Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Girls #2 - Donna's Quilt

In my last post I summed up my group of girlfriends pretty well, so this post will not be nearly as long, but I think each girl, and each quilt, deserves their own entry. Next up this month was Donna.

I think when I look at the whole group of us, Donna is the rock. It's not always easy, but she has finds a way to balance A LOT on her plate and still be a constant support to those around her. She is the one I turn to when I'm lost, and whether she realizes it or not somehow I end up 'found' in no time at all. A good cup of coffee on her porch, Sunday dinner at Pei Wei, or a Wednesday yoga session in her garage and it just seems to calm me down. She has the gathering house and I can't even come close to counting the number of birthdays, holidays, etc. we have celebrated there. Not only is she a wonderful friend, but an unbelievable mom to my favorite 7 year old Roxy. All of this together is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm so glad we are 'neighbors' now, and can't imagine it being any different. This kind of sums it up though.....

So onto the quilt. A while back I asked the girls to send me some ideas for colors, shapes, designs, etc. that they would like. In all fairness it was a pretty broad questions, but Donna's answer by far took the cake. Her reply, and I quote:

"...I like flying pigs in any color, hearts, polka dots, Xs and Os, and weenie dogs..."

I'm not even kidding. Megan gave the best response: "You're weird." I pondered this one for quite a while. How the heck do you take all this and put it into a quilt? I mean hearts with Xs and Os are easy, but would be very Valentines. Oh, and where in the world do I find weenie dog fabric? Yeah, this was a tough one.

I searched online for different polka dot quilts. I figured I would start with the easiest of the patterns she mentioned and work from there. In doing that I came across this circle quilt from Bijou Lovely. It's not exactly what I was thinking, but it was enough to get the creative juices flowing.

Next stop, fabric! Being the procrastiquilter that I am I did not have enough time to order online, so I did the dreaded Joann's trip. Don't get me wrong, I luck out there a lot, but it's just not ideal. I decided once I was there to start with the hardest fabrics and then coordinate with those. This meant I was searching for flying pigs and weenie dogs. Lord help me!

I struck out on the flying pigs. There were pigs, there were angels, but the two combined, no go. Even when I looked later online, there was a serious lacking of flying pigs. Can someone work some Spoonflower magic for me?

Weenie dogs on the other hand, appear to be all the rage! Who knew? I first found this one...

Seriously... Weenie dogs in sweaters? Adorable!
It was almost perfect, but red is not really the color I think of when I think of Donna. It was a little over saturated, so I decided to keep looking. And then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted this....

Dachshunds in rain boots! Um, yes please!
I'm not so much an OMG sqee kinda girl, but this is some seriously cute fabric. I also lucked out that there was about 4 yards left. I bought it all because you never know when you will need a good dog fabric, right? The easy part came after locating this one. I decided to look for the other elements in coordinating colors. The polka dots and hearts were easy, and I found a great graphic floral and a fun chevron that fit perfectly.

In comes procrastiquilter again, and work took over my life for a few days. I got the fabric cut and the backing measured, but the final piecing and quilting had to wait until Saturday. You guessed it, the day before her birthday. Do you see a pattern developing here?

I created some basic circle templates with card stock. If you can't tell, I used a drinking glass, coffee mug, dessert plate and dinner plate as templates. I found that these four make a great variety.

After tracing the templates onto fusible I cut, cut, and cut some more. For each set I layered about five pieces of fusible together, pinned and cut. For me, this is a huge time saver. Being so rotary cutter dependent makes me dread having to cut things by hand.

Once I had what I thought would be a good number of circles I cut fabric. This might sound a little backwards to some people who like to iron on fusible before cutting the circles, but I was really unsure of the layout, so I decided to cut the fabric first, then iron.

