Wednesday, January 24, 2018

First Quilt Finish of 2018: "Math Is Beautiful"

It's time for the Big Reveal, y'all!  This is my first quilt finish of 2018, my first pantograph quilt, and the first real quilt that I've quilted on my APQS Millennium longarm quilting machine.  Behold, "Math Is Beautiful":

"Math Is Beautiful," 51 x 51, Designed by Lars
This quilt has been in the works since June of 2015, when I was going through my sons' notebooks to save unused filler paper for the following school year and discovered this design in Lars's 8th grade math notebook:

Lars's Design Inspiration
And I was like, "Dude, you designed a QUILT!"  I had recently purchased EQ7 quilting design software, so I used that program to play around with different fabric possibilities for a throw sized quilt that was going to be "quick and easy."  Then I fell madly in love with a discontinued, out of stock Kaffe Fassett floral print that I used in my virtual design and had to hunt it down online from eBay or etsy or something like that.  

Early Version of Math Quilt Design
When I found the black and white math printed fabric, I knew it was perfect for this quilt that derived from my son's daydreaming and doodling during class, and I decided to make the quilt as a gift for his teacher, Jen Thomas.  It's even the right kind of math -- Algebra!

What  Lars SHOULD Have Been Writing In His Notebook!
This isn't just any teacher, either -- Ms, Thomas taught Lars Math I in 7th grade when he was at the Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy charter school, and then she moved to Community House Middle School the same year we did, so she taught him Math II again in 8th grade.  Then last year she had my younger son, Anders, for Math II as an 8th grader.  Both of my kids are, um, HIGHER MAINTENANCE than your average student, and this teacher has been an amazing advocate for both of them.  What's more, once he got to high school and his freshman Math III class seemed easy, Lars realized that Ms. Thomas taught him well beyond the Math II curriculum so that the next year's math class was a breeze, and my son told me that he wanted to go back and thank Ms. Thomas.  So I'm going to try to bring him with me when I deliver this quilt.

The Vital Statistics:

This quilt finished at approximately 51" x 51" after washing.  It was quilted using Glide trilobal polyester thread in Cool Grey7 top and bottom, using the Popcorn LG pantograph pattern from Willow Leaf Studio.  The batting is black Quilter's Dream Poly.

My Quilting Looks Even Better After Washing
Happily, the slight shrinkage and crinkling that happened when I washed the quilt was just enough to smooth out and hide the wobblies of my beginner pantograph quilting, just as I'd hoped it would.  I like the way this pantograph design mimics the swirlies on the blue and fuschia fabric at the center of the quilt.

I kind of fell out of love with this quilt and lost interest in it for a long time while it was hanging on my design wall.  I felt like it was too busy AND too boring, but it was the perfect candidate for my first attempt at pantograph quilting.  Now that's it's finished, it's grown on me and I really like the finished quilt.  It's the black and white striped border that does it for me, tying in with the black and white math fabric and balancing those bold and colorful Kaffe Fassett print fabrics. It gives me kind of a MacKenzie-Childs vibe now.  

I Love My Stripey Binding!
The binding fabric was pure serendipity.  I didn't buy it specifically for this quilt, but I had a half yard of it in my stash and as soon as I saw it, I knew it would be perfect.  

More Stripey Binding Goodness!
The back of this quilt looks really good, too, which is of huge importance to me.  No matter how carefully I pin basted my projects before quilting them on my domestic Berninas, I ALWAYS ended up with a couple of pleats or puckers on the back side of my quilts.  Not only was it faster and more comfortable for me to quilt this standing up with a longarm machine, but those backing problems have been completely eliminated.  And my tension was consistent throughout the quilting process, giving me stitches that look beautiful on both sides of the quilt from start to finish.  I'm really pleased with my APQS Millenium machine.  I can't wait to get another quilt top loaded on my frame!

Look, Ma!  No Pleats, Tucks or Puckers!
I am really looking forward to delivering this quilt to the teacher, along with that original doodle from Lars's math notebook!  Here's one last look before I tuck the quilt into the gift bag:

Math Is Beautiful, 51 x 51
And now, what's next for this happy quilter?  

  1. The "Draw Me A Story" backing fabric needs to be pieced, pressed, starched, and set aside
  2. I need to cut out some reverse applique patches for my "Frankenwhiggish Rose" hand stitching project
  3. I'll start piecing the "Tabby Mountain" quilt
  4. Yes, Colleen -- it's time for me to make another pineapple log cabin block, too!  :-)

Today I'm linking up with:


Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

GREAT job!!! She is going to love it! And now on to LA quilt #2!

Pony Driver said...

Rebecca Grace, That is a wonderful and thoughtful gift. Your skill and your kindness really show with this quilt. Your son is a very special young man, too.

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

so glad to hear you are satisfied with it and that it washed up and dried beautifully - I bet that teacher is going to be so surprised and pleased to get it - to know her teaching was and is appreciated well give her a happy day even if she had a bad one

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

What a sweet story, and how wonderful that you made a quilt for the math teacher. I am sure the teacher will be really honored and happy to receive this beautiful quilt.

Ramona said...

This is such a fun quilt. I’m sure your sons teacher will be touched beyond words. And it will be extra special since your son designed it. Great finish!

Lynette said...

Wow! This is a super awesome first-real-quilt finish! I love so very much that you'll have the doodle to take in with it. Isn't it straight up amazing sometimes how profound a difference something as little as the binding can achieve? So glad your first real quilt is a good experience with Millie. Congratulations :D

Lynette said...

P.S. I didn't know about MacKenzie-Childs before, and now I have a problem. ha!!

Sandra Walker said...

Wonderful first quilt of 2018 and first panto and first quilt on your longarm! Love the meaning behind this quilt. Thanks for linking up with TGIFF!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Yay for the finish!! and what a great finish it is!! LOVE that math fabric!!!

Carole~Quilter on the hill said...

Fabulous quilt and such a wonderful story behind it. I'm sure the teacher will be absolutely thrilled to receive it.

June D said...

Great finish. Fun back story!

The Joyful Quilter said...

You did an AWESOME job on your first panto!! I didn't do nearly as well with that one. LOVE that Lars designed the quilt, but love it MORE that you actually made the quilt for his teacher!!! I'm sure that you will enjoy your Millie as much as I do mine. SEW much easier to prepare and quilt, now!

Kate said...

A very fun math quilt! Those really good high school math teachers are worth their weight in quilts. Having a great math teacher then pays off when they get to college.

Unknown said...

This is absolutely amazing! I am jealous that you actually got a quilt done this early in the year.
And the design, and the fabrics, and the meaning, all precious. We have a daughter teaching high school english
and Shakespeare because of a terrific teacher that really inspired her. Thanks for doing this, we don't thank
our teachers enough!