Saturday, January 23, 2016

Making "E is for Eva"

I am just a little behind on my posting, but have some finishes I need to present to you, so let's start with one of my favorite quilt of 2015.

With so many quilts leaving the house as gifts, I felt it was time to make my daughter her first quilt.  I have a stockpile of fabrics I have been collecting since she was born, waiting for the day when I would build her something special.  As any self-respecting 5 yr old girl, Eva is a big fan of pink and purple, so this quilt would have to be pastel-dominant!  I wanted it to be very personal, so I decided to make a big letter "E", as she was learning her letters at the time.

After a few sketches, I settled on a giant letter "E" using rectangular blocks with two rounded corners, similar to this design from Quilt Dad's Paper Lanterns quilt pattern.  Here's a shot of Quilt Dad's cool Paper Lanterns quilt:

As is my regular M.O. these days, I first made a sketch of the quilt, then (particularly in the case of a more complicated, non-repeated block design) draw up dimensions of each piece, what fabrics will be used in each section, and how much of each fabric will be needed. 

This quilt was specifically designed for an IKEA Kura children's bed. 

Since the space between the bed sides and the mattress is really tight, I wanted a quilt that wouldn't need to be "tucked in" on the sides, but would instead sit on top of the bed without any extra fabric around the sides of the bed.  This made for unconventional dimensions: 42" x 64". 

My next step is to do a mock-up of the new block I will be building, just to make sure I don't make more expensive mistakes on the "hero" fabric.  Below you can see the rounded square design, which I made using a drunkard's path template

I also got to practice some free motion quilting using my new machine, which has been an amazing revelation!  I hesitate to stray from the quilt story, but will just say that my new Bernina 440 QE has completely changed my free-motion sewing experience!  If you have not tried a Bernina with BSR (stitch regulator), it will change your life!  AMAZING!  I was unspeakably fortunate to get this machine used, with less than 900 stitches sewn (it has a counter).  In the about 8 months since it came to me, it now has 300,000 stitches sewn, so it was basically new, and I got it for a fraction of what it sells for used.  Here's a stock photo:

Also, I received a Bernina walking foot for Christmas, so I am all pimped out for a new year of quilting!

OK, back to the task at hand!  I'll just post a few in-process pics of my project.  The first features one of Eva's favorite fabrics- pink fairies!  I gave it a purple boarder to give her what she likes.

Here's a shot of the completed E pieces, auditioning background fabrics.  I ended up choosing this one, as it kept with the pink theme, but was subtle enough not to overpower any of the letters.

Pin basting.  Not for this one, but for my last two quilts, I have begun to use spray basting along with pins.  Probably overkill, but the result is pucker-free, so the extra work is worth it.  I'm not sure I will continue to spray baste for bed quilts (the spray basted quilts are decorative wall hangings), since I don't wash the quilts before I use them.  We shall see.

Here's the finished product.  It sits on Eva's bed, but easier to see hanging on the wall.  She didn't want it on her bed when I presented it to her in January, so I hung it on the wall.  Now it's on her bed, she loves it and sleeps with it every night.  It's backed with a mix of flannel scraps, as I don't have a lot of flannel lying around, and there have been grumblings around the house that the regular cotton backing isn't cozy enough.

As you can see, I have a row of 3 blocks above and below the E.  It may be hard to see in the photo, but I quilted with heart loops in the background and echo quilted around the boarders of the blocks.  I had to zoom in for the detail on the quilting, so this pic is a little grainy, but you get the idea.  My first time using the Bernina to FMQ, so a little sloppy, but every heart is made with love :)  My wife and I laughed at how a few of the hearts I made look a little like butts, so I was careful to be more deliberate in sewing each heart!

I had so many fun fabrics I wanted to feature in this quilt, so I went a bit color crazy!  Here are just two: bunnies and balloons & pink parasols and unicycles!  Great for a little girl!

Here it is, living on Eva's bed.  The bed sides are covered in purple butterfly contact paper I got at the dollar store.  Along with the pink canopy from Amazon, it was an easy way to turn the bed into a very girly, very personal piece.

Thanks for looking, and I hope to catch up on my other finishes and UFO's in the next week or so!

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