TGIFF Link-Up is Here - A Finished Set for Lily & Blake
Welcome to this week's landing spot for TGIFF!
Quite a while ago, Laura and M-R developed this really clever 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 the program's mother page: TGIFF.
(Today's link-up is below my own finish report.)
Are you ready to share some finishes? I had such fun with these two quilts. First of all, who doesn't love getting to make a baby quilt for a friend or family member? The occasion is joyous to start with, and the project is small and often quick to finish.
Second, it's been such a treat post-thesis to have hours at a time to devote to quilting work!!
So I give to you: "Lily & Blake"
40 x 55" and 35 x 41"
Marissa and I love our hairdressers (leaving out their names to protect the children's anonymity). They are a wife and husband team and Hair Artista does Marissa's hair while Hair Artiste does mine. The salon is very much a family affair, with their son Blake sometimes around in the evenings, and their fluffy little dog hanging out at the shop with them. It's great. And Hair Artista has done so much to boost Marissa's self esteem. So we really love them!
When they found they were expecting a baby after years of wanting her, of course the first thing in my mind was: "I'm making you a baby quilt!" I'd thought I'd find out Hair Artista's favorite colors or the colors in Lily's room once we all knew it's a girl.
But then I watched Blake - their son is halfway through elementary school - one day while he was expressing a little bit of uncertainty about what a classmate said about babies breaking all his things. And I knew Blake would have to get a quilt, too.
I wanted two quilts that were individual, yet somehow connected, so that Blake would have his own thing with just a touch of affinity with his new baby sister.
So I probably cracked Hair Artiste up one day, calling the salon to ask him what Blake's favorite color is. "What it is right now? . . . Hey, Honey, what's Blake's favorite color right now? . . . it's Lynette. . . Yeah, I think so too - (back to me) Red at the moment. But sometimes Blue."
OK, so the design process started with "Red". And it all had to come from stash - completely! And it needed to be quick to execute. For the baby quilt, I remembered seeing one ages ago that had a strip of solid between fields of simple patchwork, with an animal holding balloons and the name embroidered. That called to me for Lily's design. I decided to go with a big brother and a little sister for the animal portion. And elephants seemed like the perfect choice - we could make the smaller one hold onto the tail of the bigger one, like the little sister depending on her big brother. And a large elephant would work perfectly as the feature point for a boy's personal quilt.
So I started by choosing a red fabric to use for the big brother elephant on her quilt.
I'd thought I had a really neat modern pink-based print with good red bits in it that would work for the little sister elephant, but it was nowhere to be found. That was disappointing, but I did find this yellow print that I thought might work.
Then I had a really difficult time pulling fabrics for the patchwork fields. I ended up "settling" for yellows, peaches, and oranges. But when I got it all together I really loved the blend! And I haven't succeeded at all in getting a shot that shows the true colors. Everything on Lily's quilt shows up a little harsher here than in real life.
The red on the brother elephant is a little starker than I'd like it to be, but a couple of strategies toned the contrast down a bit. When I satin-stitched it, I used a thread that was a lighter, more salmony red than the print. And instead of a yellow on her elephant, I used a peachy orange. Turned out great.
For her name, I found an embroidery thread in our collection that was a slightly darker salmony red than the thread I'd used for the applique. I just wrote her name on the fabric with a water-soluble pen and stem-stitched along that.
The backing is a salmon tone-on-tone that I found lurking in my yardage, but it needed a yellow strip to make it go the distance. I coordinated its placement with the front's white feature strip. Mostly. My math got off somehow, and instead of being vertically centered, the top edges are matched. At least that worked out evenly all the way across. :)
Quilting on the patchwork fields was a simple walking foot endeavor, and I aimed point-to-point across the squares - no need for any marking. I just used a pretty lemon yellow thread I had on hand. 40-weight. I didn't want Aurifil 50-wt for this job - I wanted the heftier strength for lots of laundering, dragging, and tugging to happen with this quilt!
On the feature strip, I used white thread with my floating free-motion foot. I outlined the elephants close to the edges, and bubble-outlined the name. Then I put in some simple vertical lines with leaves thrown on here and there. It's actually an upside-down rendition of a raindrop fmq motif I'd seen on Pinterest.
I ended up going back and putting in ear and hip lines on the elephants because I didn't like that much area left unquilted. I just used the closest colors of thread I had to the prints.
