Saturday, August 15, 2015

Posies and Tweets awaits a great-great-niece!

I'm blessed to be great auntie to my nieces' and nephew's children. They're all growing up so fast with two of my great-nieces now married. The oldest had her daughter in December 2013. I made Opal's Owl for her from the Remember Whooo Loves You pattern. Little Opal didn't get her quilt until her first birthday because I entered it in the county and state fairs where it won blue ribbons! The quilts I have made for my great-nieces' babies were chosen because the girls' MomMom, my sister-in-law Cindy, truly loved Irish Chain quilt patterns. It seems like nearly all of the UFOs she left behind when we lost her to cancer were Irish Chains, from miniatures to full size quilts. I stitch little bit of their MomMom (gramma) into each quilt that I make for them by choosing the pattern she loved most.
Remember Whooo Loves You for Opal
My middle great-niece and her husband just celebrated their first anniversary and are due with their first child--a baby girl--any day. I spoke to my niece several months ago and asked if they wanted me to make a quilt for the new baby. I got a definite Yes as I'm now filling my sister-in-law's shoes as great-auntie/quilter. While spending a getaway weekend in Branson, MO, my friend and I went to several quilt shops where I found some fabulous "shabby chic" fabrics that my niece said would be perfect after I messaged a picture to her. That was the beginning of Posies and Tweets, yet another Irish Chain baby quilt.
My niece said these fabrics were a perfect "shabby chic" for this quilt
This time I chose to make a double Irish Chain out of the soft brown and light blue and feature the pink print with the birds sitting on blossoming branches in the offset blocks. I played with the layout in EQ7 in order to get a sense of what size blocks I would need to make the scale I wanted for the baby quilt. Once I knew what sizes I needed, I cut the strips and strip-pieced the chain blocks as much as I could to speed up the piecing. Once the blocks were made and rows were layed out, I sewed rows together and pretty quickly had the top completed.

I added an inner border of the brown before adding the final border of the pink, pinned the layers and started quilting. I had purchased enough pink flannel to back it with, but thought the finished size would be smaller. I had come up short, but with a strip of leftover blocks added along one edge, I made it stretch quite nicely. I ditched all of the seams before quilting simple orange peel in each of the brown squares to make the chain pop, added swirls in the brown inner border, and swirly feathers around the outside border. However, I was stumped how to add something special to the pink blocks.

Looking at the quilt from the back after completing all of the stitching in the ditch, I could see possibilities, but wasn't sure how to accomplished the look I wanted. Then, while sitting at my Sweet Sixteen, I happened to spot a set of rulers I had purchased recently that include half-circles. I had a light-bulb moment and thought how fun it would be to add some curves to all of that straight piecing.
Ditch work complete and contemplating what to do next.
Being a huge fan of 54-40 or Fight blocks made with tri-rec units that create a curved look, I wondered about using the half-circle rulers to create curves where there were none. I got out my chacoliner and drew four half-circles on point in each of the pink blocks, making an on-point curved diamond in each. Following those lines, I quilted the curves and added a variety of free motion flowers in the pink blocks to complete the quilting.
The half-circle rulers added the perfect touch of curves to soften all of the straight piecing
As I was adding the final stitches to the binding, my granddaughter and I talked about what to name this quilt. We came up with Posies & Tweets because of the pretty little blossoms on the branches the birds are sitting on. I'm hoping that once little Maddy arrives that I'll get a picture of her wrapped up in her quilt to add to my scrapbook. Welcome to the world, Madelyn Estella!

A week or so into making the quilt, I got a phone call from my niece letting me know that the baby shower was scheduled for July 11 in Fresno, California. I knew I wouldn't get to attend, but had a deadline by which to get the quilt finished and shipped in time for the shower. Amazingly, I made it! I was so excited to have it done that I packaged it up and had it ready to go to the post office when I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of the completed quilt! I carefully slit the tape on the bottom of the box (the label was over the top flap, securely taped down), took it out and hung it up in my living room and took several pictures. Then it was back in the box and off to the post office.
It's amazing what we can accomplish with a request and a deadline to go with it. This quilt was completed in just a few short weeks around my teaching schedule. Fabrics were purchased the first weekend in June and it was shipped the first week of July in time to arrive the day of the shower.
I hope you've enjoyed this journey of love, making a quilt for my newest great-great-niece.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

1 comment:

  1. How very beautiful! I love your fabric selections and the quilting enhances your Irish Chain design perfectly - it will be much loved!