Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bobby's Quilt is FINISHED!

Bobby's Quilt, 73" x 96"
Bobby's quilt is FINISHED!  I delivered it to church this morning just in time for it to be blessed by the pastors at their staff meeting.  The Quillow Ceremony will take place this coming Sunday during worship service at Christ Lutheran Church.  All in all, my husband estimates that I spent over 80 hours working on this project, from the initial design to the last stitch. It feels REALLY GOOD that it's finally finished and off my shoulders!

All of the straight line quilting on this quilt was done with a walking foot on my domestic sewing machine.  First I stabilized the quilt by quilting in the ditch with YLI Wonder Invisible monofilament in the needle and Aurifil 50/2 cotton in the bobbin.  That's the discouraging stage where you spend hours putting in quilting stitches that hold everything together and prevent shifting of the layers, and then you look at the quilt and it looks like you haven't started quilting it at all.  Invisible thread in the ditch really IS invisible!

Ditch Stitch Quilting with Walking Foot
Then I switched to a 40 weight YLI variegated machine quilting thread in the needle, Mettler 50/3 cotton in the bobbin, and started quilting the lines of stitching that you actually see.  I used my Bernina #50 three-soled walking foot for both of these quilting stages, with the special ditch sole that rides along the seam allowance for the first part, and then I switched to the open toe sole and attached a guide bar to the foot so I could space the vertical and horizontal lines through the center blocks that form the cross at 1 1/2" from the seam lines, and then another row 1 1/2" in from each of those lines of quilting stitches.  I channel quilted the wide top and bottom borders the same way, echoing the inside corners to make it a little more interesting.  I used my long metal workroom ruler to mark the diagonal lines in all four corners of the quilt. 

I still hate marking quilts; I had to use three different marking utensils (the white marker on the black fabric, the yellow Sewline chalk pencil on the dark gray fabric and the red fabrics, and the purple disappearing pen on the white, gray, and orange fabrics).  The chalk smudges and rubs off while I'm handling the quilt during marking, the white pen starts to run out after I've marked two lines, and the purple pen is a race against time because even though I only marked one quadrant of the quilt at a time and raced right back to the machine to start stitching, the purple pen -- as usual -- had already begun disappearing by the time I was trying to stitch on those lines.  It must be the humidity or something.  I was so tempted to draw the lines with Frixxion pens instead but I didn't have any scraps of the fabrics to test them on and I would have to just lay down and die if the pen marks didn't come out of the quilt after all this work.  So I continued with my purple pen and just swore at it a lot.  That made me feel better.

I had to do more diagonal quilting lines than what I had originally planned.  The batting, Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 cotton/poly, is supposed to be quilted at least 3 1/2" apart.  I didn't want the batting to clump up and cause problems when the quilt is washed, and my stitching lines were farther apart than 3 1/2" at the outside corners.  I went back and added an additional line of quilting stitched between each of the first lines. 

This is where my quilting lines are still too far apart
Of course I had other ideas of decorative quilting that I would have loved to add between the diagonal rays and between the straight stitching lines of the cross, but I'm tried to be REALISTIC and SENSIBLE and KEEP IT SIMPLE since I was racing against time to finish this on time.  Even "simple quilting" took a tremendous amount of time to complete.  Anyway, I really think that the straight lines complement the piecing design and help to give the effect that light is radiating from the center of the cross.

At this point, I'd like to take a moment to credit Amy Friend, whose Ombre Vibes quilt I adapted for this quilt. 

Ombre Vibes by Amy Friend, 54" x 54", photo courtesy Amy Friend

Amy's Ombre Vibes quilt was designed to use the 6 1/2" Square and 6 1/2" Half Square Triangle dies for the Sizzix Die Cutting System, and her pattern is available for free on the Sizzix web site here.  Karen had asked for a quilt design that was Christian themed without being "too obvious" -- she didn't want it to look like a church banner thrown across his bed.  When I saw Amy's quilt on Pinterest, I knew it would be perfect for this project!  I enlarged the blocks to finish at 7 1/2" and added wide borders at the top and bottom of the quilt so it would fit an XL Twin dorm bed.  Karent wanted to incorporate a shield with a cross in the center of the quilt, and she requested red and gray Ohio State colors since that's where Bobby will be going to college in the fall.  The backing fabric is a gray and white camouflage print, a nod to his ROTC service.

Bobby's Quilt, 73" x 96"
Well, now that it's finished, I hope they like it!  I'm linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts, Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story, Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF at Devoted Quilter, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


Amy Friend said...

That quilt will be an amazing gift! I love the many layers of thought and intentional choices that went into the fabric selection and quilting. It's just wonderful!

Unknown said...

Wow, what a lucky family. I hope they truly understand and appreciate how much time, effort, and sacrifice went into this beautiful quilt. Great job!!!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

looks great!! I am afraid of the Frixon pen what with how they say you iron the marks off but if the quilt gets cold the lines come back - who wants to deal with that. I have tried the purple disappear and yes humidity works against you - I don't use it because of the humidity in the south.

PaulaB quilts said...

You really achieved the effect of light radiating from the center, congratulations on this labor of love which has a manly vibe also. I just found your post on Sew Cute Tuesday and like what you do.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

And it's gorgeous! What a touching story about its making. I hoe you are proud of it! Straight stitching with the walking foot can be very painful in my opinion. But the way you did it, especially with the radiating lines, really does add to the quilt. Bravo!

Unknown said...

Beautiful quilt--if only people knew how much REALLY goes into one! Thanks for the step by step of your quilting.

Unknown said...

Your binding does not look wretched, but for the future, on machine bindings, sew in the wrong side first. When you turn to the right side, No missed places. Sew with a pretty stitch on right side.

Rebecca Grace said...

Thanks, Karen, that makes sense. I just automatically stitched it to the front first, the way I always do when I slip stitch the binding to the back by hand. Did you notice that I chose not to include any close ups of the binding from the back side?! Ah well, I did my best that day. Next time I will know how to do it better.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Great quilt. Yes, they all take many hours to make/create.

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

Your quilt is lovely, and I really enjoyed reading about the process of making it, and why you made your decisions. For me, the story is as important as the quilt. Thank you for sharing.

Christine Slaughter said...

Wow, what a spectacular quilt! It's really amazing when you add up all of the time that goes into making a quilt, even the things most people don't think about including the thought of incorporating a them, how to design it, and how to quilt it! You've done beautiful work here, this quilt is absolutely stunning!

Colleen said...

beautiful radiant quilt, it certainly ticks all the request boxes and then some ! It looks like more than 80 hours to me.

Snowcatcher said...

Wow, the colors are really spectacular, so sunny and bright. I love your adaptation of Amy's quilt, which also is awesome. You've really given it some spunk!

Leanne Parsons said...

Wow! This is really beautiful. It is amazing how many hours go into even 'simple' quilting, but I'd say it was worth it! I hope Bobby likes his quilt :) Thanks for linking to TGIFF!