It may seem like I disappeared for a few days, but I have been busy busy busy working on Errick’s quilt.
Last Thursday, I made my way up to Happiness is… Quilting in McKinney to get the backing and batting (about an hour drive). I also got to put a face to a name with the shop owner, Laura Kay (we had been exchanging emails during the week). Laura Kay is also a member of the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild and I have to say that I wish lived closer to Happiness is… Quilting. It is such a lovely shop (they have an online shop too, so I can visit them that way)! Laura Kay has a nice selection of a variety of fabrics, including many modern collections like Nicey Jane, Weekends, Make Life, and Hope Valley. Laura Kay helped me pick the backing and I decided to use flannel since it is a natural fiber, which means it will breathe well and be soft on the skin. I also decided on batting and got Quilter’s Dream wool batting for its warmth (remember, Errick’s a Florida boy who just moved to Michigan) and because it is both machine washable and dryable. Laura Kay offered me a really nice discount for both the flannel backing and batting. Thank you, Laura Kay!
On Monday, it was top piecing time. Initially, I really did not even know where to begin, given the quantity and variety of blocks I was working with (As of today, 58 quilters have sent in an even and astonishing 200 blocks; and there are still a couple outstanding, based on the pictures on flickr). Thankfully, Amanda (another DMQG’er) came to my rescue and spent a few hours with me on Monday. We first sorted the blocks by color.
The gray blocks and blocks with navy blues, neutral blues, muted blues and greenish-blues were picked to go into the main big quilt for Errick (the greenish-blue blocks will help tie the backing to the front, since the backing is a greenish-blue color). I had wanted to add in some orange cross blocks, but ultimately decided that the orange blocks will be saved for the crib quilt (below).
The blocks with brighter blues and purplish blues have been set aside to be made into a crib quilt for Errick’s son.
Amanda also helped me finalize block placement on the design wall (and floor, since they wouldn’t all fit on the wall). And she helped me start piecing the blocks into rows. Then I continued to piece the blocks into rows on Tuesday and by Wednesday I started sewing the rows together.
I have never made a quilt this big and boy is there a lot to manage just sewing the rows together. I had the fabric strips draped over my shoulder and down my back so that it wouldn’t pull as I was sewing.
The top finally came to be after a lot of pinning and pressing. Don’t all of the crosses look fantastic together? I just love how it looks. (If you don’t see your blocks in the top, don’t fret! They will either be used in the crib quilt, in something for Errick’s wife, or for the second ‘arse kicking quilt’ that will be donated to someone in need or raffled off for Errick’s benefit).
I embroidered the who/what/when on the label, which was the first time I’ve done embroidery (don’t look too closely!). And I ended up piecing the label into the front of the quilt for two reasons: 1. it’s a cool label, no need to hide it on the back (it represents opening a can of whoop arse on Trudy). 2. the backing is flannel and I didn’t want to add anything to the back that wasn’t soft.
However, now seeing the label with all of the cross blocks, I am doubting my decision to put it on the front (it sticks out a lot more than I thought it would). If I pull out the seam ripper and replace the block, it will postpone getting the quilt completed by at least a week and a half, due to some other family obligations that I have (I know that doesn’t make sense, but trust me). Should I leave it on the front? Or pick it out to put it on the back (even though it won’t match the softness of the flannel) and postpone when the quilt will be done? I feel like every second counts with getting the quilt complete, so postponing is the last thing I want. But, I don’t love how it looks with the rest of the crosses… 😦
The top ended up being a healthy twin size (72″ x 92″). I am so thankful that another generous quilter has offered to help me with this quilt. Liza, (The English Street Quilter) is a long arm quilter and another DMQG‘er. She is donating her quilting services for Trudy’s Arse Kicking quilt (!). I initially thought I would quilt the quilt myself, but as I realized how big it was going to be, I decided I would take all the help I could get! Liza has been so easy to work with and I can’t wait to let her work her magic on the quilt. I am taking it to her Thursday morning (in just a few hours).
Thank you again for making this quilt happen. I love how it is turning out!