Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We Love Pam

One of my colleagues of many years is retiring. She will be sorely missed, and OF COURSE, whenever my group wants to express its concern, shared joy or any other emotion -- what do we do? We make a quilt. Pam loves cross-stitch so that was the theme. We also wanted to express our feeling. The design also had to let lots of people participate, allow some individual self-expression, and not require much skill. With a little quilt cross-stitch inspiration (see ), I 'googled' and looked at a lot of cross-stitched hearts.

Using EQ7, I came up with this design. Each unit in the grid is 2 1/2" finished and the whole quilt is about 40" x 45".
We <3 Pam
Originally, the center was filled in, but that would have required too many cross-stitch blocks. Pam's favorite colors are purple and teal so we assemble a pallette of choices. Final fabric choices and layout of completed components was a team effort. We gave contributors a choice of making cross-stitch blocks, or making fuse-on flowers that would be arranged 'artistically' in bunches on the background.

The cross-stitch blocks are also fused, not sewn. We held several group 'craft' opportunities in a conference room at work. Cross-stitchers got pre-cut background squares, and strips of fusible. They selected colors from a stash of fabrics, cut, fused, and layered and trimmed the squares. If I were going to do this again, I would recommend cutting the color strips on the bias to reduce fraying.
Components for 1 square
Alignment was easiest from be back

Finished product

To assemble the top without chopping up the background into itty-bitty squares and sewing it all back together, I made a layout of larger pieces and a map, precut all the pieces, and sewed everything together.
Finished quilt -- picture is intentionally dark to show quilting texture.
Finally, the quilting -- each 'cross-stitch' was edged-stitched down with a Rainbow polyester. Flowers were edge stitched with a pale Invisifil. Leaves and stems were free-motion stitched with a dark green 30wt rayon, and the background was quilted with a pale off white Invisifil (wavy lines about 1/2" apart leaving words outlined but unquilted in the middle, and a free form feather inside the heart (spine was marked)). My collaborators are split on whether the lettering should stay subtle or be outlined in a darker thread to stand out more.

The binding is a really lovely batik/hand-dye-like railroaded stripe, sewn on the front, pulled to the back and tacked with Roxanne's GlueBaste, and then machine finished by couching down a variegated light-weight cotton yarn 'in the ditch' right next to the fold on the front. This is my new absolute favorite method for binding. Strips are cut 2 1/2". The folded strip is sewn on with a 5/16's" seam allowance (adjusted based on the thickness of the fabric to be able to fold to the back and cover the stitching line). I highly recommend a test run. I love how the couched yarn adds a defining line of color, like a very thin piping (but SO much easier), and sews down the binding on the back in one go.

Love hear what you think,