The Lilly Quilt

Well it seems like it’s just been forever since I blogged. But even though my fingers weren’t moving across the keyboard, I have been busy! This summer was consumed with the Lilly quilt project.

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I decided to make a quilt for my bestie for Christmas and the trek to make that happen started in June (yes, June!) when I found the inspiration fabric.

Well, it had to be Lilly Pulitzer fabric because she loves her some Lilly. It wasn’t easy to acquire enough with pattern variety and the right colors, but after much searching I was able to piece together what I was looking for from the We Love Lilly shop on Etsy. So an unmentionable amount later, I had my fabric and now I needed my design.

Lilly fabric is bold and large print and I wanted a quilt design that would feature the fabric. I was fortunate to stumble upon Spanish Tiles by Heather Mulder Peterson from her Living Large 2 book which features all large print fabric quilting patterns. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the one! I loved her story of how she was inspired by the Alhambra – I love that place and think this pattern really echoes the beauty of the palace. So I set to work cutting my fabric. Lilly fabrics

I paired the fabric with a bright green accent – the lady who cut my fabric said, “Wow, that’s a bold choice” when I laid it on the cutting board and asked for 3 1/2 yards. In my head I was thinking, you should see what it’s getting paired with!

The assembly was pretty straightforward, though I did feel as if I was working on little bits forever and not seeing any progress. Steps one and two in the pattern call for assembly of strip units which will be cut into sections and used to assemble the sashing. One thing I needed here was a recommendation on how to cut the strip units since there are two different section sizes. If you cut the strip unit in all one section size, you end up with quiet a bit of waste. With a bit of math I came up with my cutting pattern to maximize the strip units. Of course this left me with two spare strip units. If you are making this quilt in the smaller size, I don’t think you would have this much waste, but the scale is different when you make the queen size version.

The second area where I stumbled was the assembly of these little sections. I thought I was following the directions for the triangle orientation, but found if I turned it I got better finished results.

Triangle direction matters!Once all the sashing pieces were finally assembled, the quilt started to come together quickly. The Lilly Quilt

And then I couldn’t leave well enough alone on the backing, I just had to add a giant monogram. It was a lot of pink polka dots without the monogram in place. And this quilt really called out for a monogram.Lilly Quilt Monogram

After a furious night of hand appliquéing (and thanks to a lot of hand sewing help from my Mom!) I was able to get the back wrapped up in time to drop it with the quilter on the first weekend in October.

Angela McCorkle of Quilts with a Heart provided the expert quilting help. She did an amazing job of outlining features in the fabrics to really highlight the ‘Lilly’ of the quilt. I highly recommend working with Angela!

Lilly Quilt QuiltingAll that was left was add on the green binding and get it shipped off to Virginia. I was so down to the wire that I didn’t even get to take a picture of the quilt with the binding before it went out the door! But it arrived just in time on Christmas eve and was happily opened on Christmas day by a very excited recipient.

–Martta

 

 

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The Baby A Quilt

Well what to do with all that left over pink fabric?  Hilary to the rescue!  Thank goodness she had beautiful baby Audrey, who has already been the victim of a homemade gift (see the buttoned-up baby wrap).  But I couldn’t let the baby wrap be her only present (seeing as I think that’s a one time use kind of gift), so a quilt is perfect!

The quilt inspiration board on Pinterest is just overflowing with ideas.  But there was one that I pinned early on and I’ve been itching to make!  It’s the Color Block Quilt from Bijou Lovely Designs.  Just perfect for all the leftover pink I’ve got – I only needed to pick up the sashing, and two other colors to come up with my version:

Color Block QuiltAnd I super duper love it.  It covers all my obsessions of modern clean design, ombre, and adorable baby size (Ahem, Race for the Cure quilt, this is sooooooo much easier than king size!).  But as much as I love it, after I made the top, I just couldn’t leave it at this…..Color Block Quilt

No, I felt the need to come up with something spectacular for the back as well.  I mean, who says you can’t piece the back too?  And I still had tons of pink!  So I set to work on a monogrammed design that has me flashing back to the pixelated graphics of the video games of my youth: Monogrammed Pieced Quilt Backing

The back actually took me longer to make than the front!  That’s a lot of little squares to sew together.  But it’s the perfect pair to the fabulous front and now there can be no stealing of this quilt!  It’s all Audrey’s! Color Block Quilt with Pieced backing

–Martta

 

Race for the Cure Quilt

Regular followers of the blog might have noticed that we didn’t have too many posts over the Summer and into the Fall.  And why was that you ask?  Well, Heather’s computer died which made photo editing difficult….and I was covered up by a massive project.

What project you ask?  Well, in the category of “how do I get myself into these things?” I was making a gianormous quilt for the Race for the Cure.  Race for the Cure Quilt Top

You see, last year in the photo booth we were a bit off in our fabric measurements.  So this year I was thinking ahead and in our August planning meeting I said I was going to sew a backdrop that would be the right size.  I even had an idea that I could use past race t-shirts in it.  That’s when Deb said “oh wouldn’t it be great if you could make it into a quilt that we could then auction off at the Perfectly Pink Party in May?”

Don’t let those doe eyes fool you folks, that Deb Davis Groves will go after what she wants.

I instantly regretted mentioning that I was taking a class on quilting and working on my first quilt as I gave her a somewhat blank stare and someone, apparently me, uttered “Uh, yeah, sure”.

WHAT.  Who goes from making a BABY sized quilt to a KING sized quilt?  Apparently this girl.  Because Deb and Kheira produced the t-shirts I needed with AMAZING speed.  Well, shoot, now I really gotta do this.

So I did what every sane person does and took the t-shirts home, folded them up and then ignored them for WEEKS.

