictured and hoped. Not so often for that to actually happen!
I wanted a nice marriage of classic with meaningful whimsy, and that's what came through. You see, this quilt is all about my friend, Christi, back in Florida. I was so impressed with her gargantuan accomplishment of losing something like 180 pounds through sheer determination. She did it ALL by changing her diet and donning the running shoes every single day for a year. Well, she changed herself completely in that year (she's less than half the woman she used to be!), but she's done running or walking (when injuries or sickness demanded a slow-down) every day without fail ever since then. I think it's around 2.5 years now. An amazing feat in my book. She was NOT an exercise gal before whatever launched her into her crusade entered the picture. And she did all that weight loss without any surgery. A M A Z I N G ! ! !
It was phenomenal, and her daily reports on Facebook to us were so compelling, that her example led me to finally get off my duff, grit my teeth, and start power walking daily. (I DETEST running/related effort!!) Christi's example gave me the impetus to do what I could do - truly pathetic in the beginning, when I could barely wheeze out 15 minutes on the treadmill at 2.0 mph. My cardio system was in astonishingly bad shape. I kept at it, bumping up the speed and the time a wee tiny bit every day, until now I normally put in 50 minutes a day, in running/power-walking intervals to net myself just under 4 miles in that time. Several months ago it was determined I have Lupus, which explains a lot of how badly off I was and why it took so long to get into decent shape. And what a blessing for me that Christi made her journey public and prodded me when she did to work on my cardio health!
The best thing about Christi's example is that even though she ran or walked significantly every day without missing a single one, she was mighty encouraging for anyone who did any amount of effort. Put in a half hour every day all week, you'd get an enthusiastic "YOU ROCK!" Only did 10 minutes strolling on the 'mill? You'd get a "Go, Lynette! Every Step Counts!!" How can you not join in with that kind of cheering? And every single time I fell off the train and skipped several days or a week, her positive encouragement got me stepping right back on before I backslid too far.
I will always be immensely grateful for what Christi did for me. The only way I could communicate to her just how much she has impacted my life was to pour myself into a quilt just for her. So I used her favorite color combo of blue and white, pulled in whimsy spots of Hello, Kitty fabric (Christi is nuts for all things Hello, Kitty or Marilyn Monroe), and confused her mightily, I think, when I messaged her that I need a print from her favorite running shoes.
I love that I was able to quilt those in with just a modicum of simplification of the treads. I did need to downsize them just a bit to fit aesthetically in the white bands.
This is my first quilt where I successfully rendered feathers. I'm very happy with them - particularly with how the center worked out. I only chalked in the spine lines for all of them.
I wasn't sure what to do around the shoeprints, but was super happy with the effect of what I finally came up with after doodling on my acrylic sheet over the quilt.
Quilting pebbles in with a tabletop machine when you have a minky back is a huge workout in itself! And the thread tends to break, so you really have to go Zen on it and get in your patient zone. But I'm so glad I did them!
And that luscious minky back!! Just look at how rich the quilting looks in it!
With all the fancy quilting I did and hours of tail-tying and tucking (rayon thread on all those prints with 28 different start/stop points each), I couldn't cut corners when it came time to bind this baby. I got it in my head that I really wanted to match the outer edges of the bands, so I alternated the white and blue as I sewed binding on around the quilt. It took much, much longer to hand stitch it down to the back between messing with the minky and slip-stitching all the new color edges closed. But I'm super duper happy with the end result. :D
This quilt's turn-out has made my heart happier than any other quilt I've done myself, and it's soooooo very hard to let go of it. But I can't wait for Christi to get it. She certainly deserves a fantastic warm fuzzy with all the difficulties life has thrown them lately and the enduring positive attitude she's put forward through it all. THANK YOU, CHRISTI!