Sunday, September 16, 2012

Back At Last ... With A Quilt Finish

It's been a long time since I blogged. I took a vacation from blogging and, for the most part, a vacation from thinking and worrying about cancer and preventing it from coming back. That doesn't mean I threw caution to the wind. On the contrary, I'm perhaps even more vigilant. Having more energy and a clearer mind makes a big difference. It wasn't a conscious choice to push cancer to the back of my mind, it was just a natural progression given that finally, over three years since I was first diagnosed, I finally feel almost "normal".  I finally feel mostly well. What a welcome change. I contribute a lot of how I feel to the powdered greens I started taking at the beginning of March. They changed my life and with the feeling mostly returned in my feet, I have a physical confidence that I didn't before ... because I used to fall over for no good reason when I least expected to.  So, when I started vacation in July, I joined a gym and started a diet recommended by my Naturopath.  I'll talk about all that later but for now, I want to "show and tell" about one of the quilts I completed this summer.  I'm so pleased with myself!

This quilt is for Uncle Reg (my mother-in-law's brother) who turned 90 this year. He's quite the inspiration with his good health, energy, humour, and attitude. He's had a really incredible life that has taken him from a modest Saskatchewan farm, through World War II as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force (remarkably surviving several crashes), family life with three daughters, and now grandchildren. He still golfs and curls and both cheers and curses the Roughriders. He's also famous for his gardening expertise, roses in particular.

I won 6 one yard cuts of this fabric (that I just love). It's Curious Nature designed by David Butler. I won it directly from Westminster Fabrics who produces this particular line of FreeSpirit Fabrics. If that sounds complicated, well it is. Fabric companies seem to often be that way I find. And don't even ask me to explain that David Butler designs under the "brand guise" of "Parson Gray". That confusion all aside, when the fabric arrived I liked it so much that I bought fat quarters of the complete line. It's very masculine fabric and, for whatever reason and before I realized it was Uncle Reg's 90th birthday this year, the fabric reminded me immediately of him. So ... good reason to make the man a lap quilt. I picked out the blue/oyster/cream/black toned fabrics from the line for this quilt. I envisioned photos on the quilt so I undertook figuring that out. It turned out to be challenging and time-sucking but, ultimately, I'm very happy with how they photos printed onto fabric. I'll explain how to do it and include several tips in a later post.

Kevin's Auntie Eileen volunteered to embroider the strip with the words, poppies and roses. She has a fancy embroidering machine.  Kevin's parents and Reg's daughters provided the photos for me to work with.

I had the quilt longarm quilted by Lynette Hankewich of Ladybug Longarm Quilting (Phone her at 306-270-9484). She just quilted in the ditch so as not to quilt over the photos. She did a great job considering "stitching in the ditch" is not so easy on a longarm quilting machine. Perhaps I could have quilted this by myself on my little Pfaff Tipmatic but I've never machine quilted before and I didn't want to start on this particular quilt.

I pieced the back of the quilt using what was left of the six 1 yard cuts that I won.

I used all the fabric scraps pieced together for the binding and I included a strip of red fabric with fleur de lis on it for a touch of red. I do like a touch of red. And this is Canada after all, so a nod to the French is always in order.

All I have left to do is add a label and deliver it to it's owner. I hope it will keep him warm when the air is chilly. The above photo (the one on the park bench) shows the colours in the quilt more realistically than in the other photos, which make the quilt look overall more "blueish" than it really is.

I was very lucky to have Sean stop by to hold the quilt up for me. Sean's Mom is a quilter, too. He and his brothers and his Dad are all closer to 7 feet tall than 6 feet, so they are every quilter's "best friends". Prior to that I tried to take photos of it all by myself at various places on campus. Not too bad for a solo effort, I guess.

Quilt Stats:
Name: "90 Squares of a Curious Nature"
Size: 54" x 69"
Fabric: Curious Nature by Parson Gray (David Butler), one charm square in the middle of the quilt that has various synonyms for "home" on it and is from Sweetwater's Hometown fabric line, and Kona Pepper for sashing and borders.
Inspiration Quilt: Chrysalis by Heather D at the "Crafting ... Blog"
Longarm Quilting: Lynnette of Ladybug Longarm Quilting in Saskatoon
Particulars: The quilt has 90 squares representing 90 years. Photos were printed using an Epson laserjet printer and Epson ink and I used cotton inkjet sheets from Electric Quilt Company available at Periwinkle Quilt Shop in Saskatoon and PeachTree Quilt Shop in Regina.

