|Lance on the Wedding Quilt|
When my son told us that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend, I began thinking about making them a Wedding Quilt -- something special that would represent the two of them. My hope (as with all of the quilts I give as gifts) is that it will become a treasured part of their lives together.
I began by looking through my binder of quilting ideas -- mostly articles and photos that I've cut from magazines. The inspiration for the quilt came from the unlikeliest of places: a free project instruction sheet distributed by Wal-Mart. "Quilter's Collectibles" flyers highlighted different fabric groups available for sale in the Wal-Mart sewing department. In February 2007, "Bric-a-Brac" was the name of the quilt on a flyer that featured five colors of calico prints, plus black.
Rows of 'bricks' are not new to quilting. I liked the general look of the design, but wanted to make it my own. The first thing I changed was the brick size. The instructions called for 3" x 5 1/2" bricks; I cut mine 3 1/2" x 7". The quilt instructions were for a full bed-sized quilt; this one needed to be a queen-sized quilt, so I lengthened each row. The original pattern called for a border of bricks separated by 3" squares; I eliminated that element. And finally, instead of using five colors of fabric (plus black), I decided that each row would be a different fabric.
My son is an engineer, and using 'bricks' on a quilt for him seemed like the thing to do. My daughter-in-law, Mary, loves the colors teal and purple, so I decided to select fabrics on the cool side of the color wheel, starting with yellow-green and working through the spectrum to the deepest shade of violet. Once I had a general plan, the search for fabrics followed.
The first stop was my stash. I had plenty of greens (see my post about the Irish quilt). An American Sewing Guild (ASG) friend had passed away about a year before, and I had inherited several different quilting cottons from her. I also put out the word to many sewing buddies and my sisters, hoping they would have some fabric in their stash I could use. I had to purchase about 10 fabrics to complete the 'rainbow' effect. Ultimately, the quilt ended up with 30 different fabrics, plus the tone-on-tone 'black.' (I could have gone with a tone-on-tone beige or white, but decided black was more masculine).
I started by cutting strips 3 1/2" by the width of the fabric, then cutting the strips into 7" blocks. I also needed a half-rectangle of black to begin or end each row. Once cut, the rows went together quickly.
|I used a quarter-inch presser foot on my machine to keep the seam allowances a uniform width.|
|It helped to have a queen-sized bed to lay out the rows for the correct color placement.|
|I measured and carefully pinned the rows in place before stitching, so the bricks would stack up!|
|Sewing in units and adding one to the next kept the quilt from getting too unwieldy at the machine.|
Susie is the long-arm quilter that I have used for the past few years. She is a great resource and really takes the time to help me select the best quilting pattern and thread color. We decided to use a 'bubble' pattern of various sized circles, with black thread, for the overall quilt pattern.
|I love how the quilting shows up on the lighter fabrics!|
I use bias binding as often as possible to finish the edges of the quilts I make (see the blog entry about the Irish quilt for more details on bias binding). My hope was to have the quilt finished and wrapped up before the wedding, but with other projects to complete (including my dress!), I didn't have time to sit and hand-stitch the binding down until the wedding was over. Ryan and Mary's honeymoon gave me the all the time I needed to complete the project, and it was ready for them when they joined us for dinner the day after their return.
Oh, one more thing -- a quilt is not complete unless it is signed. I purchased a new Bernina Artista 635 last year, which comes with an embroidery attachment, but I'm not very good at embroidery yet. I was able to create a label to sew onto the back of the quilt, so it's signed and dated, like any valuable piece of artwork.
Mary loved the colors in the quilt, and Ryan appreciates the time and care that went into making it. (I was told the he was 'bragging' that I made my dress for his wedding!) I hope that it turns into the treasured keepsake that I had in mind for the past year!