I remember last Spring when the Bloggers Quilt Festival rolled around. I was in awe of all of the amazing quilters I discovered and the beautiful quilts that they shared. I so wanted to be a part of the fun, but didn't have much to show at that time. So I waited for the day when I could participate. Then last Fall I felt confident enough to join in the fun and share the quilt I made for Ruthie and Mike. I am very excited to be joining in the fun again. This time I want to share a quilt that many of you have seen in various stages on my blog but I haven't revealed the final product because I was waiting for the right time. Say hello to Marc's Quilt.
When I started quilting last year one of the first things I did was try to seek out a VQB to join so I could start to work on my block skills and meet other quilters. I was rather impatient and was having trouble finding a bee that had room so I took it upon myself, along with two fellow quilters in a similar predicament, to become a Bee Mama and start the Sewn Together Bee on Flickr. Originally I had a month in the fall, close to when my wedding date was supposed to be but when one of our other members was struggling to get ready for her month I volunteered to trade with her.
My (now) sweet and adorable husband was constantly complaining that I spent so much time making things for other people and I never made anything for him. That led me to decide to have my fellow quilters in the Sewn Together Bee help me to create something just for him. Now, my husband is very particular when it comes to design so I was sure to let him in on the process. I showed him a couple blocks that I though he might like and he picked the Circle Block over on the Block Party Blog. He also joined me on a run to a LQS to pick out some fabrics. I wanted it to be manly and something he really loved so I let him go crazy. And crazy he did.
He immediately gravitated to the Moda wood grain fabric and I about died. I didn't know how I could use that as the basis and inspiration for an entire quilt. I have to admit that I thought it was U-G-L-Y. But he loved it - with a capital "L" so I started designing around the wood grain. I started pulling orange, yellow, blue and brown fabrics for the stripes. I wanted to keep the complementing fabrics earthy and masculine. I also pulled some Kona solids to break up the patterns. I sent out my packages to all the Bee participants with plenty of variety. My instructions to them were simple: Have fun with the stripes, I only asked that they run parallel or perpendicular to the wood grain (not at a diagonal). I asked for two 12.5" (unfinished) blocks each if possible. And I gave them a link to the Block Party Tutorial as a reference. In return I got some amazing blocks back.
Once I had collected all of the blocks I started playing with a layout on my design wall. I had reserved making my own blocks until I had all the others back. I only got one block back that went perpendicular to the grain so I decided to make two more to compliment it and I put those three blocks on the diagonal in the center of the quilt. After that, the quilt came together easily. My husband wanted the wood grain fabric that he loved so much as the quilt back and the binding so one disappeared into the other.
Since Marc loves clean, modern lines, I kept it simple while quilting. I stitched in the ditch along each seam and I traced each circle as well. This is going to be our beach blanket for all the concerts at the Santa Monica Pier so I also added special feature on the back: a pocket in each corner. The pockets are fastened with Velcro so we can store keys or whatnot in each or we can put a rock on sand in them to help the quilt from flying away if it's windy. I machine basted the pockets down in each corner and then sewed them in when I bound the quilt.
After working on Marc's Quilt for almost a year I have actually fallen in love with it, and not just because I was making it for someone I love. I have embraced the retro 70's look of the wood grain fabric. I love the blues, browns, oranges and yellows in the stripes. This quilt is one-of-a-kind and I think it's fun and whimsical in a very masculine way. And I love circles! Always have. Always will. It's also the largest quilt I have quilted to date. I no longer think this quilt is U-G-L-Y... I think it's awesome. And my husband thinks it's awesome and that's all that matters.
Thanks to Amy for hosting the 2011 Spring Bloggers Quilt Festival. Thank you to my readers who offered their support and insight while I was making this quilt. Thank you to my husband who had the creative vision to inspire this quilt. But most of all thank you to every one of my fellow stitchers in the Sewn Together Bee who helped me make this quilt; April, Sorrel, Mandy, Anna, Flaun, Amy, Kim, Rick, Paula, Mary & Kristan - I love sewing with you all!