Saturday, June 29, 2019

Beware the Ishmaelites: Moda Modern Building Blocks, Resized for Anders (Again)

It has been a busy couple of weeks, filled with a last-minute beach getaway to Kiawah, SC, my husband's trans esophageal echocardiogram (90% good news from that), and then racing off with Lars for New Students & Parents Orientation at Appalachian State University. Somewhere in the midst of all of that our dishwasher died and the kitchen ceiling fan came crashing down from the vaulted ceiling and smashed on the floor within a foot or two of my astonished husband, like the climax of The Phantom of the Opera.  I am just beginning to dig my way out of accumulated mail, laundry, dirty dishes, and other debris.  

But I did remember to measure Anders' Queen platform bed so I could tinker around with resizing his Moda Modern Building Blocks sampler quilt:

Beware the Ishmaelites, Moda Modern Building Blocks Resized to 94 x 104
The Queen mattress measures 60" x 80", but I don't need an extra long drop because of the platform bed style.  I decided I can live with a 10-12" drop on the sides, and more like 16" on the bottom (I like a quilt to really wrap around the bottom of the kids' beds; it helps the quilt to stay ON the bed rather than ending up on the floor in the morning).  Then I factored in a 10% shrinkage rate, because I plan to enjoy myself custom quilting this sampler and I know that the more densely I quilt it, the smaller it will end up.  I was able to keep the center of the quilt the same size (the wonky 70" x 80" size I resized it to a couple years ago, NOT the original size from the FREE Moda pattern), and got the additional width from the borders.  Before quilting, my top should measure 94" x 104", and that should yield a nice size even after I quilt the dickens out of it and run it through the wash.

Original 84 x 96 Moda Modern Quilt Blocks Quilt As Shown at Quilt Market in 2014
This is the original Moda Modern Building Blocks sampler, a free pattern from 2014.  My version uses Kona Solids instead of Moda fabrics because I don't have a swatch card for Moda and I wanted to match the colors of this wallpaper:

Wallpaper in Anders' Bathroom, Colors Matched to New Quilt
This is an old photo from right after the wallpaper was installed, but I STILL love the wallpaper and I think it works well for a teenager.  This vanity area is open to his bedroom, and when we updated the space for him last summer I swapped out the green cabinet knobs for contemporary brushed nickel knobs and I painted the adjacent bedroom walls the same off white color that you see in the wallpaper.  I've matched the exact shades of red, golden yellow, blue, and green to Kona Solid fabrics and incorporated those shades into his quilt, and I've made just this one block so far:

First and Only Block Completed, 30 inches square
I bought all of the fabrics Way Back When, but I'll probably need to purchase additional yardage for the new side borders that I've added.  Anyway, now that I know it's going to fit his bed again, I can get back to making the blocks.  Most of the blocks in this quilt will be either foundation paper pieced or pieced the old fashioned way, with templates, because when I resized the quilt the first time I strayed from "ruler friendly" block measurements.

Oh, and why am I calling this one Beware the Ishmaelites, you may ask?  Years ago, when my boys were MUCH younger, they were in a vacation Bible school play about Joseph -- the Joseph who is the favorite younger son, and his mother makes him an amazing coat of many colors, and his older brothers are jealous so they sell him into slavery to the Ishmaelites and tell their parents that Joseph was mauled by a wild animal.  In the play, my oldest son Lars played the part of Joseph and my younger son Anders was the brother who sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites!  But in real life Anders is the younger brother, and as you can see, his quilt has MANY more colors than his older brother's quilt does...  Also, Anders' old quilt, the one that I made for him when he was three years old and had a frog infatuation, was called Anders' Froggy Quilt of Many Colors:

Anders' Froggy Quilt of Many Colors, 2006
Funny story about this quilt, one of the very first ones I ever made: Originally the whole quilt was supposed to be flying geese, but I struggled so much to get the triangle points just right and spent so much time ripping out stitches and redoing them, that I finally had to just add a giant border of strips in order to get it to a size that would fit the bed.  And I cringe now when I look at this jumble of too many prints and colors, but at the time, little dude was digging those froggy prints and that was all that mattered!

