Friday, December 22, 2017

Inspired by My Friends!

I was inspired by two friends to create this quilted book bag for my grandson.  My grandson will love it! He love books and he loves going to the library to get more!

In December, I purchased the children's book Cully's Quest for my grandson. The author is Carl Birk (a former classmate) and the artwork is by Jesus Martinez and Aisha Abbassi.  As I read the book, I enjoyed the pictures as much as the story. I loved the colors and the details.

Cully's Quest

The next day, I watched an Online Quilting Show that Mel Beach was the featured quilter.  She shared about making Modern Molas. I really wanted to try it!

Definition from Wikipedia ---"Molas are handmade using a reverse appliqué technique. Several layers (usually two to seven) of different-coloured cloth (usually cotton) are sewn together; the design is then formed by cutting away parts of each layer. The edges of the layers are then turned under and sewn down. Often, the stitches are nearly invisible. This is achieved by using a thread the same color as the layer being sewn, sewing blind stitches, and sewing tiny stitches. The finest molas have extremely fine stitching, made using tiny needles.

This closeup of a mola by Venancio Restrepo shows the layering of the different colours of cloth, and the fine stitching involved.
The largest pattern is typically cut from the top layer, and progressively smaller patterns from each subsequent layer, thus revealing the colours beneath in successive layers. This basic scheme can be varied by cutting through multiple layers at once, hence varying the sequence of colours; some molas also incorporate patches of contrasting colours, included in the design at certain points to introduce additional variations of colour.[3]" Definition from Wikipedia

I knew I wanted to make a book bag for my grandson and I wanted to try the Modern Mola process using my quilting machine and I loved the artwork in my new book.  I had to figure out how to combine the ideas.  I thought the dragon might be too detailed for the modern mola technique of the reverse applique'. I decided to try it anyway!  I contacted Carl to make sure it was OK to use the dragon design to make a book bag. I wasn't going to sell it. I wanted to make a gift and I told him I would share photos on my blog and of course share links to give proper credit to the artists. Carl said yes I could.

Here's a few photos of the process. This is not a tutorial, just a quick view of what I did. No words - just photos. Please keep in mind this is probably not the way Mel would teach it. It's just the way I did it. I was having fun. Plus the dragon is too detailed for this process of reverse applique', but I created it anyway.

Hours of clipping and trimming away the layers of fabric to reveal the colors.

It's ready to make into a tote bag!

Yes it had to say in the quilting --- Made with Love by Grandmama 2017

I like how it turned out and I know my grandson will love it.

Thanks Carl Birk and Mel Beach for inspiring me to create!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Memorial Quilt for a Child

My job is never boring!  I wonder how many posts I start with that line?

I was hired by a Mom's Facebook Group to make a memorial quilt for a little boy.  His Mom had been a member of their group and died suddenly. I don't know the whole story, but what I do know, is that Moms from all over the world created "hand" quilt blocks with little messages. They wanted to send their love and hugs through the creation of a memorial quilt. 

This post is for all my readers, but today it is especially for the Mom's Facebook Group, so they can see how the blocks all came together to create a quilt for the little boy who lost his Mom. As I constructed this quilt, I was overwhelmed with sadness and warmth at the same time.

This is how I made the memorial quilt: 

I started to lay out the quilt blocks in rows.

But rows looked too boring. A circular design would be best.

The quilt blocks were in assorted sizes and colors. I selected to use a neutral background fabric of grey. I squared them up in several sizes being very careful, not to cut off the designs as I trimmed them. Unfortunately, some of the designs will end up in the seam allowance as I had to sew it together and some people wrote all the way to the edge of their fabric. This happens all the time when people do memory quilts. It's Ok as they are all beautiful! 

There were 25 quilt blocks.
1 -  8" X 8"
3 -  6 1/2" X 6 1/2"
1 -  6" X 7"
4 -  5 1/2" X 5 1/2"
16 - 6" X 6"

With all these sizes, I had to design as I constructed the quilt top. I knew I could make it work and make it be super cool!

I had a plan. I would start in the center and work my way to the sides.

I put the largest one in the center on point and squared it up to 12 1/2" X 12 1/2".

The next largest blocks on the 4 sides. The 4 side blocks were different sizes, so I had to add side borders and then trim the borders to fit up against the center block. Some were shorter, so I had to add a border to the bottom of the strip to make them the same measurement as the corners which ended up being 7 3/4" X 7 3/4".

I put the smallest blocks on point in the 4 corners. See the photo. 

There was not enough room on my table. I moved to the floor for my design wall (floor). 

I added the rest of the blocks. Those were all 6" X 6" . That was the easiest part of the quilt design. The four corners would be on point and I needed borders in between the 3 blocks on each side. 

The four corners were squared up to 8 1/2" X 8 1/2" 
I added borders to the sides of each block (set of 3 quilt blocks in the strip) on all 4 sides. That side needed to be 8 1/2" tall so I added a strip to the bottom of each set of 3 to get the correct size.

I assembled the quilt top in sections. See photos.

To finish off the quilt top, I added a 3 inch wide border.

The quilt top measured 48" X 48". I love how the hands are in the circular design. They are from all over the world!  The quilt is not directional, so it can be viewed by any side.

It was ready to quilt! 

I selected 80/20 Cotton/Poly Batting and 2 colors of quilting thread. 

I decided Ribbon Quilting would be the best for this quilt.  The Mom's group had suggested musical notes be included in the quilting. I found a photo on the internet of musical notes and symbols. I used it as my guide as I freestyle quilted it. I do not mark or draw on the quilt. I manually move my quilting machine like a pencil across the quilt to create the Ribbon Quilting and the musical designs. 

First, I quilted with the Yellow/Orange thread.

And then with the blue thread.

I quilted around each hand and included a few hearts in the quilting.

The last step was the binding.  I selected a striped fabric to blend with all the colors of the quilt blocks. It really brought it together and finished it off very nicely.

It is ready to mail to the little boy, just in time for a special quilt hug from his Mom's friends from all over the world. 

I said at the beginning, my job is never boring, but maybe I should have said, it can be very emotional as a create quilts for memorials. I know how special quilts are for my loved ones, as I know this will be very special for this little boy. My heart goes out to the family and all of those who are grieving from this loss. May you find strength in the comfort your quilt (from all over the world) will bring to this little boy and his family.