Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Elephant in the Room: The Quilt That Made Me Face My Fears

I have just finished what I consider to be the prettiest quilt I have yet to make! It was supposed to be a simple quilt made using just a large center panel but turned into a quilt that would make me face a ton of my quilting fears. I had found this beautiful Karavan fabric by Valerie Wells and knew I wanted to incorporate it into the baby's nursery. 

I loved the elephants so much that I knew I did not want to cut the fabric into a lot of pieces. So I decided to just do a large panel of this fabric surrounded by a few borders to highlight it. I placed a few borders on it and before you knew it, I was attempting mitered corners! Yikes! I was nervous but pleasantly surprised with how my first attempt turned out. 

Well, I survived that. Why not make these elephants really pop? So I decided to take a stab at trapunto quilting. Luckily I had a small amount of high loft batting that had been given to me by someone who is no longer sewing so I was able to dive right in. I decided to use heat-n-bond to make the task a little easier than the traditional method. I traced each elephant onto the heat-n-bond.

Once all the elephants were traced, I fused them onto the high loft batting and got to work cutting them all out. 

Then I fused the elephants to the back of the quilt panel. 

Once all the elephants were fused, I was able to layer my quilt top with some low loft batting and the backing and basted it all down. I then got to work stitching around each elephant. Once all of the elephants were outlined I decided to face my biggest fear of all . . . free motion quilting. To ease into it, I decided to use the petals surrounding the elephants as tracing lines. I just followed along the flowers until I had stitched across every petal!

I would be lying if I pretended that I was completely happy with how it turned out. I had some lines that fell off the petals but honestly, it is hard to find the mistakes on the quilt and I know this was a great attempt for my first time free motioning a quilt! I am just a crazy perfectionist and get frustrated with myself when I make a mistake. But that was my huge lesson . . . you have got to let go of perfectionism when free motioning. You just have to relax and have fun with it and not over think it. I found when I would start to let go and just do it that I was actually enjoying it quite a bit. My second lesson . . . I truly need to invest in a clear quilting foot if I am going to continue working on free motion quilting! 

I did some straight line quilting on the borders just to give a little contrast and then decided to attempt some more free motion quilting by stippling the outer border. 

I actually thoroughly enjoyed this process! I think I will be using stippling a lot more! 

Since I had faced so many fears with this quilt I decided that I had to finish it off with a bang. So I decided to try my first scalloped edge! Once again, I am addicted. It is so much easier than it would seem. Really not much different than a straight edge other than calculating the sizing of the scallops and having to use bias binding. 

And I had a little bit of help with the binding . . . hehehe.

I am so incredibly happy with the finished product! And it looks just perfect with the matching crib rail covers!

I also did a small side project in between quilting sessions. I had found a very pretty vintage bed skirt for $1.99 at the thrift store. Only it was a very peach bed skirt that clashed with the pinks of the quilt. 

So I also attempted my very first dye bath. 

I was so happy when it came out almost the exact color that I had hoped it would.

I cut the bed skirt up and created a completely custom crib skirt to match the quilt and crib rail covers.

The kids' room is really coming together. Just a few more projects that I would like to get made in the next month or so. In the meantime, I think I will ooh and aah over how great the elephant quilt looks! :)

Until next time . . . happy quilting!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a great job! I taught myself how to miter corners a long time ago. That part is easy for me. I'd never thought of doing trapunto before. What a novel idea, how you did it. Makes great sense. As for free motion quilting, I took 3 different classes on it, way back when, and I stunk. I can straight line quilt, but, not free motion. Of course, I haven't tried it on a treadle yet. Maybe 'slowing it down' will be the key for me. Love the elephants. My mother collects elephants, so, they always catch my attention. Isn't dying fabrics fun! I did that with a whole outfit one time. Looks like you will be ready when this little girl arrives.