Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kathy's Clowns

Remember Q-911, the quilt that needed emergency treatment to survive?  It is finally done and can now be revealed as a gift for one of my favorite people, my dog-loving friend and cohort in childbirth, Kathy.  We were roommates in the hospital when we each had our first child, and despite a thousand miles between us, we still have such an easy friendship.  So when she retired from teaching, I wanted to make her a special quilt.  I found the large dog-print fabric and started from there.  You can re-visit previous posts for the backstory. 

Kathy's Clowns

Anyway, I learned a lot about free-motion quilting while making this quilt -- one of my goals for this year.  The quilting in the blocks is better than that in the sashings, which I did first.  The sashings are stippled.  The names of each of Kathy's dogs are quilted into the horizontal sashings, flowing from the stippling and back again.  The quilting in the vertical sashings ends in a heart where it meets the horizontals.

I used the same paper to quilt the names that I used to quilt the Charming Baby quilt.  I found a font that looked nice and could easily be quilted, copied it onto the paper, and pinned each name to the quilt.  I used a fine-point permanent marker, so if any tiny bits of paper were left, they wouldn't stain the quilt when it was washed.

It was easy to tear away the paper after the quilting was completed.

For the blocks (rectangles of the dog print), I just stitched around the dogs on the outside edges of each block and then around each separate dog in the center.  It's not echo stitching -- I really couldn't get a consistent distance from each dog, especially where they were really close together.  So I just went with the flow.  The end result was that I had to bury about 250 ends where I'd had to break thread. Not my favorite thing to do!

For the outer border I stitched three parallel lines in a variegated black/white thread called "Piano".

My original plan for the binding was a rust color, which I also used on the backing since I didn't have enough of the primary fabric.  But I really didn't like the way it looked as a binding.  Back to PQ, where I found a yellow/fawn fabric (same print as the dark brown inner border) that really pulled the whole thing together.

Backing with dark brown and rust inserts and "new" binding.

The main dog blocks, sashing and backing are all from the same group of fabrics (you can see the paw prints on the sashing and the blocks).  The backing is great -- the leashes and the loops from the quilting around the dogs fit nicely together.  I didn't try to change bobbin threads to match the backing, since the backing fabrics varied as well.

This quilt is called "Kathy's Clowns" after the old song and the fun that these dogs have brought to Kathy and her family over the years.  One of them, Niza, was my family's dog.  When we went away for a year to North Carolina on sabbatical, Kathy adopted Niza.  When they stopped in NC for a brief visit, Niza only wanted to be with Kathy.  Sad for me, but I was glad that Kathy and Niza loved each other.  She definitely deserves a place on this quilt.

Here's Kathy with Kathy's Clowns.

1 comment:

  1. The quilt is beautiful and I love the quilting! Great job, Mary! And I bet she loves it. :)