Last week my friend Veronica learned to sew and quilt. Her parents sent her to Denver to spend a fun two weeks with me. After camping at the Sand Dunes, walking up Zapata Falls, and white water rafting through Browns Canyon we needed an easy going project.
I showed Roni examples of some quilts she could accomplish in her short time here. Nothing really spoke to her so we designed a custom quilt for her to work on. Her family moved to Seattle last year so I thought that should be her inspiration.
The idea was to improv piece the top of the quilt using light shades of sky colors and as you move toward the bottom it would change into gray tones to mimic city buildings. Then we’d fuse applique the space needle and free motion details to it. Lastly the quilting would mimic the sky with a sun and clouds and fade to a more geometric rectangle design at the buildings. We choose to make a lap size quilt mostly because of time. It ended up being 36”x46”.
She got a quick lesson how to work the sewing machine, cut with a rotary cutter, and how to approach improvisation piecing. We pulled fabrics from the stash and I let her loose. Roni pieced the whole top by herself in just one day. Every so often she’d ask me for my artistic eye on placement but it was all her.
The next day she finished the quilt entirely. She fused some Heat n Bond Lite to some black fabric to create the Space Needle. I drew out the Needle with a chalk pencil and she cut out the design. Then she fused it to her quilt top with the iron.
She then free motion stitched the Space Needle in hot pink thread to make it more secure and to add some fun details.
Matilda decided to take a nap on the top while we measured and cut her batting and backing. I warned Roni that Matilda is a quilt hog helper.
Next I showed her how to put all the layers on the longarm and how to quilt with it. She got the hang of it super quick.
We did have some issues. We discovered that The Beast had a hard time quilting through certain fabrics. The fabrics that had white printing on them seemed to be more like paint on the the fabric. It seemed to me the needle had trouble going through the printed portions of it. After messing around with different needles and tension we gave up. Roni ended up quilting all the other areas and skipped those fabric portions. When she finished on the longarm we pulled the quilt off and free motioned those sections on my other machine. So she got a lesson in different kinds of quilting. She had a hard time free motioning on my smaller machine. She did a few blocks and passed the rest to me. In the end Roni did probably 90% of the quilting.
After all that was complete, we trimmed and squared the edges of the quilt. At this point Matilda opted to take a picture with the quilt too.
I then showed her how to make and attach binding. Veronica opted to have a mostly black binding to reference the Space Needle. I suggested adding a few fun pieces in with it. She machine stitched on the binding and we turned and hand stitched the back. I helped her with the hand stitching as I knew if the quilt didn’t get completed here it would never get finished. We sat on the couch watching a movie working at opposite ends. While I may have done most of the hand stitching, Veronica still made most of the quilt with little aid from me.
Then her quilt went into the wash and dryer. Below are some closeup images.
For the back she chose a bird fabric I bought from Ikea. I bought a bolt when it went on sale a few years back.
Roni spent the next few nights sleeping with it and carried it with her on the airplane. For a first quilt it came out great. She did an amazing job!