I don't even want to tell you how many times I moved these around. Up and down and back and forth. Switching colors, sizes, rotating designs, etc. Finally I said enough is enough and started ironing. Maybe this is common knowledge, but I will share it anyway. After ironing the fusible to each circle I score them with an X with a needle.  This makes it so much easier for me to rip off each little piece of the pie, rather than trying to pick off the paper. This is especially helpful where there are no sharp edges or corners!

So fabric ironed to fusible, and fusible circles ironed to the backing, it was already time to baste the quilt! At this point I got a little over confident on my time schedule and took a nap. Big mistake! Oh well, lesson (not) learned. So, all well rested I got back to work basting. I'm an over pinner. I'm not careful about smoothing and checking while I'm quilting, so I have found it works better for me in the long run. You have to find what works best for you.

Still feeling pretty confident on time I took another break to hang out with the boyfriend. I'm not sure I've mentioned it before, but he is in nursing school. That means that when are both home, and he's not studying, I try and take advantage! So yeah, another big mistake on timing, but well worth it. Now, onto quilting. I stuck with what I know and did a mixed up meander. No real good process pictures of it, but this gives you an idea. My stitching is not as even as I would like, but I am getting better. I think.

So I took my time on this part and before I knew it, it was 2:30am. Oops. At least I had a nap, right?! I whipped up some binding (without measuring of course) and took a quick coffee break. At this point I was seriously regretting the whole nap/dinner/boyfriend time I took. LOL

3am still binding. This picture also gives you a good idea on my whole spool binding deal. I move my thread over to the horizontal, and put an empty bobbin on the vertical spool holder thing (does this have a name?) with my binding spool on top. This keeps it out of the way (empty bobbin gives it height to be over top of the thread spool), untangled, and the best part, I don't pin and it doesn't matter. I just pull the binding off bit by bit and it feeds through the machine. Easy peasy.

UPDATE to answer a question: Yes, that is the machine I do all my quilting on. It is a Huskystar C10 that I think I bought back in 2005 or 2006? I tried to find one on sale somewhere to find out the real details on it, but apparently they don't really exist. Not surprised. So yeah, it's got 5.5 inches under the harp there that I shove all my quilts through. Good times. It has tension issues, and it likes to break needles, but that's ok. It's what I have, and I have learned to work around, and most of the time laugh at, her little quirks. Would I like a new machine? Of course! Can we afford one? Not at all. Oh well, it's something to work towards! Goals are good!

Side note on the UPDATE: I named my machine Mardell after my grandmother. She lived across the country, so I never got to sew with her, but she is still my inspiration. Oh, and naming your machine after your dead grandmother is great until she acts up and then it sounds like I'm yelling at my grandmother's to settle down among other colorful expressions.

Okay, sorry about that. Back to the quilt. I finished up around 4am, just in time to throw it in the wash, have a quick 4 hour snooze, toss it in the dryer, and then off to Donna's for birthday breakfast. Again, don't know how I finished, but I did. I amaze even myself. So Donna literally jumped up and down while saying "I wanna see, I wanna see, I wanna see." I had been teasing her all day with little snaps on instagram. Little jewels like this one that kept her in suspense. Even made it black and white so she couldn't see the colors. Sneaky sneaky!

So without further ado, Donna's birthday quilt!
Added a "D" at the bottom in hopes that she could keep it from Roxy ;)

Only one time through the dryer, so I'm hoping the circle edges will continue to fray.

So in love with this backing!

  That's all folks. Now, I need a nap!


  1. You are so unbelievably talented!! Let me know when you aren't quilting for friends... I'd love to buy one from you!! :)

    1. Thanks Carmen! I actually have a gap in my quilting schedule in May. Good timing! Let me know if you want to get together to chat about what you want, what you want to spend, etc. I'm traveling Friday through Wed but then I'm FREE!

  2. I love you too Carly. Love the back story on my awesome quilt. I'm glad your my neighbor and my friend!

  3. Inspiring! You have your mojo back! -- Lynda D. from N.B. Canada