Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jack's Plus Quilt

I kept waiting for the perfect weather to take the perfect pictures of Jack's quilt. Everytime the sun came out and the wind calmed down, it would be nap time and the quilt would be in bed with my sleeping son. So, I took some not-so-perfect pictures. Some are a little blurry, but if you don't look too closely, I think it still looks pretty good.

I love this quilt. I mean, really love it. It definitely wasn't the most challenging quilt to piece, it's only squares after all. But it is the first time I have picked out all of the fabrics by myself, without using a collection. I knew I wanted blues, greens and grays, and I also wanted to use as much from my stash as I could. I tried to keep it young, since it is a 60" square quilt, and won't be able to cover a twin bed when he's older (I get to make him another!) With all of the prints going on, I also decided to throw a few solids in to ground everything a little and the navy and green solids are linen for a little texture. I used the Plus Quilt Tutorial on the blog In Color Order, just cutting the size to make it square.

My favorite part of this quilt, which maybe you can see on this back view - I hand quilted the ENTIRE thing. I have always wanted to try hand quilting and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Since it would be staying here instead of going out as a gift, I knew I would be able to fix it if something went wrong.

This is an awful picture, but you can see how I followed the insides of some of the pluses with the quilting. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the hand quilting. I spent several very cold nights hunkered down on the couch with this quilt and in the end I had to force myself to stop before I did every plus. I followed Anna Maria Horner's hand quilting tutorial to get the basics down.

It took a little time to figure out my own style here. I found I hated using a frame and thought it was easier manipulating the stitches onto the needle without it. I also had to give up a little anal retentiveness and be okay with not completely even stitches. And I definitely recommend leather thimbles - I used 3, one each on my right thumb, index and middle finger. I used # 8 DMC Perle Cotton, mainly because my local Michaels had the biggest color selection in this size and I knew I wanted greens and grays for the quilting.

I'm also pretty giddy about the binding. I wanted something neutral enough to go with all of the top's colors, sturdy enough to withstand little boy. I found this chambray in my "apparel" fabric stash and it was like angels started singing :) Very fray prone, kind of a pain to work with, but the end result was sooooo worth it. I love it!

Something I'm not real happy about is my label. I used the tutorial on PS I Quilt, and I am a little surprised that it ran like this after being washed. I used the exact pen she recommends, so I don't know what went wrong. It's a shame, though, cause that is Jack's favorite part. Every morning when he wakes up, he asks me to find it and read it to him. I'll have to go back to my boring Micron pen :(

Jack was pretty happy that something I spent so many hours working on was for him!

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