When you walk into my house, the first thing you see is a beautiful quilt that I was given by my friend, Deb. She won it in a raffle, and offered it to me. I love it. It makes our home more homey. It meant so much to me that Deb thought of us when she was deciding what to do with her prize. Naturally, as a quilter, I have been waiting to pay Deb back for her wonderful gift. Then, one day, when I was home with a sick kid before Christmas, I got a phone call. Deb wanted to tell me herself that she was going to be retiring in February.
The minute I hung up the phone, I knew I was going to make her a signature quilt from all our friends at work. I finally had a way to thank her for her gift to me, while honouring her contributions to her team at our workplace.
Within a few days, I had come up with the idea of a lattice quilt by doing some pinterest searches. I found a simple example of a lattice quilt and read up on how to collect signatures on the blocks. I secretly messaged her daughter after finding out that they had redecorated her living room as a surprise gift, knowing that she would have a good sense of which colours to choose. She sent me a palette of turquoise, teals, light and mid-tone purples and light and mid-tone pinks. I chose a greige solid as the signature section and started piecing using a double-snowball technique. I double-stitched the pieces to make a whole stash of HST’s that I cut away and have saved for another project, someday.
Knowing that I would need to get things done FAST, I made sure I got most of the signatures I needed at work before Christmas vacation started. That meant chasing down a few friends with a sharpie and a clipboard covered in sandpaper a few times.
After arranging and re-arranging the signed units, I really wanted to use an ombré design that would gradually move from light to dark. I came up with a square-shaped layout that would use up all the signed squares and have a few empty ones for a few other staff that needed to get their signatures on the top later in the game. I then decided to frame it all in white, but I wanted to punch it up and inject it with a bit of modern. I decided to have a few extra signature squares outside of the square shape, and throw in a few extensions of the greige signature lattice in different lengths, balanced but not symmetrically matched across the border. By the end of Christmas vacation, the top was done.
I decided to piece the back, to use up the fabric I had purchased or used for the quilt, rather than use yardage. I used an improv Floating Squares approach, more or less (inspired by the work of Sherri Lynn Wood) to piece together squares of different sizes, and threw in a few unused signature blocks for good measure.
When the backing was nearly done, I got cold feet, and began to think it might be better to go with a single panel. I hated to waste all that hard work, and one of our friends was really sure it was the way to go. She said, ”If you use both, then she gets two quilts in one!” so in the end, I stuck with plan A. It was a challenge to quilt it, with all the layers, but it was worth the extra effort, in the end.
For basting, I tried out using pinmoors of my own crafting, a misadventure that I will surely detail here one day. I learned a lot about the pros and cons of straight pins, and let’s just say that I will either be ordering commercial pinmoors or taking another stab at it, in the hopes of having fewer stabbings during the quilting process.
I did run into some trouble with thread breaking and skipped stitches during the quilting of the swirls section. I learned a lot through that super-frustrating process, let me tell you!
I tried out my quilt labels, ordered online at http://www.wunderlabel.com for the first time, and found them to be quite nice. I also made a larger label on my computer and printed it on fabric. The label features our workplace’s logo the name of the quilt and some personalized words of recognition for Deb.
I opted to bind it in white, to continue the white border, on my friend Lorna’s advice, and I like how it turned out.
After all this was done, I had to do some hand stitching to hide some of the skipped stitches that I didn’t have the heart to pick out. Remember, ‘finished is better than perfect’!
On the day of the retirement party, I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see Deb’s reaction! She was really touched with the gesture and it was so great for me to know that she and her husband were very happy with both sides of the quilt. Not only did she feel it matched her living room, but she told me there are four spots in the house she is trying to choose between to decide where to display it!
Finish-A-Long peeps, this was my first finish of Q1, 2017 AND my first Q-A-L finish EVER!
Click HERE to see my first Finish-A-Long List
Next on the chopping block: A baby quilt for PJ!
This story has been posted with @quiltstories on Instagram 😀.