December 14, 2016

Quilt 82: "Spirit Animals" - DONE!

When I was on vacation last October, I came across this gorgeous panel in a quilt shop ( "Spirit Animals" by Robert Kaufman):
(Click on any picture on this page to see a larger image)
I bought 2 of the panels, thinking a design with 12 images might make a good sized quilt.  I showed the panels to a friend a couple of weeks ago and she fell in love with the animals and commissioned me to make a quilt for her son's Christmas this year.

Here's the design I came up with - simple blocks in lattice with plain borders.:
Cutting the panels apart was slightly problematic.  The blocks inside the panels are bordered with a lovely gold metallic design - but there's no way to divide the blocks and retain that gold border.

I decided to cut away the gold border, leaving just the dark brown edge of the original block:

But as I worked, I quickly realized that, for each of the blocks, the actual distance between the gold metallic border and the cream block was different!  Fortunately I realized it fairly early - and, as you see in the photo below - in some cases I actually left a small amount of the gold on.  After measuring the distance on each block, I realized that I could cut 5/8" from the cream and have a small amount of the brown (and the thin black line bordering the cream).  As you can see in the block below, there's a tiny bit of gold still there, but it's well within the 1/4" seam allowance, and won't show once it's sewn.

Next I auditioned fabrics to decide what colours to frame the blocks in.  I really like the bright orange you see below.  It pulls up the orange and red tones in the animals, giving a very lively visual effect.  But the orange "fights" a little with the gold I want to use for my sashing and backing. 

I resolved this conflict by adding another chocolate border after the orange one.  That gave just enough visual separation and enhanced the "frame" effect I wanted for each block.

I chose Signature's "chamois" thread (which has a soft gold colour), and am using the "Blustery Breeze" groovy boards for the pattern.  This was actually a fairly bold choice, as the thread really shows up on the blue and chocolate brown borders.  After finishing the first pass (12 inches deep and all the way across) I was a little worried I'd made a mistake with the thread colour.  But by the time I got halfway through, I knew I'd made the right choice.

Here it is on the longarm:
The dark gold sashing between the blocks is done with a subtle print which slightly resembles leather. I used the same fabric for the backing: 
I'm a bit frustrated with my camera.  I've tried several times with and without flash to get a good shot
of the backing, but it always comes out washed-out looking.  The photos above and below this one
are truer to the golden shades in this fabric.
As you can see in the closeup below, the light gold thread fades into the animals pretty well, and is really only greatly visible in  the lattice and borders.  It's exactly the effect I wanted: gives the energetic, wild "spirit wind" feel overall, but doesn't overwhelm the animals, which are the central theme.

And here it is - FINISHED!  It turned out so well that I ordered a couple more panels.  I'm pretty sure someone else is going to want one of these (and there is time to get it done before Christmas).

67" x 78" - quilted on the longarm ("Blustery Breeze" groovy boards) - 100% cotton batting
This is the largest quilt I've done on the longarm.  Because my machine's frame is set up at 8 feed wide (instead of it's full 12 feet capacity), this is as wide as I can go.

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