Friday, June 4, 2021

Sweeter Than Honey

 Since practically the beginning of my quilting journey I've had the plan to eventually make a quilt for each of my 4 siblings.  As with so many people this past year, I've thought long and hard about what I want to accomplish in my future and decided that these quilts needed to happen now, not in who knows how many years from now.

This first sibling quilt was for my oldest sister Tina, who also happens to be a quilter.  Long ago I started a quilt that I originally thought would be for her, but later decided it really wasn't her style.  She really likes bright fabrics like me and she's also a big Kate Spain fan.  Last summer, while reading through blogs, I came across a post by and an idea was hatched.  She created her Pathway Out of Here quilt with jelly roll strips but I wondered how it would look with wider strips.  I had a dessert roll (which is 5 inch strips) of Kate Spain's Honey Honey in my stash that would be perfect for this experiment.  Here's the result!

Sweeter Than Honey

 The first task was to figure out the progression of the prints.  I ended up using 16 of the 20 prints from the dessert roll. Since I have a vast collection of Kate Spain fabrics, using up the leftovers in a future project won't be a problem at all.
Being an accountant in my other life, the quilt math wasn't difficult. I just used graph paper to map out the cut sizes for each of the rows.  The center White pieces were 21 1/2" unfinished. Once the individual  pieces were cut, it was a breeze to sew it all together.  It finished at 64' x 72"
As soon as some customer quilts were done (paid work always comes first, of course), this was loaded on the frame and I was ready to have some fun with some freehand custom quilting.
I actually finished this quilt in November but couldn't post about it because she reads my blog. She recently came to visit for the weekend to quilt 3 of her own tops on my longarm machine so I was finally able to give it to her.
These are all the beautiful Glide threads that were used on the top.
Each row was stitched with a different design.  I scoured through may books to get inspiration and then drew out various options on graph paper to see how they played together.  The top row was initially only 1 inch wide piano keys but as I worked my way down the quilt, I knew it wasn't enough so I went back and added the side to side in every other row.
I literally decided which stitching design was going where as I went along.  The only rule I put on myself was to alternate the curvy type designs with the straight line designs. This row received some  simple meandering.
My purple disappearing marker was my best friend for spacing out the stitch lines evenly.
On some rows, I'd stitch one pass, such as the first set of this triangle design, and then wondered what it would look like if I echoed it a few times on either side.  This was the result. 
I truly enjoyed the freedom of coming up with ideas for each space.
This is another row where I initially did the first pass and knew that it needed more.  I was happy with the it after a few more lines were added.
For this quilt, I wanted simpler stitch designs, not heavy quilting.  That's not her taste and with all the busyness in most of the prints, I knew that it would be a waste of time since it really wouldn't show.  This row's treatment was a square meander.
I was glad that I have a variety of rulers to use so that I could stitch designs like this.
Here's another example of my experimenting, starting with one stitching pass and then going back to add more until I felt it was done.
The one challenge I found is that some of the ideas that I had drawn out on the graph paper didn't work well in these wider strips.  They were better suited for narrower areas. 
 I modified some stitch motifs such as the wishbone because it just didn't look right going up and down in the bigger area.  I definitely liked this side to side version better.
I've found that I really like coming up with straight line stitching ideas.  I can see more of this in my future on other projects.   
On her quilt Megan did small circles in the White strips and I knew that I wanted a similar motif for this area but again, the result after the first pass just wasn't enough. I went back added the overlapping circles and then it felt right.
I was completely thrilled with how this turned out and I can't wait to work on my next custom quilting project.  To say that Tina will thrilled with her gift is a massive understatement.  She loves it!
Although this fabric line came out many years ago, I was lucky enough to find a shop online that had enough of one of the prints for the backing.  In the future, I'm going to buy backing yardage from the fabric line even if I don't have plans yet for it.  Piecing a backing if it needs to be bigger is a lot easier than trying to find just the right print from another fabric line.
Being able to finally give this quilt to Tina was a great feeling and I know that she'll cherish it forever.  Keeping the secret was tough as I also couldn't post about it on Instagram so she wouldn't see it.
The quilt for the next sister is on it's way to her in South Carolina so stay tuned.  I was going to give it to her at my niece's upcoming wedding but she isn't able to attend.  I wish I could have given it to her in person but I didn't want her to wait to have it.  Who knows when we'll be able to get together again.

2 of you added your own colorful comments:

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Oh yay!! What a sweet finish - and it is just gorgeous!! She will cherish it for years!!

Needled Mom said...

What a great idea for quilting! It turned out beautifully.