I didn't use a pattern but, after looking at the "inspiration quilt" and knowing charm packs were used to make it, I used 5 inch squares (a good choice because I could get two 5" square photos out of one cotton photo printer sheet), and 1.5 inch strips of Kona Pepper cut to 5" and 6" lengths. The squares have black borders on 2 sides only and then you just turn every 2nd square to get this jiggy look. If it hadn't been for struggles with my first attempt at printing on fabric, this would have been a very quick and easy quilt to put together. It's worth noting that if you decide to make a similar quilt, prepare all the fabric squares first and then lay the whole thing out and figure out where you're going to put your photo squares because that will determine where you put the two sashing pieces on those. You don't want to end up with upside down photos!

I like how Sean's sneakers peak out from under the quilt.

Click on the photos if you want to see them full sized. 

Addendum No. 1:

I finished the quilt label and just so all the photos about this quilt are in one place, here it is. I used the corner of a handkerchief that features red roses since Uncle Reg is famous for his rose gardening.

Addendum No. 2:

The quilt is now delivered and, with blessed happenstance, the quilt colours match Uncle Reg's decor perfectly! I'm so pleased about that.

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  1. Glad to hear that your health is getting better and better and hope it continues. Your quilt for your Uncle is fabulous and those colours and fabrics are perfect for the photos. What a great idea and I'm sure it will be well received.

  2. I am sure your Uncle loves his memory quilt! I remember making my dear late Dad a quilt for his ninetieth birthday... ten years ago!

  3. The quilts are treasures (this one & the one in your next post)! Yay YOU!
    Be well.

  4. In case I didn't say it enough when you first showed me the quilt (in person)....I LOVE IT!! What a treasure.

  5. Incredible quilt and fantastic story! So glad for this, I'm going to post on my facebook page to drive more folks here to see this wonderful work!! XO David Butler aka Parson Gray (ha ha).

  6. I love it! What a great quilt story and what a beautiful quilt. I found you through David Butler's post on Facebook.

  7. I also found this through David Butler's post on Facebook. Great story and you can tell the quilt will be well loved!

  8. Congrats on feeling better! That is a lovely quilt for a remarkable gentleman.

  9. Awesome quilt story! Thanks for sharing.

  10. What a great gift both feeling better and the quilt. I wish you continued improvement and happy quilting.
    in stitches

  11. I am always impressed with these photo/memory quilts! I have made alot of quilts in my day, but I hope that someday someone will make one FOR ME! I completely understand the health issues, from 2007 to 2010 I went through a similar circumstance and now finally am more on the healthy side! Yeah! for US!

  12. fabulous quilt!!! and he is 90????? wow, totally looks 20 or more years younger!

  13. Wow, I just clicked through to your blog from Needle and Thread Network. I'm not a quilter. Not at all. But I am amazed and moved by this beautiful gift you made for your uncle. Must be an awesome man.

  14. WOW!! He's 90? goog for him. I was very touched and inspired by your story and the love going into this quilt. I have been wanting to make one for my daughter and my son w/their childrens photo but have not found instructions I have truly felt was what I am looking for. I am looking forward to following up on this with you. I truly would like to know how to put the photos onto fabric. Thanks for sharing and I hope you continue to get better. God Bless you.

  15. Wow! I love the unfinished chalk marks and stains! Is there a name or address to research the embroiderer? I would try to look into it and if nothing, I would make up a history. The piece could become an artwork between stitchers through time, though I would leave the original stitches as is and add new completely different images too. Enjoy whatever you decide:)

  16. I love that quilt! The colors you chose are perfect together! And the embroidery/quilting in the blocks in fantastic! I'm so happy I discovered my walking foot a last week......I'm so anxious to get busy on all those tops that have stacked up! LOL

    Hoping you enjoy your holidays in your spiffy-clean house! :o)


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