Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's finished - the Kids' Art Quilt

Whew! I finally have a chance to write the post about the kids' art quilt that I recently finished for Sunshine's school. I'm happy to tell you that I delivered it a week and a half ago, a few hours before they had their back to school bash, and they were beyond thrilled.  The art teacher who requested this quilt actually cried when she saw it so I believe that counts a "Mission Accomplished".  Therefore I'm happy to reveal to all of you....

Our Own Art
I am totally thrilled with the way this one turned out and I love it even more than the kids art quilt that I made last year. It is just so bright and colorful and fun.
The school's name was appliqued using their actual letterhead font in the school's colors.
Although it is really hard to see in this picture, I straight stitched around the edge of each letter in matching thread.
The school's letterhead has a daisy as the dot for the i so that is what I did too.
As I was trying to quilt this I shared with you my struggles to come up with the right quilting design in the right color. In the end and as a total surprise to me, after testing out all of your thread color suggestions, I ended up liking the most the Glide 10GC3 Cool Gray. If you look at the color on their website, it looks a lot darker than it is in reality and I think it works perfectly on this quilt. It shows up just enough without competing with any of the sashing colors too much.
The right quilting design was my other angst besides the thread color choice and while drawing out many of your suggestions on a photo printout of the top, I had an epiphany that totally changed my complete way of thinking about the quilting design for this one.

I think that one of the biggest problems with what I had been trying, besides the fact that this was only 1 inch wide sashing and I'm not an expert at this yet, is that I was trying to quilt it as an adult would quilt it, all neat and perfectly spaced. Then during the doodling session, I remembered that when the art teacher and I were talking during the planning stages we talked about wanting to make this quilt look like the kids did it, or at least as much of it as possible. So that was my epiphany! I needed to quilt it as if my kids were doing it instead of me. Once I tried that and completed the 1st row, I knew I was on the right track.  I quilted it with ribbons as if the kids were trying really hard to make it look good but also knowing that it would be a little wonky.  To me this approach totally worked. It truly mimicked the "all over the place" look and feel of the kids' blocks and does look like kids work.
The art teacher provided the border fabric and this helped to reinforce the quilting design since the print is of kids' drawings. I did simple loopy quilting in that area.
The binding is a mix of one half WOF strips from all the solid colors used in the sashing.
As usual, I sewed the first side of the binding as normal but when it came time to sew down the back side, I kept the same epiphany in mind.  The kids would not have sewn it down by hand as I had been planning to do, so instead I did a decorative elongated serpentine line, just a little unevenly spaced in areas, that again I think blends well with the rest of the stitching.
The school's director and all the teachers were so happy with the final result.  I was a bit worried that they wouldn't understand my quilting design idea but they totally "got" it and agreed with my take on it. To do anything else for the quilting wouldn't have made it look like the kids themselves did it, which is what they wanted.
The quilt is now hanging in the school's front lobby for all to see as they enter and I keep hearing back every day how the kids from last year continue to look for their own blocks and the new kids at the school this year love checking out all of them too. And the new kids are asking if they get to make a quilt block too.
Overall this quilt was a joy to make and I'm so happy that they love it so. It definitely taught me a lesson about how sometimes I need to think outside the box to find the perfect solution.
Today I'm going to join up with a few linky parties.

Fresh Poppy Design
 
IMG_6373
Fort Worth Fabric Studio


24 of you added your own colorful comments:

  1. Oh my gosh Michelle! I absolutely love it! All the little squares of art work are so bright and cheerful and the sashings and quilting are perfect! Awesome job!

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  2. Just Amazing Michele! What an awesome job you did. And yes, your quilting is perfect. What a treasure.

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  3. Oh, you'd better link up this treasure on Friday too - it's awesome!!!

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  4. Oh wow! it's awesome, did they color onto fabrics? or did you print onto fabrics? I hope they DISPLAY it at school!

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  5. What a fun, fun quilt! The kids will love seeing it in the lobby and pointing out who's who in the blocks. Wonderful, carefree job... just the way kids would want it!

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  6. What a wonderful way to honiotnthe kids art, the teachers and the school. Girl..you should be very proud. I love it and your dedication! Way to pay it forward!

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  7. Fabulous quilt. Totally agree with your choice of quilting design. Well done!

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  8. What a great quilt! I love this whole idea and you did a great job! Thanks for sharing it.

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  9. That's amazing! I adore all the little details you put into it from the borders to the not-perfect quilting to look like the students did it. Love it!

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  10. Michelle----It's beautiful! Do you auction if off? It would make a fortune for your school!

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  11. It looks fabulous! Mission accomplished.

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  12. What a great quilt! I love original art quilts. You should be VERY proud.

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  13. Adorable! Both their artwork and everything you did with it. How is your quilting machine turning out for you?

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  14. What a fantastic quilt for the school. I'm sure the kids are having fun looking for their blocks, with new students hoping they get to help make a quilt too! Fun back fabric!

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  15. Good words of quilting advice!I couldn't agree with you more!! It's absolutely adorable. I loved looking at each square! The children's art work is just precious!! This a true gift that will be forever treasured!

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  16. The quilt is lovely and I'm sure the school pupils are very grateful to you. It must look lovely hanging in the school. Thank you for explaining how it all came together.

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  17. A wonderful finish it looks amazing...love all the kids artwork. A beautiful showcase keepsake for them!!!

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  18. What a great idea and this has turned out so well - the kids must be really proud! Your quilting idea was perfect too.

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  19. What a fabulous finish! The kids' art is wonderful and you made it all come together perfectly.

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  20. Michele!

    Incredible! What a joyful, vibrant, creative quilt. Shine on!

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  21. What a wonderful treasure! Great job, Michele!

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I enjoy reading each and every comment that you share. And isn't that what it is all about....sharing.