This quilt came-to-be in a most interesting sort of way.
I got an email from a gal (“K”) who found a picture of my Trudy Trimmings quilt through a Google image search. She and her husband are expecting their first child, a boy, in April and they were having a hard time finding a quilt that would fit into their nursery design. She asked if, by chance, I made custom quilts to sell.
In the past, I have turned down offers to make commissioned quilts (I have learned that trying to make money from a much-loved hobby is one way to start hating a hobby). Somehow though, this inquiry seemed different. K’s request seemed doable and desirable. She wanted muted blues and greys (like Trudy’s Arse Kicking Quilt) and liked the design of Skipping in the Shade. Those colors, that design and the quilt size were all appealing to me, so I said yes to the commission.
K and I emailed back and forth a few times to figure out the specifics for her quilt (at this point, I asked if I could adjust the design from the Skipping quilt and also decided to add in an accent color from the nursery). In those emails, I asked K to tell me a little bit about herself and her husband. If I was going to put my heart into this quilt, I wanted to know who I was making it for. Through this interviewing, we learned that there is only one degree of separation between us:
- her sister and I lived in the same dorm our freshmen year at college and her sister is best friends with two of my sorority sisters (from my pledge class). When she told me her sister’s name, I could immediately picture who she was.
In addition to that, we also discovered that we:
- went to the same college (we were not there at the same time; she’s five years younger than me)
- had the same major
- interned at the same company
- played soccer
- had knee surgery right before going to college
- are/were both 30 when we are/were expecting our first child with a due date in April
Shortly after we started emailing, we became Facebook friends and when we did, we already had five friends in common (and my husband has two friends in common with her, different from my friends).
How crazy is all of that?! This quilt commission was just meant to be.
Now, on with the specifics of the quilt…
I was a tad excited as I gathered and purchased fabrics for this quilt. There ended up being about one hundred different prints in the finished piece. There is a little bit of everything in it: modern, traditional, novelty, organic, Japanese, 30s repro, Civil War repro, double gauze, batik, canvas and many more. While most of the prints in this quilt would work for any boy quilt, many of them were selected specifically for K and her husband with nods to their hobbies, interests, occupations and life experiences. I loved being able to personalize it in this way and also turn it into a bit of a modern day i-spy quilt.
I used a modified version of Kate Conklin‘s quick-sticks technique to construct the blocks. To change it up a little bit, I did not use the straight edge on my ruler to guide my rotary cutter while cutting fabric during block construction. I have been taken up with the idea of freehand cutting and wanted to incorporate that method into this quilt. I like how the “sticks” have an organic and improv feel to them because of the soft curves that resulted from the freehand cutting.
While piecing the top, I started to doubt my design, fearing that the mottled blue and gray + mottled yellow was too busy. But with the help of flickr peeps, I was assured that the yellow did not make the design too busy. [Thanks flickr peeps!]
The back has large cuts of Castle Town in royal blue from Castle Peeps by Lizzy House. And the binding — Pindot in navy by Michael Miller — is machine sewed to the front and hand stitched to the back.
I had originally planned to quilt in a meandering stipple but as the quilt top came together, I felt like the quilt wanted something different than that. Instead, I quasi-echo quilted around the “sticks” in each row. It is hard to explain what I did; you can see the design easiest on the back. Most of it was quilted using a medium blue thread. The two rows of yellow blocks were quilted with a yellow thread.
I have sent K pictures of the finished quilt and she seems very happy with the result. The quilt will go in the mail this week and should make it to her in time for her baby shower next weekend.
This custom quilt experience went very well and I already have a few more commissioned quilts lined up. I really do not mind doing commissioned work, as long as I am in control of the design and fabric selection. 😉