I got to the point of no return and I HAD to do something.  See, what was dragging me down was my design of the quilt.  Race for the Cure Original Quilt Plan

When it got down to brass tacks, I just didn’t like it, it was too traditional for me.  So I finally sat my butt down and designed something new.  (Woah, pretty close to how it turned out right?!)Race for the Cure Quilt Inspiration

I even went to the trouble to check out the proportion of the quilt by putting in fake people from last year’s photo booth – I’ll spare you that photo.  So I ran right out and picked up 17 yards of fabric.  Yes.  17 yards.  Those long pink stripes with no seams do not come without a lot of fabric.  Thank goodness for JoAnn’s coupons!!!  Prewashing and 17 yards of ironing ensued.

I got the top assembled pretty quickly with a bit of help from The BunkHouse on how to prep the t-shirts.  That took a whole weekend.  (And it was a good thing I had 16 t-shirts and only needed 15 because I immediately cut the first one waaaay wrong!) Race for the Cure Quilt in Process

After that, the top went together quickly and it looked wonderful!  I admired it on the wall, instagrammed it, sent pictures of it to my friends and, in general, loved it.

But all good times have to come to an end, and I need to get to the actual quilting part of this quilt!  So I took it down off the wall and started to tackle pinning and quilting of this mighty beast.

We wrestled.  We fought.  There was smoothing and re-smoothing.  It took up the entire floor of my living room – The quilt is 117″ by 97″!! (or about 10 feet by 8 feet).  It took my entire collection of 300 quilting pins and I felt like that wasn’t even enough!  So I just started quilting.  (Not to mention, but squee!  Look at that adorable ribbon fabric I found for the backing – I bought the entire 8 yard bolt to make it!)Race for the Cure Quilt BorderI will say it was quite and effort – I was just doing a few basic lines across the quilt with some wavy ones through the pink bands.  It took up the entire dining room table and then some.  I had systems of chairs set up to “catch” the quilt as it came off the machine – I didn’t want it to drop to the floor and pull the stitches I was working on with the weight of the fabric.

Then, how to quilt the t-shirts themselves.  I really wanted to quilt around each ribbon, but I don’t own a long arm quilting machine and cramming a king size quilt through my tiny machine was a serious effort.  I broke three needles on the first two ribbons.  Then we came to an understanding, this quilt and I.  With a complicated set up of rolling, turning, stitching, twirling, re-rolling, stitching some more, I was able to quilt each of the ribbons – just BARELY in time for the race.

In fact, I hadn’t even finished quilting all the ribbons when I just said “Dang it!  I’ve got to get this binding on!” It was the weekend before the race and I needed that on the quilt in order for it to be ready for Race day – I’m a slow hand sewer so stitching over 35 feet of binding was intimidating with only seven days to go.  I took that darn quilt with me everywhere!  It went to packet pick up, it went to work during lunch hours, it spent a long time with me in front of the TV just sewing.  I’m still not really sure how it got done.  But, boy, it did, thereby allowing me to finish the last ribbon the NIGHT before the race.

When I arrived at the Survivor’s tent on Sunday at 4:30am, the first order of business was to take off the quilting pins…I still think we missed a few.  It was still dark so you can understand how we missed ’em!

But what a smashing success!  Thanks to the photobooth props from last year and a wonderful augmentation from Jill D we were slammed for the entire event.  I LOVED these pictures of survivors and their families having a blast – it made all the pain worthwhile.  Race for the Cure Quilt

And now, I get to pass the quilt on.  Komen Austin is hosting the Perfectly Pink Party on May 4th and this quilt will be one of the items auctioned!  Check out events details at:  komenaustin.org/perfectlypinkparty and go place your bid!!  It all goes to a good cause!

–Martta

Quilting Class

We’ve had to interrupt this regularly scheduled blog for obsessive watching of the Olympics.  I’m giving myself approximately 2 years to resurface from the fog…

But it’s not just been all TV watching, I have been working on projects!  So let’s catch up.  I just completed the three part course at the Stitch Lab on beginning quilting.  They recently updated the course to add in a whole class on how to make the binding which was really helpful.  So here is my first quilt!

*Please note I did not make this baby (I haven’t been away from the blog that long!) – she’s a loaner from a friend.

Class one was all about cutting and piecing the top – it’s a nice straightforward design to get us started.Class two was all about the quilting (you’ll have to excuse the quality of these – they are all from the cell phone!).  So we pinned out the quilt sandwich of backing, batting and completed top together.  With this design there are so many options for quilting!  I was inspired by the wavy design of the gray fabric so I free hand sketched a wavy design on the top and got to work.
I started in the middle and worked my way out. I first quilted waves in every 5 inches or so and then went back to fill in with more wavy rows.  This allowed me to keep the top from puckering and creating “mountains”.  Here’s the completed work! Class three was all about the binding.  We cut out strips on the diagonal then pieced them together and ironed them.  The pressing method is to fold in half the long way, then fold raw edges into the pressed center – essentially quartering the length of the binding.

We then trimmed up the batting on the quilt and pinned and sewed the binding down to the top of the quilt.  Haley, the instructor, taught us a nice technique for to create neat corners.  Sew up to the corner, ending approximately the binding width from the edge.  Turn the binding up so that the fabric faces up and the outside edge runs in line with the edge of the quilt.Then turn the fabric face down and align it with the edge of the quilt and sew.Now that the binding is in place, we flipped the quilt over to finish off the back by hand. I’m a ridiculously slow hand sewer so it took me a bit – good thing it’s baby sized!  Here is the finished product: And just one more touch before it left the house – a personal inscription on the back.  Just in case you didn’t already know it was hand made! 

–Martta