And so, the Moda Modern Building Blocks sampler becomes Beware the Ishmaelites in this version, for my no-longer-little Joseph Anders.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Drumroll, Please: Son the Younger Has Approved His Quillow Design for 2021!

The experience of making Lars's high school graduation quilt from start to finish in only three months was so stressful that it left me physically ill and completely wiped out.  I have never even made a baby quilt in such a short time frame.  Deadline quilting doesn't suit me, so I'm getting a jump start on Son-the-Younger's high school graduation quilt for 2021 -- in hopes that I can actually enjoy making this one!

Anders' Graduation Quilt for 2021, New York Beauty Blocks by Karen K. Stone
Step one was the solicitation of Son-the-Younger's opinions and preferences regarding the style and design of his quilt.  If you had asked me a week ago, I would have predicted that Anders would want something simpler and less conspicuous than his brother's quilt.  I thought maybe I would be making a T-shirt quilt, because Anders has a fabulous collection of T-shirts with snarky science and violin jokes that he has begun to outgrow.  But no, he does not want a T-shirt quilt.  

I started filling a Pinterest board with a wide range of options for his perusal, with some quilts pinned because of the piecing design and others because I liked the color scheme, and many of them would have been fairly straightforward to put together.  But the quilt that caught his eye was not a "quilt-in-a-day" project -- he picked Cinco de Mayo by Karen K. Stone.  

72 x 72 Cinco de Mayo Quilt by Karen Kay Stone (Book is OOP but available here)

Lars's graduation quilt was an original design, and it was cool to do something completely one-of-a-kind for him.  But I have always wanted to play with New York Beauty blocks and Karen K. Stone designed so many interesting variations on this historical block -- I love her quilt.  What's more, these blocks are available as an add-on-purchase for my EQ8 software, so I was able to start with the blocks and layout Karen designed, add two rows to the layout so the quilt would fit an XL Twin college dorm bed, and then start right in playing with color without having to draft those variations myself.

72 x 96 Cinco de Mayo Resized for XL Twin Bed, in Monochrome
Like Lars's quilt, Anders' quilt will be comprised of 48 twelve inch blocks in a 6 x 8 layout for a finished size (before quilting) of 72" x 96".  Karen's original Cinco de Mayo quilt is 72" x 72" so I just needed to add two more rows.  When I asked Anders what colors he wanted, he said something about blue and white.  After playing around with it for awhile, I decided shades of blue with accents of red/orange would be more fun to work with.  Not sure yet whether I'll stick with solids or venture off into tonal solids, batiks and prints, but what has me most excited about this project is that every block in the quilt is unique and I get to play with scraps, fussy cutting of any interesting prints...  That should help keep things interesting.

Coloring is Just a Guide; This Quilt Will be Scrappy

Quillow Sunday 2021 is twenty-three months away.  

If I make three blocks per month, I'll have all 48 finished in 16 months.  If I make 2 1/2 blocks per month, I'll still be done making them all in 20 months, giving me a month to assemble the blocks into a top and another two months for quilting and binding.  That is SO MUCH MORE my speed!!

Because it's not like I don't have anything else to work on...  Does anyone remember THIS quilt?

Neglected WIP Quilt for Anders That No Longer Fits His Bed
Yes, I'm ashamed to admit that I started making this quilt for Anders back when he was twelve, and here he is about to turn 16 and I have finished ONE block.  Ugh!  It's the Moda Modern Building Blocks sampler, except that I resized it, swapped out a few of the blocks, and added the rainbow stripe borders to the top and bottom to make it fit a twin bed with a really deep pillow top mattress, and then I matched my Kona Solid colors to the modern graphic wallpaper in his en suite bathroom.  And since my son is now TOWERING over me at 5'10" or 5'11" or whatever, we got him a Queen bed.  The irony is that the original quilt pattern was sized to fit a Queen bed and all the blocks would have been ruler-friendly measurements if I'd left it alone...  So anyway, there happen to be 48 blocks in that quilt, of which 47 blocks remain to be constructed.  I need to finish the middle school quilt before my kid graduates from high school, too. Ugh -- so many quilts!!  So little time!!

