Have you ever had a really long deadline and wanted to give yourself permission to sit back and relax… only to have an idea hit so strong and be so compelling that you get it done right away anyway? This particular mini quilt is full of a lot of different “firsts” for me, but in spit of? because of? the newness or excitement or general desire to make this for someone I thought would really appreciate it, I just couldn’t stop working on it.
I think I have to start a bit backwards when describing this quilt. I was inspired by the recipient’s favorite fabric designer, but when it came time to piece it together, I kind of just did what I liked. As I was working on the quilting, though, I realized that the layout could actually have some meaning. The center four feather represent the recipient’s family (she is pointing up and her husband and sons are pointing down). The four feathers circling counterclockwise had a bit of meaning, too, and they made me think of her quilting friends. So, I named this mini quilt “Family and Friends”.
As I said, the original inspiration for the quilt was based on the recipient’s favorite fabric designer: Anna Maria Horner. I do not think I have ever had any AMH fabric in my stash, so once the idea hit to sew up some AMH feathers, I knew I was going to have to go looking for some AMH fabric. I also got a bit of help from Kitty @Night Quilter: I really wanted to use Essex Linen in charcoal for the background and backing, and she pushed me over the edge to give it a try.
As soon as the fabric order arrived, I knew that I was not going to be putting this project off. I just had to start working on it. The Charcoal Essex linen sets off the glowing True Colors AMH brilliantly, and it was lovely to work with.
The pieced top came together very quickly. I knew that I wanted to use a Trapunto method to help the feathers stand out. Thankfully, Renee @Quilts of a Feather patiently messaged me back and forth via Instagram as I worked through how I was going to do that and offered great support and help along the way.
Since I was trying so many new things with this mini quilt, I also decided to jump right in and take a stab at my first “graffiti quilting”. Why not, right??
I chose to just outline each feather and stem for maximum “poof” effect with the Trapunto technique. I sketched out a rough (OK, really rough – so rough I did not photograph to share…) version of the quilt and then did a lot of doodling across it to develop confidence and enough quilting designs that I felt confident starting the quilting. It was very handy to have the sketch to refer to when I ran out of ideas at the spur of the moment as I moved along. I don’t know if this is truly graffiti quilting, but it was a lot of fun to move from motif to motif, and creating my own take on something (even if I know very little about it) was satisfying.
About halfway through the quilting, I caught a nasty cold and did not have the energy to sit up, let alone quilt. That meant this quilt sat on my long arm for over a week waiting on me to finish it… which brings me to another first. My cat noticed the quilt on the long arm. He also discovered how lovely a hammock a quilt loaded on a long arm can be, even though I used all my best methods to distract him (I covered it with yucky plastic and centered the long arm over the quilt). Oh dear. I don’t know if that will continue to be a problem with my cat – but he certainly knew I was not amused at his cozy little nesting location. It turned out fine and I don’t think that he over stretched the fabric in a way that harmed the quilt.
I used 50wt Aurifil 6736 (Jedi) to quilt Family and Friends. This particular large spool of thread was in my gift bag from Quilt Bliss, and the color just disappeared into the Charcoal Essex Linen. So much so that I could really only quilt during daylight hours – I needed enough light and contrast to have some idea of where I had been and where I was going.
Once I had recovered enough to finish this quilt, my husband also knew I had probably recovered enough to go on some day trips over the holiday and take advantage of time he had away from work.
So I packed my backpack full of quilts (I also wanted to re-photograph Red Herring before gifting it), and we headed south to check out Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. We had hoped to see big horn sheep while we were there. While we saw lots of evidence that they had been there before us, we did not see any on our visit, so we have reason to return for a longer camping visit!
I love how Family and Friends just seems to glow against the winter desert backdrop.
And I am thrilled with how the quilt came together. Finished, it is rather large as a mini quilt (33.75 inches wide by 33.25 inches long), so I added a hanging sleeve to the back instead of just corner tabs prior to shipping it off to its forever home.
Linking up with Finish It Friday.