Thursday, January 12, 2017

There's No Place Like Home!

   Here it is---one of the posts that I have been waiting to write and share! I am soooooo excited to share this!!!! I had to wait to give it back to the owner before I posted anything on it. I am so excited to share this quilt that one of my customers pieced-Rochelle. It is a pattern from Bonnie Hunter. It is the scrappy house quilt. It is beautiful in every way--- and I have to say-Rochelle, you did an awesome job on this quilt top!!! This is Rochelle's first scrappy quilt. I remember when she was starting it and she was trying to let go and not control the color combinations of each house. When you are starting to be scrappy, there really is a switch in your brain that has to be flipped, because we as quilters are so used to being in control and being specific on what goes where. I think quilting scrappy really helps to allow your creative juices to flow. Rochelle and I spoke about this a few times. I had suggested to throw the material scraps in a bag and just reach in and grab. What ever you have in your hand, then use it no matter what. I am not sure if she used that suggestion, but for me, it does help.

   I was given this quilt top a couple of months ago. I was so thrilled to receive it. I love this quilt.So many different scraps of fabric, so many colors. It is so darn cute! There is something about the house block that I love.  And of course, with me loving Bonnie Hunter and this is her pattern---well, it is a match made in heaven!!!! I myself. have a House Quilt on my "To Do List". Rochelle worked diligently on this quilt top. She put in a great deal of time and effort. Slowly the top grew. It was such a delight to visit her in the shop and see how her house blocks were coming along. If memory serves me right, she had other ladies come to the shop and sew house blocks for their own quilts. I would love to see their quilt tops. I bet they had so much fun getting together, sharing fabric and ideas and watching each others houses grow into beautiful neighborhoods!

   Well, when I was given this quilt top- I was told these sweet 5 words: "Do what ever you want". As a quilter, as a longarmer, I can not tell you what that does to your whole complete body to hear that from a customer. It is like all the neurons,atoms and protons are firing off in your body at once. Like a virtual Forth of July going off in your head. My mind started going in a million directions at once on all of the possibilities---not to mention if I wanted to use matching thread or contrasting thread. Oh decisions, decisions, decisions....! I can not tell you how many times I would lay the top out and look at it. I would get my doodle pad out and start drawing designs. I bought several shades of various colors of Glide thread to start off with. There were so many thoughts floating through my head, I think it would immobilize me, because I would catch myself standing in my studio just starring off- stuck in my own little world of creativity. This happened more then I want to admit.

   When I read what Rochelle had appliqued on the top: "There's No Place Like Home". It set me off into a sort of a Wizard of Oz type of thinking. I was sort of thinking of all those houses in Munchkin Land--the brick pathways, the flowers, the trees, the house trimmings. With that in mind, I knew I wanted real type of flowers, and then not so real type. I wanted pathways, I wanted a sun in the lighter colors, and none in the dark-as if it was night. I wanted smoke coming out of the chimneys. I decided on using matching and slightly contrasting color of threads. I was thinking of various custom quilting designs I could use in the sashings and boarders. I recently purchased my robotic system for my Long Arm- so I knew I wanted to incorporate that also. So.......... with all of those thoughts and ideas running crazy in my head....I started with all the stitch in the ditch in the sashings and boarders first. I then used the computer to do some block stitches in 3 of the boarders and in all of the corner stone blocks. In the sashings, I used matching thread and did a variation of a ribbon candy stitch. I did a "lacy" type of stitch surrounding the appliqued letters to help make them pop. I then did my free motion style of feathering around the whole boarder of the quilt. After all of that--the top was pretty much sewn to the backing, so I felt confident to move the top back and forth on the frame so that I can start in on the house blocks.

   I can't say that by stitching the house blocks was were all the fun began---because truthfully, I was having fun from the start. I loved combining my computer program with my free motion. Awesome!!! But, I can honestly say, that my creative mind was really "running full speed ahead" while doing the blocks. Out came my doodle book and all my different colored of threads and away I went. It took me awhile to do it all. I did not rush, I enjoyed the whole process. It took me almost 2 months to do this quilt---but and I mean BUT----I had two big holidays in the middle of all this and kids coming and going from College. Trying to balance all of this was a bit tricky.

    I remember the feeling of completing the last block. I couldn't believe it was done. I stood in awe just looking at the whole top---moving it forward and backward on the frame. I stopped counting bobbins after the 15th one. To me, the quilt is beautiful. With the scrappy piecing from Rochelle, and the custom quilting on the top---this is a truly one of a kind quilt. It is special. It is unique. Oh--I want one! Here are some pictures that I took. I wish I was a much better photographer because these pictures don't do the quilt justice. These pictures were all taken with the quilt unbound. I can hardly wait to see it with the binding on it.
Here it is... all of it's scrappy goodness!!!

This is the top of the quilt with all of the appliqued letters. Can you see the lacy stitching I did around the letters?

Love the teddy bear in the window. Great fussy cut job Rochelle!

This house has a whimsical inspired landscaping

Outside capstone block with matching thread. Design is from my computer.

These stitches are from my computer also. I put them in the middle of the outside boarders with the free motion feathering to the right and left of it

Some of my free motion feather stitch on outside boarder

More feathering. I love to do feathers.

More whimsical block stitching. It is very difficult to see the design in the grey blocks. I used  matching thread. Those designs are from the computer also.