I'm headed to Appalachian State for New Student & Parents Orientation tomorrow, so consider this my jump start on Design Wall Monday, To-Do Tuesday, AND my July OMG (One Monthly Goal).

This week's To Do:

  • Resize Beware the Ishmaelites (Anders' MBB Sampler Quilt) so that it fits a Queen bed again
  • Make the two 6" Farmer's Wife blocks that I've selected as "palate cleansers" between projects
  • Cut out the turquoise clam shells and circles for the 6-months-overdue Modern Baby Clam Shell quilt (Can you imagine how uncomfortable the poor mother would be if her baby was as long overdue as the baby's quilt?!)

And this month's goals:
  • Make the first NY Beauty block for Trece de Agosto (Anders' graduation quilt version of Cinco de Mayo)
  • Repair Lars's Drunken Dragons quilt and get that back on his bed in our house
  • Make THREE more blocks for Beware the Ishmaelites
  • Make another block for Trece de Agosto, Anders' graduation quilt
By the way -- if any one of you owns this Karen K. Stone Quilts book, or your library has a copy, or your friend has one that I could borrow, I would really, REALLY appreciate it.  I can't bring myself to spend over $80 for a paperback book, especially when I already own the patterns from the book, but I would really like to take a look at the instructions to avail myself of any tips, tricks, or special techniques that Karen used in the construction of these very intricate New York Beauty blocks.  Thank you!

I'm linking up with:

·      Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework
·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·      Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag:
·      BOMs Away at Katie Mae Quilts: 
·      Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at
·       To-Do Tuesday at Stitch ALL the Things:
·      One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts:
·      Midweek Makers at

·      WOW WIP on Wednesday at

Monday, June 10, 2019

Lars's Graduation and Quillow (Quilt) Sunday 2019: It's A Wrap!

You guys -- my firstborn baby just graduated from high school!!!  Lars's commencement ceremony was Saturday afternoon and then on Sunday morning we had the Quillow Service at Christ Lutheran Church for all of our high school graduates.  Our church has been doing this every year for the past 20 years, and if you're a quilter living in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, you ought to come check it out next year.  If you're interested in seeing what the Quillow Service is all about, the video is available online here and the Quillow Blessing begins about 45 minutes into the service.

From Left to Right: My Younger Son Anders, My Husband Bernie, My Graduate Lars, Me, and My Mother

First off, what's a quillow?  A quillow is a quilt with a pocket sewn on the back so it can be folded up into a pillow.  My quilt for Lars doesn't have one of these pockets because it would have limited and complicated my quilting options and Lars was never going to fold his up into a pillow anyway -- this quilt is going on the bed in his college dorm room in the Fall.  Most of the other kids have the kind of quilt that folds up into a pillow, those are the directions that were given out by the church, and that's why it's a Quillow Service and not a Quilt Service.  It wasn't a mandatory feature or anything, and I opted to disregard the instructions.

All of the high school seniors process into the sanctuary wearing their caps and gowns during our contemporary worship service.  They are all different colors because the kids from our church come from so many different high schools.  My kiddo and his classmates from Ardrey Kell High School are wearing purple.

Group Photo of the 2019 Graduates

Graduates Stretched Out Across the Sanctuary With Their Families and Their Quilts

At some point during all of this, there's a slideshow on the big screens with each child's baby picture and high school graduation picture, as well as their plans for the Fall.

Then the parents, grandparents and siblings come up and we wrap a QUILT around our graduate, lay our hands on him or her, and give them this blessing:

I come this day before God to bless you and thank Him for your life.  You have given my life a deeper meaning and calling.  Through you, I have experienced God's love, joy and forgiveness.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, my love goes with you, and you will always be a part of my heart.  May this quilt remind you of the warmth of my love, the care of this faith community, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  And on those nights when I cannot wrap you in my arms, wrap yourself in this quilt and know that in God's family you are never alone.

