Latest Quilt Of Valor

I love working on Quilt of Valor projects. They are randomly assigned, and when they are, I get an email and communication begins with the quilt maker. It has always been positive, and simple, and lately it seems like the quilt maker just wants me to provide batting and quilt it, then send it back to them for the finish. That’s fine by me :).

When the quilt arrives, I am eager to see what the quilt maker has chosen as far as pattern and color. It is often red, white and blue, but not always! There are a variety of patterns and degrees of difficulty to these quilts, which means I need to carefully choose the quilting stitching I want to use. One style will not work for all.

But I also know that this quilt was made with a veteran in mind. And I quilt it with that reverence. I am so proud to be able to give back in this manner.

I was super excited this time, despite being completely unsure of how it was going to turn out when I first opened the box. Once I took the quilt out I noticed that near every square had more than one fabric with stars in it. But I think stars need to be WITH something to look good. I’ve done a meander with stars, loops with stars, but those didn’t seem just right for this quilt.

And then it came to me. The blue fabric has shooting stars. I have quilted a flame-like meander. I thought, I should combine those because the streaks would make this look like shooting stars!

OK, now to select the thread. Well, when I have QOV’s that are red, white and blue, I like to use my variegated thread in those colors. Sometimes that can prove difficult. This quilt had more of a cream color to the top, and a plain white muslin back. Hmmm. Wait! Variegated thread in the bobbin is easy, so if I use that for the back, and then a cream on top, I will satisfy my color requirements and not have to deal with thread breakage issues!

So I got to work, and quickly finished. I am very pleased with the result!

Recycling? Upcycling? Let’s just say not wasting

I’m speaking specifically about my batting, but I did actually have to go through my cutting scrap and pull out the bits of flannel that were larger than about 1″ square. I just didn’t feel right throwing it out because I can use it for SOMETHING!!

I was cutting it because I have so much flannel and Homespun and I knew I wanted to make a rag quilt. I’ll put up pix when it’s done, which will be a while… sorry. Anyway, I cut up a bunch of squares and counted them, thinking I could make a bunch of these quilts. Nope, I had to cut about 300 more squares to reach my 800+ total to make a double sided rag quilt that would measure around 70″ square. So back to cutting flannels. 

Today I decided to cut the batting squares for the center of each square for the quilt. I cut my flannel to 4.5″ square, so I cut the batting between 3-3.5″ squares. Any batting that was large I left whole as a good piece for a charity or personal quilt (piecing batting is not uncommon, it’s just not done in customer quilts).

I’m glad I did this because I have a better idea of my stock of cut black, cotton and poly blend batting. And where I have put them. That’s the trouble with getting organized – I can never find anything afterwards.

So any batting, ANY, like wool, poly and cotton, that was a strip I cut, which significantly reduced my ‘stash’. But not all the trimmings to make my batting squares were little bits. There were some bits that were 2″ wide!

If you have a longarm machine, then you may know where I’m going. Some longarmers will swear not to use batting for cleaning, but some of us will use it and our machines still work just fine. It’s also great for dousing with rubbing alcohol to clean the wheels and tracks on my machine. So these little squares are useful, and I’d rather have an abundance at some times than run out and have to cut from my batting roll to use for cleaning!

Anyway, the point is, that even when you have very small scraps of something, if you are just a bit creative or insightful, you can figure out something to use that for. In fact, I’m thinking maybe I should grab the little bitty bits left from the batting so I can use it as stuffing for a pin cushion or something. Hmmmm. 🙂

Custom “Alaska” Quilt

I actually received this quilt top and back from my client back in August, I think. Maybe it was September or October, I just know that it was last year, and she told me not to rush. She travels in an RV with her husband, after raising their children in Alaska for over 20 years. She happened to stop into Quilt Country and Joan was sweet enough to call me to see if I wanted to quilt it. All the owner said was, “Quilt it with love.” And to center the back.

I do seriously quilt better when I have time to let a quilt marinate in my head. Unless the fabric speaks loud and clear of a certain direction, or the client wants something very specific. But I truly think my best results come from the clients that tell me to do whatever it is I do. This is one of those cases. I am quite proud of this quilt; granted, it was beautiful before I touched it! But the artistic license that I granted myself even gave me a start.

I broke the rules. I used variegated and solid threads. I crossed over lines. I embellished what I saw on the fabric, and made the scenes meld together by crossing over what I was quilting in one area over another. For example, I quilted a lot of flowers, since every other square was blue flowers, but in some areas, the flowers cross into the water, or they overlap with the tall grasses. But isn’t that what happens in nature?

If you appreciate it, then I am happy for you. If you don’t, I understand. Long ago resided within me a person that would have scoffed at this work. So I am happy not only that I am happy with this piece, but I am pleased that I have come to appreciate myself as an artist, and am no longer afraid to express what I truly feel, worried about what anyone would think. This is MY ART, (combined with someone else’s of course), and I hope my client loves it as much as I do!

Enjoy the photos! And happy quilting, my friends!