Friday, April 7, 2017

Austen's Garden

Baby quilts are the best. That may seem like a big generalization, but hear me out.
Sewing and quilting a small quilt for a bundle of baby goodness means:
  1. They are quick to complete! Okay, quick-ish. Considering I have a queen size WIP that would be in middle school if it were a kid, a 7 month turnaround seems like sewing-hyperspeed!
  2. They don’t require stretching and cardio workouts to be able to wrangle under a domestic machine.  This = fewer sore back muscles and less cussing = win.
  3. They get to go live and have adventures with little kids. Is it tummy time?  Afternoon tea 
  4. party? Sick day? Grab a quilt!

Convinced yet? Well, either way,  I would like to introduce a newly finished baby quit, “Austen’s Garden.”

She was such fun to sew (the top was started before we knew gender, so it was a fun challenge to keep it gender neutral).

The backing fabric makes me smile every time I see it.
The quilting was quite an adventure! I vowed to try new techniques for both skill building and to branch out creatively. I quilted the majority of this at “Quilt Camp” – a 3 day retreat style sewing event.  Side note- I was in quilty heaven guys, and I cannot believe it took me so long to give something like that a try! 3 days of happy chatter, humming machines, chocolate, and show and tells. Heaven, I tell ya….
But back to the quilt... the intense quilt marathon session was what I needed to overcome the challenge of starting/ stopping and getting distracted while I try a new design.
Every row is a new-to-me free motion motif:  city skylines, stars, candy ribbon, lines and pearls, and swirls.

Then there’s that border…
Let’s talk about the border…
all 3.5 inches of intimidating solid color (wont hide wonky stitches) border.  I was stuck.
I took a few minutes to explore the quilt store and stretch and stumbled on to Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 by Lori Kennedy. I flipped through the book half-heartedly but as soon as I saw the flower design I knew that’s what the border needed. Sure that’s what it needed, but could I DO it?  Let me be a testimate to Lori’s amazing teaching skills, the steps were easy to follow, directions clear, and she breaks it into manageable pieces.  I practiced for a few minutes on a scrap sandwich and then dove in head first. After just a few flowers I got into a groove, liked how it looked, and dare I say.. had FUN free motion quilting! I used a variegated thread on the border, which has less contrast than white would have had, and that did make my newbie stitching a little more forgiving.

I finished quilting the border, happy danced, and immediately walked up to the register to purchase the book. I’m already excited to try more designs from it on the next quilt.

So there it is, Austen’s Garden in all her finished glory. It seemed fitting to take it out to my company’s garden for a farewell photo shoot.

I sent it home to give hugs and love to a sweet little girl, and I hope she (and her mom, my wonderful friend) have many comforting and fun moments together.

Quilt Stats:"Austen's Garden"
Size: 38"x 46"
Fabrics:  Stash, Michael Miller Petal Pinwheels,Alison Glass Sticks and Twine, Robert Kaufman Bluberry Park
Backing: Michael Miller's Pride in Candy from the "Origami Oasis" Collection
Patternmy own
Quilting: Free Motion Quilting on my domestic machine
Completed: April 2017

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