Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Drawing with thread in the city!

Close up of "Starry Night" block center
Well, it was Katie that started me on this quilting journey after all.

I completed 3 quilts and 1 quilted pillow over the last couple of years, learning very different techniques with each one. I thought I might as well continue to experiment with this art form on my kids. They are always happy to be on the receiving end of one of my creative whims... a new pancake recipe, a framed painting, a quilt... whatever!

So starting with my daughter, Katie did a bit of research on the computer and found a quilt block that she liked and then came to the quilt shop with me for fabric. As expected, she chose very conservative colors (brown and cream) with just a tiny print in the brown. It took what seemed like forever to cut out all the pieces for the quilt top and sew them together. With every quilt, I learn something new. With this quilt, I became more comfortable at my machine and actually sewed a pretty consistent 1/4" seam! I also figured out how to chain stitch all the small pieces to make it go faster.

Time for the border and backing meant another trip to the quilt shop. Katie zoomed in on a fabric that looked like a map of NYC. It was a wonderful choice and so unexpected for my conservative daughter! I know she is a fan of all things Manhattan, her grandfather and architecture at the top of that list, so I was thrilled that the quilt might now mean something more to her than just another experiment of mine. We also picked out a border fabric that would tie the colors of the backing fabric in with the front design.

Assembling the quilt with all the layers was exciting and I could not wait to get on with hand quilting the entire project. Now that we had a theme going with the NYC backing, I had ideas for the quilting designs. I would create a skyline all around the turquoise border and in each of the 12 centers of the blocks, I would stitch something that meant New York to Kate and to me. I could not remember being this excited about any other project in the longest time!

I tried, I really tried, to master machine quilting. I am just not a fan of the look. I bought a few Craftsy classes on free motion quilting, and experimented as I do with anything new, over and over again. I thought about simply doing straight quilting lines with my walking foot, but that did not thrill me. And my quilt shop even has a long arm quilting machine I could use as well. I know a handmade quilt is special because you get to select the fabric and it is made with love, but once it goes through a machine to assemble the whole thing, I think it kind of takes the handmade out of it. I suppose someone who hand dyes their fabrics would feel the same way about that step of the project and would never think of buying batiks on a bolt. In any rate, working each stitch by hand as the quilt becomes complete feels more like something handmade and it is something I love to do.

So with my vanishing purple pen in hand, I sketched different designs in each of the cream centers of the blocks and quilted the designs with brown thread. I was blending together my skills for drawing with my love for fabric. How perfect is that? I also used the brown thread for the skyline on the border and a cream thread to finish quilting around each of the triangles of the blocks. It was with a smile that I completed each section of this quilt and added my signature at the bottom. It is with a smile that I can share this with my daughter. After all she was the one who started me on this journey all along.

Taxi Cab

Fountain in front of Lincoln Center

Empire State Building

NYC Public Library

I Love NY logo

Brooklyn Bridge

Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Big Apple!

1 comment:

  1. I love this quilt!! Be on the look-out for the next creative thing I get you into. Hopefully it won't be as time consuming!! <3