Quilt ADD in therapy

My photo
Colorado, United States
Other than my family, the passion of my life is quilting. An eclectic, I love a wide variety of styles and techniques encompassing both machine and hand work. Instagram: lyncc_quilts

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Finish Report: - "Semper Fi - Combass"

This quilt was finished in August, but it never got its own report:




That is still my favorite photo of it! It was taken outside the hospital in Grand Island, Nebraska, when Marissa and Scott and I went to visit his mother. It is 70 x 70 inches. When the quilt finally catches up with its Marine, I hope to get some great shots to add a new favorite photo.


I designed this quilt myself on my EQ6. It needed to fit what I could find in my stash that worked around a Marine Corps yardage and panel that I bought on ebay when my now son-in-law reported to Basic Training in March. He lived with us as a de-facto foster son for six months before that, and I needed a project to occupy my Mama Bear heart during the three months he was there. 


Our Guy, front of second photo from the top on the right.
Love that look of determination.
Basic Training for the U.S. Marine Corps is the single hardest and longest troop training in the world. It is physically and mentally grueling beyond what most people (and their bodies) can endure. And during that time, there is extremely limited communication with your loved one by snail mail. Which is usually greatly delayed. It is not fun on either end.


I even hung it up during construction progress as a comfort factor.
So I needed this project! The quilting was probably only half way finished when he graduated, but he still had to go to the three weeks of Combat Training after that, and now he's at the nine months of his job training school where he has to live in the barracks. 


Kyle, bottom left


So his quilt won't live with him until March or April, when he has his first Fleet assignment and he and Devon have their own housing unit.



(Still loving how beautiful their wedding was in June!)



I had fun with this design.

You definitely have to have RED for a Marine Corps quilt. Black is another good color, as is gold. It's all very distinctive from the other military forces. But they do work a lot with the classic camouflage in both forest and desert color ways. I had a few greens in my stash to work with, so that's what planned on. The star band features two kinds of stars in two different forest-family greens with fussy cuts from the Marines yardage for the centers. 



I needed cool but not-super-dense quilting on those. The side stars (above) were stitched in the ditch, and then the background just got straight lines that vaguely connote all the barbed wire Kyle had to crawl through and drag dead weight under during training. The corner stars (below) got a little tighter quilting. They have SID, curved echos inside the arms, and medium meandering in the background to add a little more nuance of camouflage fabric to the dark leafy print.




Further out, there's the gold bar band with a woven camouflage element. I had two cool fat quarters for the greens here, and piecing it template-style with a gazillion Y-seams let that be just barely enough. It took forever! But I sure am happy with the result. It's nice that the design pieces aren't broken up into 2 or 3 pieces each for faster construction. This band's joining to the quilt-in-progress ended up providing a serendipitous change to my initial design work. I cut the red band between it and the stars the tiniest bit too narrow. I didn't have enough fabric to recut that, so the problem-solve was to add a 1/4 inch strip on either side of the band work. You can see in the photo below that this is perfect! The points undoubtedly look much nicer framed completely in black rather than kissing the red like they would have done. Sometimes mistakes are actually blessings in disguise, so I've learned to take them in stride and embrace the problem-solve necessity as an opportunity for improvement or artistic expression.



Oh! Here's a detail shot of the gold bar that shows almost completely how nicely that gold thread glistens. 

I'd wanted to use a particular decorative stitch on my machine to do the edge work on the bar's quilting. It would have helped create an effect of roundness for it. But the stitch was too complicated for a metallic thread, no matter how carefully and slowly I worked it. So I resorted to the blanket stitch. Still not thrilled with how that looks like it was appliqued on, but. . . oh, well for that. Doesn't take away from the quilt's overall awesomeness!


Back to the main focal point: The center medallion, a fabric printing of the Marine Corps Seal, has trapunto work. The dimension turned out so terrific! I used a layer of quality poly batt for this, and it's cut out from the red area. The black ring has the least quilting, so it puffs the most. The rope ring and the eagle-anchor-globe have much denser quilting than that, so they lie a little lower, but still raised from the main level. I did need something dense in the closest background area, so filled that yellow with a small meander. The denseness counteracted the immediate-surrounding rippling from the trapunto center so that the rest of the quilt lies flat, even before washing and blocking.



I was super happy with the detail quilting here, following those very thin lines. The gold thread is fantastic in that accent, though you can't really see it much here. A year ago there would have been lots of wobbles in my FMQ showing there. But the thin gold line is perfectly edged with gold, and the thin black ring and all the detail work on the rope ring and the central motif run true to the mark. Very exciting moment for me! I did decide NOT to detail quilt the words in the black ring, because that would have broken its dimensionality. Much better this way.



Also, I used the gold thread to quilt his name in the red band above the seal, and "Semper Fi" below it. It glistens beautifully in this field! I needed a quilting filler between those words, so I put in a chevron for him since he graduated with an early promotion to Private First Class.



I had a really difficult time deciding what to do for the quilting in the red bands. I found the perfect free stars and feathers motif, but I had to resize it twice for the bands, and then make templates that I could center and trace. I can't do a motif like this on my domestic machine without marking and keep it evenly spaced/sized with the tiny visual field you have to work in. 



I was amazed at how nicely the corners worked on these bands. I really only needed to draw in a couple extra feathers as the stars took care of themselves, laying down in perfect spacing all on their own. However, it took me a couple painstaking drawing hours to work out nice upper and lower curls for the central band, where the name and motto break the border design apart. Some things definitely do NOT come easily for me!




The backing was made with the Marine Corps yardage. I didn't have enough to match the pictures down the center seam, so I just inserted some of the green from the front. 


This is the label I'm sewing on it today before I take it to get appraised next week:



It's finally all dry now from the washing and blocking! It's appropriate that the only place to lay it out was in the exercise bay! I'm telling you, those Marines have the best hard bodies from all their PT!! 



Thanks for letting me share this special quilt with you. It's one of my top-three favorites, and I'll really hate letting it go!



~*~*~
Linking up at:

This is my very best Q3 Finish Along piece (My goal post link)

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side




11 comments:

kath001 said...

That is absolutely amazing! Fabulous design, piecing, and quilting. Great job!

Cath said...

Wow Lynette! Superb quilt....there are some lovely camo greens in there and your quilting is amazing! I really love that top photo and at first I thought it was a real horse...then I spotted the cat and had to take another close look...such a great way to showcase your quilt.

Lara B. said...

I've loved Kyle's quilt from the first Lynette. It is really great to see the close ups of all the amazing details you added! You should be so proud of your work! This is a wonderful testament of love.

Cath said...

Also found lots of new Linky's.....I am keen on being part of the 2015 Finish-Along for Q4

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

A magnificent finish Lynette! Everything about this quilt is brilliant. Gifting within the family is a win win situation.

Steph said...

I really like the foto on the horse! I love fun quilt pics.
Greetings from Germany!
Steph

Penny Olive said...

Oh my goodness! This quilt is magnificent. Your son and his wife will treasure this forever I am sure. Your design is fantastic! Awesome finish!

Penny Olive said...

Oh my goodness! This quilt is magnificent. Your son and his wife will treasure this forever I am sure. Your design is fantastic! Awesome finish!

Wendy @ Wendysquiltsandmore said...

What a beautiful quilt, with so much meaning too. I'm sure your son will treasure it for ever. Congratulations on your finish.

Adrianne @ On the Windy Side said...

Such a beautiful quilt - the family connection really adds layers of meaning to it. Great work!

Muv said...

Great quilt, Lynette, in proper manly colours!

Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

Love, Muv