Sing it with me: “I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it!” My contribution to #QuiltsForPulse is finished and mailed off. In this post, I’ll talk a bit more about my Pulse quilt’s construction, what I think worked, and what didn’t. Plus, more pictures!
On one hand, I’m a little embarrassed by my quilt given how beautifully sewn so many of the other Orlando-bound quilts are. (No, really. Search for the hashtag #QuiltsForPulse on Instagram and prepare to be amazed.) On the other hand, every little bit counts, right? I’m happy knowing my friends and I contributed to this outpouring of creative love.
Some additional info about the construction:
- The heart appliqués were cut from a Lotta Jansdotter “Mormor” layer cake. I used these images (the larger two hearts, printed out at 100% scale) as templates.
- The backgrounds of each block were 10-inch squares cut from Cotton & Steel “XO (Ghost)” yardage. (These blocks were later trimmed down to 9.5-inches to get everything back to being square and the same size after appliquéing. See my previous post.)
- The backing was Ikea’s “Stockholm”. This is a slightly odd fabric choice since “Stockholm” is closer to home-decor weight than quilting weight, but I think it worked really well.
- The binding was turquoise double gauze “Arrowhead” from Birch Organics.
- I used Quilter’s Dream cotton thin-loft batting.
Here’s what I like about the quilt:
- As I mentioned previously, I had friends help appliqué the hearts, and then I sewed the appliquéd blocks into a 6×6 quilt top. I’m *super* happy with how this turned out. Even given our collective lack of expertise, I think the appliquéd hearts look really nice, and many caring people working on a quilt = a bigger demonstration of love and support for the victims.
- My goal for this quilt was to be true to the requested rainbow hearts theme while also being comforting and a bit uplifting. I feel like the design, fabric patterns, and color choices achieved that.
- I just love, love, love the fabrics I used. Independent of the actual quilt construction, this quilt is made up of really nice materials that I’m proud to give as a gift.
Unfortunately, there’s one thing I felt could have been better, and it’s kind of a big thing: I’m crushed about the lack of quilting. Other than straight line quilting, I don’t yet know how to quilt my own stuff. I’m signed up for free motion quilting classes at the 2017 QuiltCon, but that clearly doesn’t help me now. Any more skillful quilters that I knew of in my local area were already booked up with their own projects. So what to do for my Pulse quilt? I thought maybe if I practiced and practiced, I could just manage some free motion echo quilting around the hearts.
<Ahem> Now that we’ve all had a good laugh at my expense, you’ll realize I couldn’t pull it off. (And I tried. I have the ripped out stitches to prove it.)
Upon abandoning my free motion fantasy, I began hand-quilting around the hearts. Unfortunately, that looked too fussy and old fashioned, unpleasantly contrasting with the clean lines of the existing sewing. So, in the end, I stuck with my stitch-in-the-ditch straight lines. (Wah wah.)
Thus, my quilt won’t win any awards for technical excellence, and I won’t deny that I’m disappointed. Given the reason behind this quilt drive, I *really* wanted my quilt to be perfect in every single way. BUT I’m consoling myself that at least the quilt has lots of love and community goodwill sewn into it. As proof, here are the other folks who contributed to the quilt: Abril Juvera, Anna Boenish, Brandon Keys, Dustin Harris, Justin Wade, Ketan Dalal, Lynly Beard, Paul Gusmorino III, Seema Ramchandani, Sylvia Badon, Tracey Saephan, and Zachary Chenoweth. My sincere gratitude to them all for helping out!
Finally, I’d like to thank the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild for allowing me (and many other people) the opportunity to do something for those affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting. Obviously, a quilt won’t undo the tragedy, but hopefully our collected efforts will demonstrate that strangers can be a source of love and kindness, not just violence and anger.