Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chevrons! Chevrons! Chevrons!

By now you would think everyone would be over chevrons.  But it hasn't seemed to slow down.  Which is fine by me.  I don't have any cute clothes with a chevron pattern but I finally found a quilt pattern that is easy to make a chevron quilt.  Most chevron quilt patterns seem to like to use the half square triangle method for putting together a chevron quilt.  But I don't like them enough to make a couple hundred of them to piece a chevron quilt together.  Then I stumbled upon a picture of a stunning Halloween quilt on Pinterest.  It was a blog post by The Little Fabric Shop that used rectangles to piece a chevron quilt.  Much more up my alley!  Here is the link if you'd like to see the tutorial:

My friend Andrea is having a baby soon.  She wanted to learn to quilt and somewhere along the line we came up with the idea that I could teach her how to quilt and make a quilt for her baby at the same time.  What is more heartfelt than quilt that you handmade for your precious baby?  So this summer we got to work.  I bought the fabric for the quilt at our local quilt shop.  She is having a little boy so she is doing the room in grey, turquoise and light blue and is using elephants as a theme.  I had a great time shopping!  I found this cute retro looking elephant print first.  It had the light grey background with the elephants.  I wasn't sure about the green but I thought what the heck!  I really hadn't had any luck finding any elephants up to that point so I decided I couldn't be too picky.  I then picked out my other fabrics and brought them home.  

The elephant fabric that was the inspiration for this quilt.
A closer view of some of the other fabrics we used.
 Andrea came over in mid-July and we spent the entire day sewing!  We cut our strips, laid them out, pieced them, cut them into their patches and resewed them together all the while chatting and catching up.  It was a full day of sewing!  We started around 9AM and finished at about 7ish that night.  We took some breaks in there and we had one little goof there at the end that we ended up ripping out. (I was getting in a hurry and I accidentally had Andrea sew the last row of chevrons opposite of what they should be so ripped it out.)  It was so much fun getting to have a sew day and catching up with Andrea.
Andrea working hard piecing her elephant baby quilt for her soon to arrive new son.
Andrea at the end of a long day holding up her finished quilt.  
I did the quilting for the elephant quilt on my longarm.  I used the focus elephant fabric for the backing and also for the binding since I had some leftover.  I had some leftover because I miscalculated on how much fabric I was going to need and didn't take in to consideration that the elephants were a directional print.  (I really shouldn't be telling all my secrets!)  I really loved this quilt and I had it hanging in my quilt studio until this week when I had to take it down and give it to Andrea.  That little boy is going to be arriving soon and he's going to need his quilt more than I am.  
Here's the finished quilt hanging in my quilt studio.  It looked like it belonged in there and really brightened my day.
Since the inspiration for Andrea's quilt was a Halloween quilt I decided that I really needed a chevron quilt with Halloween fabrics just like the tutorial. I had collected a few Halloween prints on my trips to quilt shops while on the Row by Row quilt challenge that has been going on this summer at quilt shops around the nation.  Then my aunt gave me two different Halloween prints that she had bought the month before my cousin was born in 1987.  I know this because the receipt was still in the bag!  Once I had those there was no stopping me and I quickly bought the rest of my fabrics and got started.  I had learned quite a bit from the baby quilt and I used that knowledge to make my quilt a little bit wider.  I also decided I wanted to  make it square as I had never done that before.
Here's my quilt before I added the borders.  I really like how bright it is and orange isn't a color I usually use.
After I finished I wanted a small black border to go around the outside of the quilt to kind of frame it.  I went to another local quilt shop and found the perfect black star fabric to use to frame it.  But I also found a beautiful lime green fabric and decided I needed it to make a very small border around the quilt before adding a little bit larger black border.  Buying fabric is indeed a slippery slope.  

Here's a close up of the two borders I added.  Most of the times I use borders to finish making my quilts big enough.  This is one time I think the borders really finished the quilt.
 Then I needed a backing fabric.  I thought I just wanted a black marble for the back.  I was wrong.  When I went to my longarm guild meeting in Wichita Dustan came along to bike.  He then graciously went along as I stopped at the Wichita quilt shops to peruse fabric and pick up my Row by Row patterns.  It's nice when he comes along because he navigates for me and I can just drive. It's also very nice because when I find fabric I like he's supportive of my habit.  But the best part of all is he does my quilting math!  Which in this case turned out to be a blessing because I would have been a 1/2 yard short of my backing fabric and 2 hours away from the quilt shop I had purchased it.  When I saw this jack-o-lantern fabric I knew I had to have it and use it for my Halloween quilt.
A close up of the backing fabric. They are pretty small.
 With my backing fabric in hand I was ready to longarm my quilt.  I used some orange Glide thread I bought back in the spring at MQS.  I decided to go with some ruler work quilting the echoes of the chevrons 1/4"  from the seams.  I then I did my first stitch in the ditch between the black and lime green border.  It turned out fine but I think if I'm going to do that I am still going to need a little more practice. I then added swirls in the black border using black thread.
You can see the quilting of the swirls, stitch in the ditch between the black and lime green border and my ruler work on the chevrons.
My finished quilt.
I've decided I'm not done with chevron quilts.  JoAnn's has a lot of Thanksgiving fabric and I have enough Christmas fabric in my stash for several quilts.  I'm also thinking it would be fun to make a two colored chevron quilt with one colored/print fabric and the other a solid white.  I usually don't consider myself a modern quilter even though I love modern quilts but if I keep making chevron quilts that might change!

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