Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Senior Quilt & A Crash Course

Alta Girls Basketball Booster Club has a tradition.  A good/bad tradition, depending on what kind of sewing skills and time you have or to the degree of an aesthetic OCD issue you may have. The senior moms get together and talk quilts.  Before the banquet in April, they sew a quilt for their senior child, or beg and bribe someone else to do it if they can't sew.  I've been panicking about this since Chloé's freshman year.  Did I want to learn to quilt or not?  Did I just want to get it done and not think too much about it?  Or did I want to do something really cool?  I was totally on the fence.  Either I dig in deep or not at all.

I can sew.  That's definitely not my problem.  But I have never quilted, not even a tie quilt with simple squares.  And I DO have a mild case of OCD.  I wish I was kidding.  Some moms were doing a t-shirt quilt using old t-shirts from their region and state wins.  Some were just doing a pieced quilt with the red and black color scheme.  Most have their state titles and awards embroidered on the quilt pieces.  I wasn't excited about anything really.  I hate red and black together for some reason and Chloé didn't want the black and red either because she wanted it to be something that she used her whole life.  Chloé has actually worn all of her t-shirts to death, so I didn't really have the t-shirt quilt option either.

Chloé told me to do whatever I wanted, she had complete trust in my ideas.  Thank you Chloé.  One less thing to worry about or try to work around.  Chloé is modern.  She loves feathers.  So I combined a couple quilt concepts and got the perfect quilt pattern for her after 3 months of stewing over it and $65 in quilting books from Amazon.  I knew nothing about quilting.  Absolutely nothing.  So I read every blog, talked to my experienced sister-in-law, picked brains at 3 quilt stores, and purchased an online class at Craftsy.  You can find it HERE.  An advanced crash quilting course is what I did for 4 days.  And then I just had to start.  The banquet was in 4 days.

So, I decided to DIG IN DEEP.

The above book had the pattern for my quilt top and you can find it HERE.
I loved this book.  I want to make more quilts after this.
I got the free pattern for the pieced feathers I used HERE.

The quilt strips alone took me several hours to cut and keep them all in a specific order.
Then you sew the strips together to make 3 long pieced strips.
I took the three finished pieces and sewed those together
Then I pieced the borders to the 3 finished strips
Took a break from the quilt top to create the back, these strips made up the feathers.
Four hawk feathers: One for each year she participated in basketball at Alta High.
The finished quilt back

I named each year with a title 

Ready for the actual quilting machine stitches after writing in a removable ink all ofo her favorite quotes, special phrases and awards she has received at Alta.  I kept having sudden worries that I was writing in a permanent marker.  Each time to check and make sure it dissolves in the ironing.  Each strip represented one of 3 main areas of her life:  Spiritual, Academic & Physical.  There are personal messages just for Chloé that only she will really understand throughout the quilt in an ivory thread and prominent quotes, awards and accomplishements are stitched in a grey thread.
 This is a sampling of the free hand quilting I did.  A quote that I used all the way around the perimeter of the quilt was by Marianne Williamson that we have used as our family mantra since the older girls were in junior high after seeing the movie Akeelah and the Bee.  Every child should see this movie.  We loved it and we loved the complete text after finding out where it originated.  See here for the full document.

I had 95% of it complete by the banquet.  And two months later, I still have 95% of it complete.  I need to finish this by graduation on Tuesday.  It's the project hanging over my head.  So I promised myself for graduation it would be done.  Procrastinator me.  My Monday post will be sharing the finished quilt.  It may be a 11:59 pm publish time, but I will post it.

Girl. Scouts. Honor.

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