For the binding, I used what was left of some of the fat quarters in a patchy bias approach. Love it! I'd intended to do it completely by machine like I always do on baby quilts meant for real use, but I forgot to attach it to the back instead of the front. (So I can pull it to the front and make a super neat close top-stitching. I can *never* make machine-finished bindings look perfect stitching in the ditch from the back.)
So this one actually got hand finished. It should hold up just fine as I use a smaller stitch than most folks do on their bindings, but Hair Artista will know to just give me a holler if it ever needs to be retacked anywhere.
For Blake's quilt, I decided on a simple color-blocking strategy to incorporate both favorite colors with his name appliqued on the bottom and a giant mosaic elephant in the middle.
First I appliqued the name - used fusible web that I'd cut the centers away from, then satin stitched the letters with a variated gray cotton thread I had.
Then it was time for the main star of his show. This quilt was truly a group effort.I'd asked Marissa to make all the elephant templates for me, so she produced those. Devon and her fiance, Kyle, got the large one traced onto Blake's empty quilt once I'd put the three sections together, and then Devon spent a few hours playing in my scrap bins and Red bin of yardage making the mosaic. She did it differently from what I'd pictured in my mind, but her result is so much better!
LOVE THIS ELEPHANT!!
(It's almost two feet tall.)
It took me about 2 hours to go back and apply fusible webbing to her pieces, carefully replacing them as I went so it'd all stay in the right place. (I did that by laying 4 fabric pieces at a time from different parts face-up onto a piece of fusible that was lying glue-side up. I cut the fusible close to the edge of the fabric, then covered it with waxed paper so I could iron it together without glue getting onto my iron. Worked like a charm. Then I could cut the fabric pieces along their edges, peel the backing paper off, and lay them back down in position.)
Devon made sure that she used pieces of the print I made the big brother elephant from. (It's on the head, the side, etc.) In the interest of time, I decided on this one to do the applique stitching and quilting in one step together.
Everything was fused very securely on (and yes, this is stiffer than I usually like my applique - the downside of my approach to putting the mosaic together. Normally I trace a pattern piece on the fusible stuff and cut out the middle portion before applying it to the fabric, so this is fused 100% through the elephant instead of just on fabric edges.)
So after testing on a scrap layering of fabrics and my batting, I applique/quilted with the walking foot, using a medium-width and medium-spaced zig-zag stitch. I used smoky polyester (not nylon!) invisible thread on top, except for an ivory thread for the tusk,
and a red Aurifil 50-wt in the bobbin. Again, worked like a charm. :D
Well, the red hides so well on the backing that you can't see the stitches. But you can tell there are zero tension issues - with the fusible in there, no stabilizer was necessary for flat, even-tensioned stitches without fabric puckering.
Next, I quilted the blue areas while the walking foot was on. First I used a soap sliver to draw a bubble line around the letters so I could gage my background quilting, and lines for the fill. For that fill, I just used a wide serpentine stitch that my machine has and put horizontal lines about 1.75" apart, stopping at the bubble outline.
Then I changed to my floating free motion foot and did the bubble, ran a close edging on the letters, and threw a smiley face into the empty space at the "L". Navy thread, top and bobbin, just plain old Coats' and Clark.
With the floating free-motion foot still on, I grabbed a light gray thread to finish the background around the elephant - had to go to my 50-wt Aurifils for that one, but this would be a denser quilting motif, so I wasn't as concerned about the lighter weight. I thought it might be fun to do a random triangular meander fill, and it sure did work out nicely around the mosiac and contrasting peacefully with the simple wavy lines of the other sections.
I love how the quilting shows a shadow elephant on the backing!
For the binding I used more of the print that the big brother on Lily's quilt was cut from. And this time I remembered to attach it to the back so that I could machine finish it on the front. Happiness. ;D
I'm so happy with how his quilt turned out. A red mosaic elephant, and blue color blocks - got both of his favorites covered in one design! Perfect red backing, and his name emblazoned big and bold - - - just the thing to celebrate a big brother who may have a little difficulty adjusting to suddenly not being an only child and a new baby who keeps getting lots of presents. I'll make sure Hair Artista knows I completely want him to drag this thing all over the place instead of her trying to keep anything perfect.
Love this finished set so much! And all from stash - every fabric, batting, and thread in-house = extremely satisfying. :D Everything's washed and ready for use! ~*~*~*~*~ So, now it's YOUR turn! Do you have a finish to show off this week?