Lars, Me, My Husband Bernie Behind Me, My Mother Beside Me

Then we exchange places and our kids give their parents this blessing:

You have given of your heart and of your home.  You have loved and cared for me, even when it was difficult.  Today I honor and thank you for your courage, patience, wisdom and love.  Wherever I go and whatever I do, I will always be your child, blessed by your love.  I thank God for blessing my life with you.

By now most of the women in the sanctuary are bawling and the men are pretending they have something stuck in their eye.

Then the quilts are folded up and the graduates and their parents go back to their seats for the remainder of the service.  Lars and his best friend, Ashton, also sang a duet during the worship service, which was really nice.  (The photo below was taken during rehearsal PRIOR to worship, when they were hamming it up -- they were much more serious during the worship service.  :-). Can you tell these boys are glad to be done with high school?!)

Lars and His Best Friend Singing a Duet, and Me Cracking Up In the Choir

Out in the Narthex or the Upper Commons or whatever they're calling it these days, tables were set up with a spot for displaying a trifold display board full of photos and memorabilia for each graduate along with their quilt and their Bibles, which were turned in to the church office two weeks ago so that each of our pastors could sign them.  I love this picture of my husband and my son together:

Bernie and Lars

And here's one of Dad, Lars, and "Mother," as Lars likes to call me:

Bernie, Lars and Me

And downstairs in the Lower Commons area they had a reception set up with refreshments.  I missed out on most of that and didn't even get to see anyone else's quilt up close because I was singing at both services and warming up with the choir between services while the reception was going on.  I'm glad that other people were taking so many great photos and sharing them with me!  Have I ever told you guys how much I love our church family at Christ Lutheran?!

My Graduation Quilt for Lars, 68 x 90 "Mission Impossible"

Finished With Only Five Days to Spare!
So now you all finally understand why I had a hard deadline for finishing this graduation quilt!! I would have wanted to send Lars off to college with a Mom-made quilt anyway, but I probably would have put it off, thinking I had PLENTY of time before he reports to campus in August...  Honestly, it's great to have this finished now and not have it hanging over me all summer, or worse -- have it be the high school graduation quilt that didn't get finished until he was through with college!!

And now, a Question...

I shared this quilt on Facebook and Instagram after finishing it, and a number of people have been requesting that I write up a pattern for Mission Impossible.  I've never done that before -- what do you guys think?  Is this just a nice thing people say when they find out you designed a quilt pattern yourself, or do you think anyone would actually want to buy the pattern if I put in the time to write up all of the instructions and put them, along with traditional templates and foundation paper piecing patterns, into a downloadable PDF format?  I will say that this is not a beginner friendly pattern because there are too many different techniques involved (foundation paper piecing, traditional cutting with templates, traditional curved piecing, and invisible machine applique piecing).  I'd probably consider this quilt appropriate for an Intermediate quilter.  I would include a pressing plan for the seam allowances and tips and tricks for getting those bulky seam intersections nice and flat where the four geese arcs converge.  I'd also include a color key for the Kona Solids that I used to get the 3-D effect (I did not use any gradient fabrics, just solids) and I suppose I'd have to include a few other size options and an alternate colorway. So, lots of work involved to do it right, but it WOULD be cool to see other quilters' interpretations of my design.  What do you think?  If any of you have any experience writing, publishing, or selling patterns, please share your feedback in the comments or email me directly.  

I'm linking up with:
·      Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework
What I Made Monday at Pretty Piney Quilts
·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·      Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag:
·      BOMs Away at Katie Mae Quilts: 
·      Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at
·       To-Do Tuesday at Stitch ALL the Things:

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

OMG (One Monthly Goal) for June, 2019: Modern Baby Clam Shells and Longarm Troubleshooting

I'm still riding the high from finishing Mission Impossible, my son's graduation quilt, a few days ago (either that or I'm high on Mucinex Sinus medicine), but it's a new month and that means it's time to set a new OMG (One Monthly Goal).

