Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting Lost in Seattle: The Quilt

Do you remember last fall my nephew Dallas came to visit for five wonderful, fun filled days?  I put together a little tour guide of Seattle based on his visit.  You can check out the posts here, here, here, and here.  There was meant to be a part five which was going to be about the Space Needle and a ferry ride.  Would you still be interested in hearing about it?  If so I'll put a little post together for you.
Halloween 2010 photo by Dallas' parents
Dallas is the oldest of four siblings, with two brothers and a sister.  All the brothers share a bedroom with a custom built triple bunk.  His younger brothers each have a handmade quilt made by their Grandma, my brother in law's step mom.  For one reason or another Dallas didn't have a quilt of his own.  My mom urged me to make him a quilt when I first started taking quilting classes.  I was a little hesitant about making him one because I didn't want to take over a special thing his Grandma might do for him.  Worrying can be silly sometimes, most times, because in my opinion one can't own too many blankets!

When Dallas came to visit many, many photographs were taken.  I wanted him to have a special token of our time spent together using those photographs.  Scrap booking has never been my thing, my cousin Carrie and my sister Becca have that gene.  Seeing Alicia Paulson's Stitched in Time provided some great inspiration.  Through out the book Alicia created beautiful projects using a technique of transferring photographs to fabric.  An ink jet printer was purchased and the fun began! 

All the photographs from my camera and iPhone, my parents camera, and Dallas' camera were curated into a collection of sixty.  Making sure each wonderful moment was represented from the breakfasts our little B&B has become famous for to the sight seeing adventures.  The photographs were then cropped and edited to make sure they would print out well on the fabric. 

Next came the selection of fabrics for the remaining pieces of the quilt top.  This was achieved in one quick visit to the quilt shop.  My patient and helpful husband carrying around bolts, nodding as I asked one more time if he thought it would be okay to use a flower print in a boy's quilt.  Cutting the fabric went surprisingly fast considering there were 560 total squares to be cut, including the sixty fabric photos that had to be fussy cut.   I did make a happy mistake when cutting the solid blues squares and ended up short on fabric.  Seven orange squares were added to make up for it.  Orange, because it is Dallas' favorite color and seven because he was seven at the time of his visit.

A little Daisy helped in the chain piecing!

The quilt top was completed at my in laws home in Estes Park so I could give Dallas the quilt top for Christmas.  When Dallas opened it I could tell he was so happy.  He curled up in it immediately.  Sadly I had to explain that it wasn't quite finished and he would get back for his birthday in March.  Fortunately he seemed to understand that quilts take lots of time to make.

After the big rush to get the quilt top done for Christmas I took a break from the quilt for a bit.  Thinking his birthday was in a few months and I still had plenty of time to quilt it.  As March approached the anxiety started.  Never had I basted a quilt of this size before.  I won't say how long I thought about basting it before it actually happened but let's just say it was more than a few hours days.  My husband came to the rescue and basted nearly half of the quilt himself.  Both of us spent the evening on our hands and knees on the hard kitchen floor poking our little figures like they were pin cushions. 

A few more days past, edging closer to his birthday deadline.  The actual quilting still to be done.  I decided on a "simple" stitch in the ditch using invisible thread on the top so as not distract from all the photographs.  Never had I used invisible thread but had heard of using it in a machine quilting class.  On the first quilting day, I was a wreck!  The weather was unusually warm and gorgeous outside and there I was bundled in four layers with a mug of hot water sitting by the machine.  My body was literally shivering and felt week.  No I was not sick, it was fear.  That first quilting session was TOUGH.  Patrick sat at the computer desk in the same room as moral support.  He didn't make any comment when I went once again to lay down on the couch for a break.  Fortunately the next quilting sessions were much easier.

Then the binding...  I hemmed and hawed over how I would cut the binding fabric for almost (gasp) a week.  It finally dawned on me how ridiculous I was being while explaining the "binding conundrum" to my dear friend one night after a ladies domino game.  The next morning the binding fabric was cut and stitched onto the quilt. 

I was optimistic however in thinking that hand stitching the binding on the back would only take me an afternoon.  It took almost a week by itself as my little hands could only handle about an hour or two at a time.

And then just like that, my first quilt was done!

Oh wait, don't forget the quilt label!

Dallas Gets Lost in Seattle Quilt Details:

Pattern: Ollalieberry Ice Cream Quilt Twin Size
# of fabric sheets used for photographs: 15
Photos of the quilt by: Patrick

Dallas finally received the quilt last week, over a month late.  His mom tells me that he pulled the quilt out of the box, curled up in it on the couch with a book and said "It's so comfy, and cozy, and beautiful!"

All the hard work, anxiety, and fear were totally worth it. 

Patrick, Daisy and I want one of our own now!

PS.  This means I can scratch #3 of my 30 things list.