My parents’ best friend’s son (and his wife) are having their first child in a couple of months and this (semi-commissioned) quilt will be my parents’ gift to them.
Planes + pink is not a usual combination, but for this project, it is perfect. Both parents are/were commercial airline pilots and they are having a little girl.
This quilt first started out as a sketch in my notebook.
The color palette was pulled from the pink colorway of Cosmo Cricket’s Girl Friday fabric collection. I used several of the Girl Friday prints then added in a mix of coordinating prints. The binding and inner border is the stripe from Girl Friday and I just love the colors in it (the stripe was actually my starting point and I knew it would be the binding from the get-go).
Most of the fabrics were sourced specifically for this project. In addition to gathering fabrics that matched the color scheme, I wanted to incorporate the couple’s interests into the quilt with the fabric motifs.
The mom-to-be is a great chef (fabrics: recipe cards, 30s repro chefs) and she was on the ski team growing up (fabric: snowflakes). The dad-to-be played soccer growing up (fabric: silhouette soccer players). He was a teacher and his mom is a retired teacher (fabrics: ruled-paper, graph paper, rulers). They are recently married (fabrics: wedding cake) and have bought and renovated their first house (fabrics: household items, house with a quilt hanging outside). They live near the beach (fabrics: seashells, sand dollars, sun) and are vocal in their support of the environment (fabric: reduce/reuse/recycle words).
I pieced almost all of the airplane blocks at a quilting retreat back in February. Angie and Michelle were kind enough to let me look through the fabrics they brought so I could fill in some of the gaps I had in order to finish my planes (thank you, gals!).
I had a heck of a time finding fabric with a subtle soccer print and during my search, I was reading a blog-friend’s blog and I spied a soccer print in one of her quilts. So, I messaged Riel and asked her if I could swap/buy some of it from her and she just sent it to me because she’s a nice person. Thank you, Riel!
I am happy to report that this quilt is proof that I am growing and improving as a quilter. My points do a pretty darn good job of matching up. As I put the top together, I discovered that my pieced borders actually ended up being the exact length they were supposed to be (hooray for consistent 1/4″ seams!). And as I hand stitched the binding to the back of the quilt, I noticed that this binding work may be my best to date (not that other recent binding work has been bad, it has been great; but for some reason this binding just seems to lay extra flat and my mitered corners seem extra crisp).
Other notes about this quilt…
For the first time ever, I pieced together two large batting scraps by using the multi-stitch zigzag stitch (not sure of the name of the stitch, but it’s not just a plain zig zag) and butting two freshly-cut straight edges of batting together. I was really surprised how flat the seam lays and how strong it is. In the finished quilt, the piecing is undetectable.
In order to expand my FMQing horizons, I am challenging myself not to meander/stipple quilt everything I do (I see conflicting definitions for these words, but I am referring to the curved/rounded/wiggly quilting stitches that generally do not touch or cross over another). I would like to branch out and become comfortable doodling with my machine so I can try more complicated freehand designs. This quilt is a first step in broadening my horizons.
I asked for ideas on how to quilt this, and Amanda suggested clouds. Using a slightly variegated pink thread, I made cloud-like lines around the airplanes. Surprisingly the pink thread looks fine on the mostly-green back. My “clouds” are somewhat like haphazard clam shells, but I think the overall look of it works (can you see the quilting in the picture above?). I also straight-line quilted by outlining the inside of each plane.
The backing is mostly a green airplane print from the Traffic Jam collection by Allison Jane Smith. I added the label into the pieced strip in the quilt back.
I created the label by typing out what I wanted the label to say on my computer, then I taped the fabric to my laptop screen (DIY light box), and finally I used a fabric pen to trace the words onto the fabric (I read about this technique somewhere in blogland, but I can’t remember the source). I really like how the label turned out and will use that method a lot more in the future.
This quilt (which finished around 42″ square) is already washed and ready to be wrapped and mailed to its new recipients. I hope they use it and enjoy looking at the quilt and seeing all of the elements just for them.
: : : : : FOOTNOTE : : : : : : :
Today was not the best day for quilt pictures (crazy wind, hazy), but it is what worked with our schedule. In keeping with the theme of the quilt, we headed to a nearby small airport to see what we could use as a backdrop. We happened upon a fighter jet (it looked to be a USMC plane, a F-18 possibly?) and several other smaller planes (trainers?) that were preparing to depart. They had their engines going and were really loud. Our three year old wanted to watch them after the photo taking (despite how she looks above, she was having fun), so we hung around for a bit while our other girls were napping in the car. When I told her that Gramps used to fly a plane like the fighter, she said, “WOW!” We ended up leaving before the planes took off (it was past lunchtime and our tummies were growling). It was neat to happen upon them there though.