The next quilt on my agenda is my Modern Baby Clam Shell quilt, which was promised to a baby who was born on December 14th.  The nerve of these babies, sneaking out of the womb before their quilts are finished!  I'm sure her mommy wouldn't have minded entering the Guinness Book of World Records for having a 12-month pregnancy, if it meant getting the baby quilt before delivery day, am I right?!

EQ8 Rendering: My June WIP Focus: Modern Baby Clam Shells, 40" x 40"
So far all I've done with this one is coming up with the design in EQ8 that you see above, purchasing the fabrics for the quilt top, backing, and binding, cutting out the print clam shells, and arranging their layout on my design wall:

Print Clam Shells On My Design Wall
I still need to cut out all of the turquoise before I start piecing, and decide whether I'm going to do traditional curved piecing or use the invisible machine appliqué piecing technique that came in so handy on Mission Impossible.  Then I'm also toying around with different ideas for personalizing the quilt, either with the baby's monogram in the center circle and/or some machine embroidered monarch butterfly appliqués that would have special meaning to the baby's mom and grandmother.  

HOWEVER...  Although that's my project focus and it's definitely something I'm hoping to finish cutting out and at least start piecing this month, that's not my OMG.  

My June OMG: Call APQS Tech Support & Resolve All Issues WIth My Longarm Machine! 
Two years ago, I bought my 2013 APQS Millennium longarm machine secondhand from a dealer who had been using it as a rental machine in her shop.  My husband set it up for me, following the assembly instructions in the APQS manual, and I have been assuming that all of the challenges I've faced with this machine have been part of the learning curve for someone who is brand new to longarm quilting.  However, before I loaded Mission Impossible onto my frame, a friend of mine from my quilting guild who is a professional longarm quilter and has the exact same machine was gracious enough to come to my studio and help me troubleshoot some of those issues.  She thinks -- and I was so RELIEVED to hear this! -- that I might have some pieces missing from the back of my machine that would reduce how much it bounces and vibrates (making it difficult to control for precision custom quilting), that my stitch regulator/motor speed are not working correctly, and that there is something not right with my upper thread tension assembly.  We got the machine working well enough for me to get my son's quilt done on time, but my number one priority in the Studio now that the graduation quit is finished is to connect with the wonderful people at APQS Tech Support and troubleshoot the issues I've been having with tension, machine vibration, motor speed and stitch regulation on this machine.  There are lots of adjustments that tech support can talk you through over the phone (they already helped me to level and adjust the height of my hopping foot and make an adjustment to the needle positioner previously), but the absolute worst case scenario would be to box my machine up in its original shipping box and ship it back to APQS for a "Spa Visit" where factory technicians would go over the machine from top to bottom, replace any worn or defective parts, make any needed adjustments, and then ship it back to me, good as new.  If I end up going that route, I'll want to have them switch my hook assembly from the current L-sized "Smart Bobbin" to the Jumbo M bobbin, which requires retiming the machine.  

My OMG for June: To Work Out All the Technical Kinks with my Longarm Machine So I Can Get Back to Quilting!

I'm linking up with One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Mission Impossible: COMPLETED, With Five Days to Spare!

Ta-DONE: Mission Impossible, 68 x 90
Hello, Lovelies!  Happy Monday and Happy June to all of you!  I am happy to report that I DID complete the quilting on Lars's graduation quilt, Mission Impossible, in time for the church staff meeting last Tuesday!

Off the Frame!  Mission Impossible Quilting Completed, Ready to Trim
Memorial Day was my birthday, and I "celebrated" by spending 7 1/2 hours at the longarm machine in order to finish all of the SID (Stitch in the Ditch) around the flying geese so I could take the quilt off the frame before I went to bed.  

I had considered all sorts of options for jazzing up the flying geese triangles with additional quilting, but ultimately the calendar and looming deadline won out.  With all of the ruler work quilting that I did in the purple background plus just stitching in the ditches of the flying geese, the total quilting time for Mission Impossible clocked in at just over 45 hours -- plus the 8 or 9 hours that I spent marking the background design before loading the quilt on the frame.  Realistically, there just was not time to attempt embellishing the flying geese with additional quilting.

