Normally, if someone asked me to make them a quilt, I might be hesitant to agree. It's a commitment- in time and money. But I felt like I should do this for my brother, who's never really asked anything of me. I already knew he appreciated the previous quilts I had made for him, so I wasn't worried that my efforts would be taken for granted.
Before the summer, I really contemplated how I could use my ever-growing stash of Moda Lush fabrics. (Paint by Number deer, birds, flowers, etc.). I just could never figure it out- which makes me feel impatient and frustrated because I love those fabrics and I need to use them. Before my NH trip, I texted Will and asked him for a little direction of what he likes. He responded that he likes the color green.
(A sampling of Moda Lush fabrics by Erin Michael.)
The day before I left for NH, I was up late cramming fabrics into a suitcase and included a bunch of stash fabrics filled with green, blue, and some yellow. I decided that my summer project in NH would be focusing on making him that quilt. A big part of my motivation was that if I finished it in time, I would be able to give it to him in person and see his reaction. Sending quilty gifts is fine (well, except for my fear of losing something handmade and irreplaceable in the mail!) but it's so much better to see loved one's in-person reactions!
So I don't have any progress photos, this post just has details of the finished quilt. I pretty much only worked on this quilt late at night after my kids were in bed in July and August. I'll admit that I kind of had to force myself, sometimes, to make progress on it, because the days were long and tiring and I often did not feel like sewing. I was essentially a single parent and it was exhausting.
I decided to make a giant crazy nine patch lattice, a pattern that used to be on Elizabeth Hartman's blog (in lap size- I super-sized it for my tall brother):
It measured 98 x 110 approximately. I trimmed down the patchwork blocks to 7" with this handy ruler my mom had in her stash of sewing supplies. I used up lots of scraps and stash with this project. The color combination of my prints is probably not my most favorite color scheme I have ever done and I ran into a real problem when I tried to pair my crazy nine-patches with this Lizzy House dark green starry print. That print is SO dark green and did not go well with the 174 patchwork blocks I had already assembled- I nearly had a meltdown! I finally decided to visit a LQS (Bits 'N Pieces) and bought some Kona Bluegrass to be the background fabric for my quilt.
I was able to rent some time at my favorite place: Laurena's Longarm Quilting and had a great day there. I used the Statler Stitcher and chose a pattern called "Diagonal Plaid." I chose a green variegated thread for the quilting.
For the backing, it was tempting to order this Notting Hill print from the clearance section of Hawthorne Threads. But I would've needed at least 8.5 yards and had already blown my fabric budget for the summer. I decided to use what I had on hand including some steals from Marden's and a LQS in North Conway, a chunk of fabric from my mom's stash, and scraps from making the quilt top:
My brother was surprised to receive the quilt and he was happy and obliging to help me take some photos. I let his adorable girlfriend in on the secret before giving him the quilt and she was very excited for him and attested to how worn out his other quilts had become.
It was an interesting experience to have to put this quilt together at my mom's house with only the materials I had pre-packed. There were many times when I wanted to give up and just work on it back in Colorado later or even just give him one of my queen sized quilts from my stash of finished quilts. I think it was good for me to just keep working on it and have a tangible sewing goal for the summer, Being back home among family and friends was definitely an emotional rollercoaster and I think it was healthy for me to have a sewing project that helped ground me and my crazy feelings.
I have to be honest, I am not extremely proud of the color/fabric choices of this quilt but I am glad I pressed on and focused on "finished is better than perfect." I am not trying to say that I gave Will something I hated or wasn't completely proud of - I do wish I had picked a background color/fabric that harmonized better with the quilt blocks and just had a better vision for the end project from the beginning. Instead, I just started sewing and figured it out as I went and didn't end up loving the end result. It was also difficult to press on without access to my stash, books, and tools. I think if I hadn't had the deadline of trying to give it to him this summer, the hope of finishing a quilt for him may very well have dragged on for another few years. I know he's happy to have it and isn't as concerned about my artistic goals and aspirations. He wanted a quilt and he likes green, there's no need to beat myself up about not creating some kind of amazing masterpiece. Like for the backing, it would've been silly of me to spend $70 on a perfectly coordinated fabric- using what I had worked just as well and was just as appreciated.
Thanks for reading: sometimes I see this blog as a bit of an online journal and writing this all out helps me complete the experience of a project by processing all of the highs and lows as well as my feelings on the experience of making.
Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday.