I'm glad I found out in time that we can show two quilts in the Festival, because this one really deserves to be in a show as well.
|A stunned Christi :)|
This is "Run, Kitty, Run!", which I made especially for my friend back in Florida who has done so much to make my life healthier.
You see, when our two oldest kids were graduating from high school 4 years ago, Christi decided enough was enough and she was finished being morbidly obese. I suspect she had a serious medical scare, and I know the doctor told her she'd never lose enough weight without surgery.
Boy, did she show them!! Sheer determination, running every single day (usually more than once), and a complete overhaul of her diet empowered her to drop so much weight in one year she was literally half the woman that she started out as. And soooo much healthier.
She used her Facebook to keep herself going. Every. Single. Day. She never missed a day of at least something. If she was sick, or if she'd had to work 20 hours, she still did something, be it only 15 minutes. And seeing her report that day in and day out FINALLY goaded/encouraged/coaxed me into climbing onto her train at the end of that year.
I'm not as steady as she is - I'll do great for several days and then slip back, but you know what? Christi is always so encouraging and positive about it all, telling everyone constantly "Every Step Counts!", that you don't feel ashamed - you just start doing it again.
And here's what Christi did for me: The first day, we bought a treadmill and got it set up. I could *barely* wheeze out 20 minutes at 2.0 mph. Now, if you're a walker/runner at all, you can understand just how pathetically out of shape that was!! I honestly felt like I was going to have a heart attack. (As it turns out, I have Lupus, so it's tricky keeping my heart in shape, and judging by how pitiful I started out, I firmly believe I was on the straight line to a massive coronary sometime soon.)
It took me more than a year of slowly increasing the duration and the speed to get to where I could maintain 45 minutes of speed walking at 4.8 mph (which is a great clip).
These days I've got it to where I regularly pump out between 3.5 and 5 miles 4 times a week of running/speedwalk intervals and do a recovery powerwalk in between. I just have 20 more pounds I'd like to finish dropping off, and I will be ecstatic.
In any case, I chose every element of this quilt deliberately when I made it as a special "Thank you!" for Christi. Her favorite colors are blue and white. She's ape crazy over anything Hello Kitty or Marilyn Monroe, and I found the Hello Kitty fabric first. All the other top fabrics come from my stash.
I had a hard time deciding on exactly how to execute the idea I had for the quilting. I wanted her running footprints on it, and I wanted to incorporate her now-famous line of encouragement. There was going to me no doubt in anyone's mind who knew her that this was Christi's very own quilt! I also wanted to pull the whimsy together with a traditional feel, though. I decided to get super -SUPER- brave and try to put feathers in on the blue bands. I was thrilled that they actually came out well! My first decent feathers!! ;D I'm pretty sure I used a dark blue Aurifil 50 wt on both the top and the bottom. I marked the spines only with a white chalk pen.
Now for the white bands. Without too much trouble I got Christi to scan in and email the treads of her favorite running shoes. As I'd hoped, she just wondered if it was something like I was trying to match her treads with my own shoe shopping. I ended up having to size the print down a wee bit to fit in the bands aesthetically. And I wanted them to show, not get lost in the cream, so I used a darker sandy variegated rayon thread that I had around that would show up without being garish.
For all of this quilting, I used Golden Threads paper. Traced the reduced print of the treads onto one sheet, stapled that on a stack of sheets, and sewed through it all with an unloaded needle. Voila! 22 stich-through stencils. For the words, I made a huge font on my computer and literally traced it right off the screen.
You just pin the paper onto your sandwich, quilt through it, and pull the paper off. Love it for certain things!
And oh, man! Now I'm remembering the TWENTY-SIX pairs of tails I needed to tie and tuck on each one of those prints because I really wanted to keep the treads clean without trail lines from section to section. So much work, but also entirely worth the effect here. I used the same thread to stitch in the words of her encouragement and a heart on each of the outer corners.
To fill in the rest of the white bands, I used the same creamy So Fine thread I'd been using in the bobbin with the rayon thread. This was all done free-hand with no marking.
This was a heavy throw quilt with the minky backing, Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting, and dense quilting. But it came out feeling nice! It wasn't too stiff at all. (And Christi HATES the cold, which is why she just had to have that backing.) It finished up at 59 x 59 after all the quilting.
And because it wasn't crazy enough already to tie and tuck all those individual tread components, I went nuts with the binding and changed the color out for each band point around the perimeter. . . But, man, I love it!!
Thanks for letting me share this second quilt with you. There are a lot of real beauties linked up at the Festival, so make sure you check it out!