Boring But Time-Consuming Stitch In the Ditch Quilting
I used Superior's Monopoly invisible monofilament thread in Smoke for the SID (with a gray MagnaGlide prewound in the bobbin), and it was a wise choice.  Although the clear monofilament thread stood out and looked super shiny and obvious against my fabrics, the Smoke thread just melted into each fabric as if I'd changed threads to match each and every fabric.  SID is much more challenging on a longarm machine than it is on a domestic machine, in my experience, and I can assure you that I had plenty of wobbles and oopses along the way.  With the monofilament thread, those growing pains or whatever you want to call them really are invisible enough that I did not have to stop and rip out ANY of my SID quilting.  Also, if you look carefully in the photo above, you can see that my stitch regulator is performing erratically, making the 12-15 SPI (stitches per inch) that I've set it to in some directions and then making TINY little stitches when I move the machine in a different direction.  That's an issue I need to trouble-shoot with the awesome folks at APQS Tech Support, but I didn't want to go off on that tangent until I got Lars's quilt finished and off my frame.  That discrepancy in stitch length would have been really obvious if I'd attempted additional decorative quilting in a contrasting thread color.

So I picked the quilt up from church after the Tuesday morning staff meeting concluded and brought it home to work on the label and the binding.

Machine Embroidered Quilt Label for Mission Impossible
The label took me a day and a half; it's not "instantaneous" just because it's machine embroidered.  I designed the label in my Bernina v8 Designer Plus embroidery software on my iMac computer, which lets me lay out the lettering and position the text exactly the way I want it and preview it in an endless variety of fonts...  I went through a lot of options before settling on the two fonts you see in the photo above.  Then I spend time deciding which fabric and thread colors to use for the label, which stabilizers, sew out a sample, and then go back to my software to make adjustments before sewing out the design "for real."  To save myself some of that time and trouble for next time, here are the most common things that usually need to get tweaked after the first sample is stitched:

Rebecca's Best Practices for Machine Embroidered Quilt Labels:

  • Increase the spacing between the letters.  When the fonts are shrunk down to the size of a quilt label, the letters are almost always too close together and difficult to read.
  • Set the fabric type to "Lightweight Woven" in the design settings.  This lets the software automatically adjust pull compensation for my lightweight quilting cotton fabric.
  • At the sewing machine, lower the upper thread tension to 1.5.  Otherwise the bobbin thread gets pulled to the top side with these skinny little satin stitched letters
  • Reduce the embroidery speed at the machine 
  • Use a water-soluble topping, one layer of tearaway in the hoop (I'm currently loving Floriani Stitch 'N' Wash for quilt labels because a lot of what doesn't tear away will soften and dissolve in the wash), and another layer of tearaway floated beneath the hoop
  • Engage the hoop basting feature in my Bernina machine to secure all layers of fabric and stabilizers around the perimeter of the hoop before stitching out the design

Label is On, and Now For the Binding!
I put the final hand stitches in the binding around midnight on the evening of June 1st.  I'm counting that as "finished by the end of May" for last month's One Monthly Goal.  However, against my better judgement, I decided to run the finished quilt through the wash before going to bed so it would be REALLY finished...  

Now, there was never any question about whether this quilt would ever get washed.  It's a bed quilt for an eighteen-year-old boy's college dorm, for Pete's sake.  And I went through 3 or 4 cans of spray starch throughout its construction and made liberal use of Roxanne's Glue Baste-It washable glue to streamline the curved piecing, AND I marked the entire quilting design onto the quilt top with 3 or 4 different kinds of marking pen...  This quilt was always intended to be washable, and it would not have been 100% "finished" until I washed out all of the starch, glue, and pen marks.  

I tested each and every one of the Kona Solid fabrics used in the quilt top to ensure their dyes wouldn't bleed before I started the quilt, and I tested a swatch of the Spoonflower backing fabric as well.  Every one of those fabrics passed with flying colors.  I didn't notice anything when I pulled the wet quilt out of the washer at 1 AM and transferred it to the dryer.  But in the light of morning, I could see that my yellows were all dingy and there were dark blue streaks on some of them.   I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture of it; it was just too disheartening.  I had to just deal with it, RIGHT AWAY.

