Monday, July 05, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaaaad

Robin's motorcycle, Suzuki 800 Intruder
Oh dear! I just looked at my last post... June 20th. Good grief! What have I been doing? Visitor from Europe for a week (including 4-day motorcycle ride... wheee... fun... above picture is my Suzuki at the summit west of Lillooet, BC) and quilting. So guess I'll post about the quilt I'm making...

It's a large double-bed quilt, a graduation present for my niece, Margaret, who is just getting her MA from the U of Minnesota. I suggested we feature pictures of her on the quilt and she asked for soft green as one of the colors.

It started with various pictures I collected from my own albums and from Margaret. Below are three of them.

Margaret in bunny costume
Margaret with her mom, original picture
Margaret graduating with her BA, original picture
Obviously, they needed some work. Here they are again, worked in Photoshop. I took out a lot of the color on all of the pictures and then added a sepia photo filter to even them all out. I gave each a border in a color similar to the fabrics I had collected for the quilt.

Margaret in bunny costume, print-ready image
Margaret with her mom, print-ready image
Margaret graduating with BA, print-ready image
Besides the bunny costume picture above, the one below is my other favorite picture of Margaret. She's looking at a tattoo she had just gotten on her shoulder.

Margaret looking at tattoo, print-ready image
I printed the pictures on poplin fabric using my ink jet printer. The fabric sheets came from Jo-Ann's Fabric. It's easy. Print the pictures, peel off the backing, hand wash to remove the sizing (stiffener), dry and iron. Permanent color and ready to use fabric! (I don't see the product I used by Crafter's Images on Jo-Ann's website anymore, but this product looks similar.)

fabric strips for Margaret's quilt
Then I cut piles and piles of strips of fabrics in various widths... 1 to 3.5 inches wide.

Randomly selecting strips, I sewed them around the pictures to create blocks. Below is a picture of the top 12 blocks (I did 20 in all) on my design wall. The 4 top left blocks and the 4 top right blocks are already sewn together to form two large blocks.

Margaret's quilt, top 12 blocks, in process
Because of the random widths of the strips and different sizes of pictures, the blocks are all different sizes. No problem. Just takes a lot of time and fussing to figure out what to put around and between the blocks to make it all come out the right. I used strips, piano keys and 9-patches to fill in the spaces.

Below are the finished blocks, sewn together and bordered with soft green. Notice the strips of fabric sewn together (piano keys) draped over the chair? I sewed them around the outside edge. They will drape down over the edge of the bed and make the quilt large enough.

Margaret's quilt, center top is complete, needs piano key borders to finish
The next step is to piece the back of the quilt and get it to a professional quilter. I thought about doing the quilting myself, but don't think I could roll it up tightly enough to fit under the small arm of my 1972 machine and I definitely don't have time to hand-quilt this one.

This has taken me many, many more hours than I expected. It turned out to be quite fussy getting the blocks to fit together pleasantly. Plus I ran out of many of the fabrics and had to labor quite a bit to get the piano key border to look good. No pictures of the finished top yet... maybe after it gets quilted.

Quilting is challenging for me. I'll be happy to get back to work on my June piece for the Bead Journal Project. I'm making progress, but haven't taken pictures yet.

My main word for July's BJP is FOCUS! I'm looking forward to starting that one soon... What a great word, eh?!


  1. What a great quilt. I wouldn't have ever thought to downplay the colors in the photographs and even them out with sepia -- you just taught me something really valuable.

    I can't wait to see what you do with the word "focus."

  2. I have only one thing to say, WOW! WOW! and WOW! again.

  3. What a beautiful labor of love. I love the colors and I know your niece is going to love, appreciate and enjoy this.

    You did a fantastic job.


  4. What a gorgeous heirloom for your niece to treasure!

  5. what a great quilt. I too have been quilting more than beading latley, and now am behind in my June BJP. What i like about making it up as you go is figuring out how it will go to gether, add a little somthing here take away a little somthing there...

  6. What a treasure for your niece! Have to get back to my BJP pages now. My other big projects are essentially done, so I can work on BJP again.

  7. This is beautiful and I love the way you manipulated the colors - you're so clever! Lots of time spent but it will be a lifetime treasure for your niece.

  8. What a wonderful gift! She'll love it.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I tried to add it to the comments, but I kept getting error messages--and now it's lost in cyberspace.

    Marty S
    Crackpot Beader

  9. wow, what a lucky person your niece is. Thank you for sharing details on how you worked on this quilt. I have been quilting for the past 5-6 years and enjoy that kind of sewing a lot. Yesterday, I received and installed EQ7 update on my computer and started playing with it. Do you know about this software? It is a great software for designing quilts. I have started a new Quilt design for a summer quilt - The heat inspired me I guess! We have a heat wave and temperatures with the humidex factor go up as high as 42 to 45 Celsius! I got behind on my beading too! I am working on the June page now. But, I will receive a BabyLock Embellisher machine in the coming days! Too many things to do and so little time!

  10. Love the quilt - if there's something I'm handicapped on is making what we crazy quilters call "sane quilts" - it's lovely!

    I also have to laugh at your "word" - that's my "word of the year" - I got started doing that last year and have really enjoyed it, but I so love "focus" that I've even gotten a stone that says that (it sits right here while I type on my computer).

    Here's my word of the year post:

    It's a good word - can't wait to see what you do with it!

    Oh,and thanks SO much for the comments on my doll. they mean so much coming from you!

  11. What a nice quilt keepsake!! Very nice! Your niece will just love it!

  12. Robin, what a lovely keepsake for your niece. She is going to love it! And I love the different sizes with the filler blocks. I can't wait to see it quilted! You are one multi-talented lady!

  13. A very lovely labor of LOVE, am sure your niece will be thrilled, what a keepsake.
    I am doing more beading lately than quilting & hope soon to get back to my "crazy quilting".

  14. this will be a treasured keepsake for your niece to keep all her life.
    Great job.



  15. Wonderful idea using photos inside a quilt! I can feel the affection you share with your niece in this great gift !
    I wonder: it may be possible to sew directly each block with blocks of the back fabric. I remember using this tecnic on a quilt I made some years ago. (In this case no need to pay a professionnel quilter !)
    Your niece is very lucky !

  16. First of all very nice pics and also nicely quilted :), you have given this idea of framing the pics by quilting :) we all appreciate this.


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