"A Laurel Burch Christmas"
Can you see the snow falling in that photo? Perfect. :)
And I've got Devon's fiance trained already for quilt photo-opping! He doesn't mind helping out at all, and has a good time doing so.
I love Laurel Burch fabrics - they're so whimsical and vibrant. This was a kit I bought in the summer of 2011, and pieced the top in December 2012 (the pattern is a free download here). It's been in the flimsy closet since then, poor thing!
This was put together with a fine, very soft all-cotton pin-wale Kaufman corduroy backing and "washable" silk batting. It's a much lower loft than wool or poly give, even lower than 80/20 cotton/poly. It's a nice match with the soft corduroy, though. I pre-soaked it, then did my usual partial-dry in the dryer, air-dry to completion approach to get most of its shrinkage out of the way before using it. I'm not sure how I feel about this batting - it dries up quite lacy, and I'm not convinced I'd like it with thinner backing or more open quilting. The top started at 56 x 63", and after quilting, washing, and blocking it to get my marking chalks out when it was finished, it measures 54.5 x 61.75". (I did not use the dryer at all on this finished quilt because of the silk, and I'd say it didn't shrink much more at all since a fair bit of the dimensions difference would have come from the quilting alone.)
I had fun with the quilting. I do that on my domestic table-top machine (Sapphire 875Q), and I pin baste liberally. With my Lupus, I'm extra susceptible to cancers, so I'm not going expose myself to the carcinogenic chemicals in the spray basters (you get that exposure both when you apply it and all the time that you're quilting).
After stabilizing the quilt with ditch stitching along the borders and around each corner tree and ornament, I attacked the borders first. (I used Aurifil 50 wt threads for all but the metallics, and in the bobbins when I used those.)
Those were so easy - I used the walking foot to quilt the divisions between colors, then the spring-action free-motion foot to outline the characters. I didn't start and stop for each character, but came along the bottom line of the color strip and "stepped into" the field at the back of each character to work that one as I work along the strip. Oh - the itty birds in the narrow red strip were not individually outlined.
The word lines in the top and bottom borders got set apart with a metallic gold thread. It's much sparklier than it appears through the camera's eye:
"Magic & Merriment" - so perfectly describes Laurel Burch's work, don't you think?
The corner trees were next, where I used a specialty stitch to make metallic gold garlands, and then I tried my first McTavishing for those backgrounds so that the trees would puff out nicely:
You can see that better from the back. Obviously I can use some practice with that motif, but I'm not unhappy with the turnout on this quilt.
Then I moved on to the ornaments, where I quilted each type differently from the others, using a silver hologram thread which turned out super sparkly (but the camera can't see that very well at all).
Black kitties got vertical spheroid lines in a snowflake stitch:
The purple love-bird ornaments got vertical spheroid lines in lavender thread, with the hologram thread outlining the bird families:
Green deer ornaments got dark green quilting along the swooshy lines in the print, and then hologram outlining on each deer:
And the stags got black outlinings on the "star" of the show, with a hologram fancy-stitch ornament focal outline and straight-stitch horizontal sphere lines. There was one blue stag and a terrific White Stag:
I thought the gold hangers on the ornaments needed a wee touch of something, so I put in a fancy stitch using the same metallic gold thread that I had used when I outlined the word strips in the top and bottom borders.
Last, I tackled the main background, where I put in a free-motion doodle with holly leaves, berries, and ribbon curls:
The pattern called for jumbo rick-rack for the ornament strings, but I'd wanted something more sophisticated for this particular quilt. So I used some of that braided velvet gimping. LOVE it! It was absolutely perfect for this.
But you have to be meticulous while working, because one touch of the hot quilter's iron, and you have this little melted scar forever more. Not going to make me cry, though! It will practically never be found by any of us over the years as we use this.
For the binding, I used the faux-piping technic with a gold accent line inside the same red as the central background:
I love how this quilt turned out! The corduroy makes a really nice weight for winter evenings, and was a request of my husband's back when I pieced it. We didn't get to use it this year, since it wasn't blocked and dried until after Christmas day, and photo-opped after New Year's. But I'm so excited to lovingly stack it with the other two finished Christmas quilts to await full usage for the next holiday season!
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