Wednesday, March 26, 2008
there once was a time when i made a quilt for every baby in my life. then, i hit that certain age when not only is everyone i know having babies, but i have my own, thus severely curtailing my free time. so, given the pesky laws of supply and demand, things adjust. my niece katherine is already 4 months old, and as it became clear a quilt was not in the cards, i hit upon an idea. her mother (my sister-in-law) mentioned that her first daughter had a name banner for her bedroom (a sweet sunny felt item made by a friend) but that katherine did not. combine that with the fact that they will soon likely be packing up everything they own to move to another continent, the smaller the gift the better. i decided to combine the concepts -- quilt and banner -- and came up with this. (it's difficult to photograph something that is 10 feet wide...)
i decided this was the perfect application for the set of amy butler fat quarters i bought recently (when i buy something with no plan in mind, i'm always happily surprised when i use it in a timely fashion). i found a great font online, and (by tracing a printout at the proper size) used it as a template for embroidering the letters -- i even found i had floss around that coordinated nicely with the fabrics, and had white fabric on hand, so the only thing i bought specifically for this project was the ribbon. i added the botanical heart flourish seen below as a tenth panel (to allow the banner to hang evenly), and i think it adds a nice touch. this sort of addition would be needed if the name was quite short, or if you needed a space between two names or words. also seen (at bottom) is my test of filling in the embroidered letters. i liked the bolder look, but it was time consuming and also left the result feeling less clean, i thought, so i stuck with the outline.
i also used this opportunity to play around and try to boost my confidence with free motion quilting. i came up with a different quilting pattern for each of the ten panels, and since each was small, i could figure out what i liked and what i didn't. (i was surprised to find how much i liked outline quilting, following the print on the fabric, because i thought that might be annoying to work.) i didn't mark anything, and it is now reinforced for me why i should. (lesson finally learned this time, i promise!)