Many grads receive the gift of a quilt once they make it through some academic milestone. I did. Anyone who graduates from school in Small Town, Some Place has to leave home if they want to go on to further their education, or even to work. A quilt just seems like a good practical gift for all. This year I saw a number of grad quilts made by the members in my local quilt group. They were beautiful. And all for girls. For some reason, I usually have boys to sew for. This year was no different.
First, my parameters. This quilt had to be durable. No meticulous piecing. No fussy finishes. Just something that looked good and would stand up to the rough stuff. I had a Toronto Blue Jays t-shirt to incorporate somewhere on the quilt, and a fleece throw that I wanted to use for the back. Yes, it is hot in the summer but fall is around the corner and all the young people in my life just love warm cuddly minky-type fabrics. A fleece throw is not only a cheaper alternative, but there is more choice when it comes to colours and patterns. This one had a pattern pressed into the fibers that I wanted to use as a stitching line.
Next question – what quilting pattern should I use? It’s amazing. You can look through the same magazine a number of times, but when you have different perimeters, you see patterns you would never have noticed otherwise. This time I selected a pattern called Sugar Roses by Susan Guzman (McCalls Fun & Fresh Summer Projects, July/August 2012) as a launching pad. It was a 4 part series and I only had part 1, but that didn’t matter. Everything was modified.
It was the center of the quilt that I knew would work for the Blue Jay’s logo.The list of names from the back of the t-shirt could go on one of the borders and I wanted a little red somewhere else on the quilt. A trip to several fabric stores helped fill in the rest. Other than that, it was make-up-as-you-go.
The fleece throw and the decision to use the pattern on the throw as quilting lines, affected everything that followed. The top had to start bigger than the throw so that it could be sandwiched in reverse (top side down and backing on top) and later trimmed to the same size as the throw. I had already decided to eliminate the side borders in order to get a younger contemporary look. And of course, the size of all the blocks and borders were revised to match the size of the throw.
I decided on 12″ squares but because of the placement of the logo on the t-shirt, I had to either add a little extra fabric around the logo or be content with a logo that wasn’t centered on the square. I choose the option #1. First, I stabilized a generous portions of the t-shirt front and back with Pellon Shape-Flex, an all purpose woven fusible interfacing. Then I cut a 10″ block with a centered logo and added 2″ to all 4 sides before trimming it down to 12″. The back of the t-shirt had a list of names and since these were going on to the border, the width was determined by the length of the longest name. I ended up with borders that finished at 1 1/2″ (red), 3″ (blue) and 4 1/2″ (checkered).
The last decision I made, which I considered a little risky at the time was to use a twin needle for the quilting. Since I was quilting it with the back of the quilt on top, the stitching lines of both needles would be on the fleece side and the zigzag of the bobbin thread would be visible on the top side of the quilt. I think it worked because there wasn’t a lot of other stitching or piecing in the quilt, and because the stitching is an overall pattern.
Congratulations to everyone who is graduating this year. I hope someone made a special quilt for you!
Note: We will get back to our quilted postcard challenge next week. Thanks for stopping by and reading this post.