Saturday, April 17, 2010

Flannel Series Finale (For Now)

So this is the latest installment of the "Flannel Series" and the second finish for 2010. As I noted in the previous post, this was one of two kits I got an email about from Keepsake Quilting. It's called "Triangle Trips" and was designed by Keri Nichols of Mountainpeek Creations. As I've said (too many times) before, I love flannel quilts and the first one I made (blogged about here) was made to be a couch snuggle but once I finished it and used it, I would not let it leave my bed! The problem was since it was only lap sized, if both my DH and I tried to use it together, a tug of war ensued. So when this kit came out and it was a generous 84" x 84", I knew I had to make it. The more masculine colors were an attraction too -- with all the quilts and flower arrangements I already have in our bedroom, I'm always looking to add a little something that the DH can relate to. I also have to admit that being on what's supposed to be a restrained quilting budget, I am a lot more happy to buy a kit that's bed-sized than one that's lap-sized given the fact that the cost of both tend to be almost the same.

This one was started in January while I was house sitting for my cousin while her house was undergoing an energy audit. Over two days, while workers examined her home's exterior, windows, walls, insulation and appliances and evaluated them for energy efficiency, I cut all the fabric into squares to make the triangle squares and the outer border and then sewed all the triangle pairs together. Back home I laid them out on the bed to organize the layout then sewed up the top. As always once I had the top done it was a long while before I set out to quilt it.

I wasn't sure how I wanted it quilted since I wanted the color rounds to remain the focus and preferred an all-over stitch design in order to get the quilting done fast. My original choice was just to do straight lines but I was afraid that would be too boring. The woodsy colors tempted me to consider doing a pictorial scene across the quilt with a river and mountain peaks, forest animals and a campsite scene but at this stage of my quilting skills, I knew that was an ambitious project that I would likely procrastinate on if I tried to tackle it. Eventually, I came across a "pebble" design at Leah Day's blog "365 Days of Free Motion Quilting". Eliminating the "stream" portion of it, this was a perfect union of something within my immediate abilities that I felt also spoke to the colors and feel of the quilt. A picture of the quilting detail and the backing fabric are below:

The quilting took me longer than expected and I wound up using a lot more thread than anticipated but it gives good texture and a rugged look to the quilt. Once again, the backing fabric was a brushed cotton courtesy of AAA Quilters Supply. My name for the quilt is "Manly Yes, But I Like It Too!" since the back is a flowery contrast to the front (and those of you old enough will remember that as the tag line of the Old Spice commercials from the seventies). I really felt that all this quilting did a lot to improve my control when doing free motion and I am encouraged to get moving on the rest of the quilts I have basted from last year.

And a bit of quilting serendipity happened too. Just as I finished the work on this, I thought again about how I still needed more guidance on choosing the quilt stitches for my projects. A long time ago, I had put Lee Cleland's "Quilting Makes The Quilt" on my Amazon wish list. Although the book is over ten years old, even used copies of it have always sold at a premium price. Checking in, as luck would have it, someone offered a copy for about $10. Needless to say I snatched it up! When it came, I have to say it is a real education in how different choices of stitches and their placement on the top can really effect the look of a quilt. In the book, Lee quilts the same quilt five different ways (and at the time, made all the tops herself in order to prepare them for the quilting!) to show the different ways to organize the stitching on various quilt tops. It turned out to be a great companion to another book I bought last year, Christine Maraccini's "Machine Quilting Solutions", a more recent book that takes the same approach -- quilting the same quilt three different ways to consider how the quilt stitches chosen and their placement affect the finished project. Lee is also profiled in another of my favorite quilt books (a must purchase after I read it at the library) "Celebrating Traditions: Quiltmakers in Australia".

The good news is that Jacqui at Tallgrass Prairie Studio is gearing up to host another "Spring Finish" quilt-a-long this year. Maybe participating in that will further motivate me to get to all the quilting I need to do. Also I must get to the House Blocks I promised to do for Victoria's "House Gather" that she will be making into quilts for charity. The deadline is April 30th so there is till time if you'd also like to contribute blocks. And as promised in the last post I hope to get back here soon with some ruminations on my quilting "Bucket List". Whew! A lot to do! Thanks for stopping by!

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1 comment:

Elaine Adair said...

Your 'pebbling' is wonderful and very 'outdoorsy' and natural. Good job!