Saturday, June 25, 2011

Watermelons for Miles and Courtney

Ah, weddings!  We have three of them lined up this summer.

My sister Dutchy and her daughter Sharon who
 is mother of the groom at this wedding.

My sister's two grandchildren, David and and his sister Lindsay.  Their poor parents, two kids getting married in the same year!  So, that makes me the grandmothers sister!  

OMG, I'll never forget attending a family event years ago when I was in my 20's and introducing my Aunt Dot to my boyfriend.  I said "This is my grandmothers sister".  I remember thinking at the time that she was sooo old because she was my grandmothers sister!  

Those words are ringing in my ears now and I'll bet the kids are thinking the same thing of me; that's my grandmothers sister, she's sooo old!  Well, I don't feel old!  I always admired how young in spirit Aunt Dot was.  She had snow white hair but there was certainly plenty of sass to go around!


Wedding number three is in July and this one is the son of my friends Kim and Jim.  We all grew up together in a small NH town.  Funny story about how Kim and I are related which I'll have to write some time but for now just know that Kim and I have been friends since grade school and Jim is my second cousin on my fathers side.  Miles, their son, is marrying a lovey girl named Courtney.


So why am I babbling on about weddings instead of quilts?  Well, weddings are the perfect time for making a quilt!  Although the Big Guy can't seem to appreciate it.  His comment on the last wedding quilt I made was "yeah just what every guy wants for a wedding gift - a blanket".  Maybe he's right but that hasn't stopped me from getting excited about making another "blanket" for a wedding gift.  Or maybe he's just disappointed because he's still waiting for his quilt to be finished! 

Anyway!  Back to the wedding quilts.  My sister's grandchildren both wanted quilts from her for their weddings so she was happy to oblige.  That meant I wouldn't be making quilts for them but there's still Miles and Courtney!  These two are young, fun, athletic, outdoors kind of people.  I wanted a quilt that they could throw in the car and pull out anytime they want a clean, dry place to sit whether it's after a hike in the mountains or a day at the beach.

In keeping with the philosophy of "sharing the process", here's the story of the "Watermelon" quilt for Miles and Courtney.  Several of the girls in my quilting group have made the watermelon log cabin quilt. In fact one of the girls ended up making 7 of them! I loved the design and thought it would be perfect for the kids.

Since I'm "scrappy" challenged I usually shy away for traditional scrappy quilts.  I often get stressed out with the whole idea of combining very different fabric patterns and colors into a finished quilt.  I'm much better at two color or three color designs.  But I have found that log cabin blocks are a great way to get a scrappy look without the stress.  That being said here's what happened.
I started with these green and cream blocks. 

Can you spot the problem?  The logs are in the wrong order! LOL!  I didn't notice until I put the finished blocks up on the design wall. 
This is the danger of scrappy for me, the coloration in the fabrics is subtle so to get the right look you really have to pay close attention.  And, power sewing all the blocks at the same time means all the blocks are the same kind of wrong.

This is supposed to be the rind of the watermelon but if they're wrong you lose that effect.

You can see in the close up on this block that all the outer logs needed to be rotated to the left one log.  So I had all the pieces, just not in the right places.

The fix for this is you have to take them apart.  No two ways around it, just get out the seam ripper and start "unsewing" . . . all 30 blocks  :-(   Here are the pieces all apart, ready for sewing round 2.  

I used a seam ripper to take them apart.  My sister was watching me and reminded me that we learned to take out seams with a double edged razor blade!  Have you ever done that or see it done?  That's how Mom taught us.

Guppy was very disappointed in all this re-work business.  He was ready for bed and hates it when I'm up late sewing.  I thought he'd move when the pieces started to pile up on top of him but he wasn't budging.

Once the green blocks were sewn back together I laid them out again to check the orientation and get a feel for the size of the final quilt.

Now that's more like it!  Just like the layout in the pattern.  This is important because in the end these are supposed to be watermelon rinds.

With my lesson learned on the green blocks, the red blocks went together much easier, no re-sewing.

The pinks and reds just made this quilt jump off the wall.  What a huge impact that burst of color made.  Now it's starting to look more like watermelon.

Next came the seeds.  With all the work and re-work on the green blocks I had forgotten about this little detail.  I was undecided as to how to attach them.  The directions say to use fusible web and machine applique.  There were over 80 seeds to be applied and I'm not a fan of machine applique.  I know it's easy and with bigger pieces it might even have been fast but 80 seeds the size of a quarter?  Besides, I wasn't sure I had enough time. 

So I opted for fusible web and ironed them on with the intent of having the long arm quilting stitches go over them to keep them attached. 

They are really cute!

Once the seeds were on the pink/red blocks I sewed all the blocks together in the standard method of sewing blocks together into rows then sewing the rows together into the finished top.

Next came the backing.  I had purchased the recommended yardage of this perfect fabric according to the pattern directions.  One small problem, did I mention that the perfect watermelon fabric is directional?  Lesson 2 on this quilt, make sure you know if the fabric is directional or not before having it cut at the store.  I didn't have enough of it.  Now what!  

I can tell you this is not the first time I've run into this problem but I am getting better at buying the right yardage as I continue to make more quilts.  I knew I just HAD to use this fabric!  It's perfect!  It's watermelons for Pete sake!  The label on the salvage said it was made specifically for Joanne's but there wasn't any at my local store.  Time was getting even shorter at this point.  I was supposed to be dropping the quilt off at the long arm quilter in two days.  No time to find it on line and get it shipped.  I just had to come up with a solution and QUICKLY.

Taking a cue from my first quilt and decided to buy some green fabric to use as border around the watermelons. 

It turned out great and as soon as the bindings on I"ll post the final pictures.


Minka's Studio said...

I love this, Deb. The black seeds break up the diaagonals, add punch to the color scheme, and realism to the melons! Just great!

Minka's Studio said...

PS. You know I"m not a "cat person" but Guppy is cute as ever! Love his pictures!