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!

1 comment:

  1. Great Quilt. I love your creativity and willingness to tackle a project. Beautiful work!