Monday, July 28, 2014

The King Kristel Quilt

A bit over a month ago, an old friend of mine, who was once also my neighbor, texted and asked if I was up for making her a king sized quilt.  I'd never done anything larger than a *small* twin but figured, sure why not!?  How hard can it be?  Insert surprised face with huge eyes here now.  There were times that I was ready to ceremonially set the thing on fire while I chanted a wide array of cuss words but I made it through those dark moments and eventually finished my first king size quilt!
Initially, my friend just told me to 'do my thing' but with a little prodding, I was able to pull out some more details of her design aesthetic.  Her favorite colors are red, mustard, and turquoise and she is a fan of polka dots.  Well, it's hard to tell from the larger photos but this thing is FILLED with polka dots.  The bias tape is made from a turquoise polka dot pattern, the gray used throughout is covered in dots, and the cream background fabric is filled with polka dots in a circular pattern.  I think I fulfilled that wish.
The hardest part for me was scale.  I'm used to working with fabric on a much smaller scale so trying to come up with a design that was cohesive, large, and feasible was actually very stalling for me.  Once I finally quit trying to plan it all out beforehand and just start building on smaller pieces, the top actually came together quite quickly.
I almost didn't put the red stripes in but thank goodness I did!  I don't think it would have as much of a punch without that pop of color.  The stripes are intentionally offset just a few inches right to throw a little extra something in.  I used every last scrap of fabric to finish out the design on this one.  The triangle points?  Totally scraps that worked out perfectly.
In the days leading up to Sew OK, I worked my tail off trying to complete the top.  As I mentioned before, I really wanted to work on quilting this at the retreat on their fancy machines but ended up just doing it on my tiny, basic machine.  Talk about a test in patience!  ;)
The first night of the retreat, I was able to get the backing cut out and the whole thing pin basted with the gracious help of my friend Mary.  It was SO nice to have the large ballroom floor to lay this out on.  If I had done it at home, I would have had to move the dining table out of the kitchen!  I could have done it but this was much more efficient.
For the remainder of the retreat, I just put on some headphones, ditched the glasses, and quilted until I was cross-eyed.  Oh, and did I mention the brownie?  All of that time working on the quilt at home with four animals and a toddler and I managed to keep it in pristine shape.  I go to the event, start sewing and get brownie in a few spots.  Yeah, not pleased with myself.  Luckily, a little cold water and soap go a long way so it's like it never happened!  My quilts are definitely made to be used, loved, and easily cleaned!  :)
Photo snagged from the great Jemellia.
Because of its size, I didn't want to do a super detailed quilting pattern so I just did large curves back and forth for the majority of it and in the middle square, did tinier stippling.
Once I hit the backing portion, it was decided that no more dinero would be put into its construction so I dug through my beloved drawer of vintage bed sheets.  SO comfortable.  I thought these two complemented the front beautifully, brought about some extra character, and there was enough to finish a large project!  There were just a couple little hiccups on the back, but it's the back for a reason!  ;)
I'm so glad I said yes to this commission.  Taking on such a large project taught me so very much in patience, perseverance, and how bad ass it feels to finish something so daunting!  So thank you, Kristel, for having faith in me!  
Oh yeah, and with the very few scraps that were left, I made a little quilted pillow cover to go along with the quilt.  :)  Because, why not?!

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