October 5, 2016

Quilt 74: Beth's Yellow Rose of Texas - DONE!

I've been wanting to do something special for Beth - who learned last November that her breast cancer has returned.  She's now battling stage 4 breast cancer - bravely facing her new "normal" (as she calls it) and doing with incredible grace and strength.  So Beth should have a quilt.

Yellow is her favorite colour, and yellow roses her favorite flower.  Together we went shopping "long distance" (I'm in Melbourne, Australia, she's in Florida) - and found this print online:

(Click this or any other picture on this page to see a larger image)

The photographs don't do it justice - it's 10 times lovelier than what you see.  Anyway, Beth likes it, so that's what we start with.

Now those roses have to be the center of the design.  Whatever I do with this, the roses are paramount and must not be upstaged by other fabrics.  I felt that a simple design would be best - something with large spaces of the print displayed.  I pulled out my Quilt Design Wizard software and got to work.  Here's what I came up with:
These simple pin-wheel blocks will be easy and straight-forward.  The blocks will be about 11.5" wide - making the triangles large enough to display the roses without chopping them up too much.

So I began by cutting out 24 7" square blocks and then cutting them diagonally, to get the triangles.  In the photo below, you can see the coordinating print I found to marry with them (Robert Kaufman, of COURSE!):
It will take 8 triangles (4 of each of the 2 fabrics) to make one block.  Here are the 8 triangles...
And here they are rotated so you can see the pinwheel.  You know where this is going, don't you?!?!
So I stitched the triangles together (as you see below) and carefully pressed the seams so that the light fabric folds OVER the dark fabric.  This is because the rose print has a fine white background, and if the dark fabric (or any loose threads) is exposed under the rose print, it will show.

I want sharp points in the center of my pinwheels.  The only way to ensure this is to stitch the triangles together - and start at the "pointy end.  That way I can carefully match up the seams and be VERY sure the points will be sharp.
So far I've got 2 rectangular blocks - now ready to join them to make the complete pinwheel.  But there's a problem.  All that fabric from the "points" is bunching up in the center of the block - and it's going to make a very distinct "bump" right in the center.  THAT I don't want.
So here's what I did (below)  I pressed that center seam from the center (instead of folding as we usually do with quilt seams.  Yeah... I know I'm breaking "the rules" - but the final product has much less of a "bump" - and because I'm going to tightly quilt this project, I'm not worried about stress on the seam.
And here it is!  First block completed (and in a very short time, I might add).  One down, 11 to go.
So off I went, merrily stitching away - whipping through these pinwheel blocks and didn't notice I had a problem until I got them all together.  Look below... can you see it?

5 of the 12 blocks are like the one on the right.  The rest are like the one on the left...REVERSED!  So...  out comes my seam-ripper (aka "unpicker") and I had to pull those 5 blocks apart and re-do them.

But it all got done.  Here's the final quilt - it turned out GREAT!
59" x 72" - polyester batting, quilted on the longarm (free motion loop-d-loops)
This is, again, one of those times when the camera fails to catch the colours.  It's so much prettier in real life than in the photo.

Below is a closeup of the stitching, showing the front and back.  I opted for simple loop-d-loops in yellow thread, which pretty much disappears into the roese print, but is visible against the dark green and slightly visible against the yellow.
All-in-all, I'm delighted with it, and VERY glad I opted to do a design with large sections in the blocks so that the roses come through so well.

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