SO...  I looked up Vicki Welsh's Save My Bleeding Quilt tutorial, since her instructions saved me when I had bleeding red dye on my Jingle quilt blocks.  With Vicki's method, you don't need any expensive, difficult to obtain or toxic chemicals; just a big bathtub full of water and ordinary Dawn dishwashing liquid.

This Is What the Water Looked Like After Soaking My Quilt for Four Hours
Check out how much additional loose dye was released from this quilt AFTER that first run through the washing machine.  I emptied the tub and filled it with hot, soapy dishwater twice more after this photo was taken, until I could scoop out a glass of the water and confirm that it was clear.  Then the quilt went through several rinse cycles in my laundry machine to remove the Dawn detergent and I dried it again.

Fabrics Faded After Loose Dye Removed
The results?  Well, I'm pretty sure the culprit was the Spoonflower custom printed fabric that I used for the backing, which was printed with black and blue water based inks onto white Kona solid cotton base fabric.  Now that all of the loose dye is gone, the backing is considerably faded, but the fabrics in the quilt top itself have lost some of their vibrancy as well.  I love having the Bible verse printed all over the backing fabric so it's worth it to me in the end, but if I had this to do over again I would have soaked the backing fabric in my tub with the Dawn dish water until all of the extra dye was used BEFORE I loaded it onto my frame and quilted it to my quilt top.  I don't mind the fading of the backing fabric at all -- in fact, removing the excess dye made the backing softer and gave it kind of an appealing denim/chambray vibe.  The folks at Spoonflower did advise me in their care instructions to prewash their fabric before using it in a project, in their defense.  I thought that, if the swatch I dunked in boiling water didn't bleed, I'd be fine -- but perhaps their inks aren't colorfast only start bleeding once a mild laundry detergent is added to the mix?  Could a dye fixative like Synthrapol have helped, if I used it on the Spoonflower fabric before I put that fabric in my quilt?  Who knows -- these are questions for another day.  Because on THIS day, I'm just glad that my quilt is done a whole FIVE DAYS before the Quillow Service at church.  I even get to bring it to Show and Tell at my quilt guild on Wednesday night, to prove that I really am a quilter and not just a government spy infiltrating their meetings...  ;-)

Mission Impossible, 68" x 90"
So this quilt top was 72" x 96" before quilting, and after longarm quilting, machine washing, multiple hot water soaks, and machine washing again, the finished quilt ended up measuring approximately 68" x 90".  That was 6% shrinkage in the width and 7% shrinkage in length, using all unwashed 100% cotton fabrics and Hobbs 80/20 black batting.  Still generously sized to fit one of those 39" x 80" Extra-Long Twin dormitory mattresses, with a 16" drop on all three sides of the bed.

The Sexy Lawn Shot
Fading or no fading, I'm still pretty pleased with how this quilt turned out.  It looks just like my EQ8 design, it's going to fit the college dorm bed, it's done in time for this Sunday's Quillow Service, and it's a soft, snuggly quilt that will keep my son warm in his dorm room this Fall!  I learned a lot making this quilt, got lots of practice with the ruler work quilting, and am happy to report that those needle holes on the backing fabric closed up nicely, the quilt ended up perfectly straight and square, the lettering on the backing fabric was still straight after quilting, and there are NO pleats or tucks in the backing fabric.  Those are enough victories for me to consider this a win.

The Rear View

PSST!!  I'd Love to Quilt for YOU!

By the way, if you or any of your quilty friends has a quilt top or two that needs quilting, I'd be delighted to quilt for you!  My turnaround for edge-to-edge quilting is currently running about 2 weeks, and you can click here to find out how to book your quilt with me.

I'm linking up today's post with:


·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt


·      Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at


·      Midweek Makers at
·      WOW WIP on Wednesday at


·      Needle and Thread Thursday at  


·      Whoop Whoop Fridays at
·      Finished Or Not Friday at
·      TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, hosted this week by Lynette at