Saturday, May 5, 2012

Forever In My Heart

That is what I named the huge custom quilt project I just completed. The name is very fitting given the nature of the project.

It all started with someone I know through the mom's club. She reached out to me asking if I would do a custom baby clothes quilt for her. I had never done one, but I had seen them before and said sure no problem. Baby clothes quilts are typically done in a simple block pattern to showcase the clothing. She was not into this and had another idea. Thanks to Pinterest, she had a photo of something a little more unique. I studied the photo and said yes! Not a problem, I can totally do this.

It started with two bags of clothing. Approximately 40-50 different pieces, some of which had very special meaning. She chose the fabrics...Michael Miller's, Children At Play in a gorgeous turquoise for the borders and backing, then a complimentary soft pink for the center. Quilt size is a full, 86"x86". The largest size I have done. I had to move living room furniture aside to lay it out!

Out of the clothing, I hand drew and cut approximately 72 different size and shaped hearts and backed them with interfacing to stabilize the fabric. I then pieced the pink fabric and laid the hearts out to form one large heart. Each heart was then pinned into place and were machine appliqued to the pink fabric. I had no idea how long this process of the quilt would take. Each heart took about 10-15 minutes to attach. It was painstakingly slow and I took them on a little bit at a time. For the backing fabric, I made simple framed squares and then appliqued the child's name onto the squares for a personal touch. By piecing the back this way, it makes for a more interesting back and technically reversible.

When the hearts were finally attached, I added the borders and was ready to baste the quilt together. It took almost 2 hours just to pin it. Now I was ready to quilt it. Because a full size is much larger than I am used to, I had to bring my machine inside to my kitchen table so I had a lot of space to spread the excess of the quilt out. The process of quilting I used, is called free motion. It is a process where you drop the feed dogs in the machine and you move the fabric freely. I knew this quilt had to be quilted this way, so in preparation, I took a 2-session free motion class to learn how to do it properly. I was terrified to start! I think I dropped the needle in and stared at it for about 10 minutes with my heart pounding before I could hit the foot pedal and go.

The final result was far more beautiful than I imagined. I knew this quilt was going to be a great one, but I was pretty impressed with the results. I am not one to pat myself on the back, but I had to a little bit with this one!

Full Front View

Close Up

Pieced Back
Free Motion - Meandering, Loops and Hearts

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