Friday, March 22, 2013

Finished! -- The Comic Strip Quilt

Here it is!! My first ever bed sized quilt, and I made a full size (measures approx. 88" x 98").

"...and Read All Over"
88" x 98"
Original Design, by Heather/The Reader at Quilting on a Whim
hand pieced/machine pieced
machine quilted on domestic machine

This quilt started as a way to showcase a comic strip my oldest son began writing when he was about 10 yrs old. I saw an idea on Pinterest to do a photo collage of children's artwork, rather than keep every.single.individual. piece.  I thought that was brilliant, and thought, "oooh! How 'bout a quilt?!?!"

My boys were not incredibly excited by the idea, until I mentioned, "...or we could use your Mt. Neverest comics...." at which point the author of same perked up and said, "That might be cool...." in his best nonchalant but really interested voice (moms of teenagers, especially teen sons, you will know exactly the voice I mean.....). 

shown on his bed
I got to work planning immediately. I knew I wanted black, white & red -- the comic strip/newspaper connection was just too strong, I couldn't resist. Thus the actual name of the quilt: "...and Read All Over."  Sorry, it had to be done.

I browsed ideas for inspiration and came across a quilt (Which is Which, by Mamacjt on flickr) that I knew was the inspiration.  I didn't want to flat out copy her design, and I had already started buying up random fat quarters of black & white prints -- some black with white, some white with black -- for the quilt, including some yardage of the  most interesting prints, so I thought about blocks to use. (side note: once I had a firm idea, I wrote to Mamacjt explaining my project, and did she mind if I used her idea for inspiration, for a personal use only quilt for my son; she generously said it was no problem at all)

Luckily for me, I talked with my quilting mentor who suggested oversized blocks to speed production, and so we landed on rail fence blocks that would finish at 12 inches. This was for the black section and the white section. For the middle section, I got on my handy EQ7 searched the block library for frame blocks. My son chose a twisted frame, I tweaked the measurements so that the blocks would also finish at 12" when done, and printed the templates/cutting instructions and got to work.

I also used the EQ7 to figure out the borders; I knew I wanted a morse code message so I looked that up, adapted it some (sorry, no 7 spaces between words....) and then painstakingly colored the border in EQ7 so that I had a "map" of sorts to follow when piecing the borders. This was a life saver, or at least huge time saver!, when cutting and piecing the borders -- EQ7 told me how many of each color I needed to cut, and I could follow the printout to be sure I got placement just right. Instead of centering the message in the EQ version, I just started with the message and then set aside the correct number of gray pieces to add to each end -- since I knew the total number of strips I needed, I could easily get to the end of the message and then just divide out the extras. Easy, thanks to the software!

side view, showing the borders
I primarily hand pieced the quilt, as I started this before I had a sewing machine, and then quilted it on my home machine, a Janome Magnolia. I did free motion quilting around the comic strips, to frame them and outline some of the mountains, and then did straight line quilting over the rest. I used a decorative stitch in the black and white sections, although it really doesn't show up unless you are nose-to-nose with the quilt.

close up of the quilting
the other side of the quilting

It's not perfect, but it's done, and my son loves it, which is the only thing that matters. And, honestly, I am quite proud of myself, imperfections and all. I had so much fun designing and making this quilt, and it is an absolute thrill to see it finished. Wow!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: FMQ is Done!!!

this was a spontaneous & rather serendipitous addition
not bad for a first effort at Free Motion Quilting!
and the boy is delighted, which is the only part that matters :)

a pair from last time and this time

one more close-up...not perfect, but that's okay!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Let's Revisit the Diary Quilt....

I've not made any new progress on the Comic Strip Quilt, as I've been neck-deep in helping my oldest son study for his final exams, and juggling the other boys while the oldest takes said exams, and just in general busy with life.  Such is the way it goes, as I'm sure most of you can understand. A home school mom, even one now delegating the school part to an on-line entity, is often too busy to sit down and focus, intently, on her hobbies.

Rather than let the blog stagnate while I do that, though, I thought I'd return to posting about my Diary Quilt. This is one of the very first projects I started when I decided to quilt, and it's deeply personal and very meaningful to me. Since I'm also a blogger, of course I'm sharing all those very personal stories with you.

I've created a Blog Page dedicated to the Diary Quilt, and I hope you'll take time to visit, see the links to the story behind each block, learn all about me, and see the quilt. Well, the pieces of the quilt, because it is still just a stack of blocks, waiting to be sashed and put together. After the Comic Strip Quilt. Really.

Diary Quilt Blog Page

If you do visit the page, you'll see I still have some stories to tell; today I will tell the story of the Trip Around the World block. Yes, taking them out of order, but that's because I've not yet emailed the honorees of the Ohio Star with their story, so I can't post it on the blog. My blog, my quilt, my rules. ;)

Trip Around the World block
center is 6" square, and hand pieced
setting triangles were added by machine
black fabric will be the sashing, eventually
When I was choosing blocks for the quilt, I saw the Trip Around the World block and new it had to go in. Not for the looks, but the name. As a Texan living in S. America, and having journeyed all around the United States as a child (thanks to a rather nomadic father), and with dreams of more travel in my future......yes, I've been on a trip around the world.

Some places I've only seen in books so far, either in my own leisure reading (which is plentiful) or via the wealth of home school books I've read, and re-read, to my boys over the years. We used a curriculum for our history studies that did a wonderful job of teaching children, and their parents, about the entire world, not just the Western Hemisphere. In our school reading we've visited Ireland, ancient cultures, modern day India, several places in Africa, Asia, Europe.....the world. I hope one day we can visit some of these places for real, see them, taste their foods, hear the sounds, meet the people.

Here in Brazil, we've visited much of the country, from the beaches of Sao Paulo, to the North East Coast, to the Amazon Rain Forest. Travel. Experience. Journeying along, together, from one place to the next.

Praia Setiba

Ilha Grande

Meeting of the Waters, the Amazon

my family & I, in Rio de Janeiro

a beach in the Nordeste, I forget which one
I love the memories this block brings, of trips with my family to so many different places. More than that, I love the hope it brings, of trips we'll take in the future.  No, my traveling days are not over yet. Not by a long shot.