Finished Quilt of Valor

qov-quilt-smallThe quilt I made for the Quilts of Valor program is finished! As you may recall, back in March, I pledged that 2016 was the year I was going to make a quilt for this program. Seven months later, it has come to pass—not too shabby!

When last I posted about this quilt, the top was complete. Since then, I made a back for the quilt with a blue and white stripe fabric and a red and white polka dot. I knew I wanted the quilting to be more intricate than I usually do for my quilts, so I asked Holly Seever from the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild if she’d be willing to take on the job.

Holly has long been wowing the guild with the quilting she does on her domestic machine, but she recently purchased a longarm machine and began taking on projects for other quilters. I wanted to keep the star theme going in the quilting and suggested maybe adding some red thread, too. Other than that, I left the quilting design up to Holly.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with what she did.

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Each of the star blocks had this same quilting pattern. I love the swirls and pebbles in the corners. And it looks even more amazing on the blocks with the blue backgrounds.

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The blue fabric looks completely different with the quilting, which I think is pretty cool.

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And she quilted the same star design in the plain white squares using that red thread we talked about. I think that adds just the right amount of color.

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And the quilting looks super cool on the back of the quilt, too.

With the quilt expertly quilted, I added the binding—a red solid to go with that red thread.

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Next, the quilt needed a label. The Quilts of Valor program requires that each quilt have a label that includes all of the following: the name of the person who made the quilt, the name of the person who quilted it, the name of the program, and space to write in the name of the recipient and the date it was received. The great thing is, QoV provided a link to Modern Yardage, where they sell labels for just this purpose. There were several to choose from, and even with shipping, the cost was less than $2. I really appreciated this convenience.

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I’m not thrilled that the backing fabric shows through the label, but I tried to line up the label information spaces with the stripes of the fabric so it looks kind of intentional.

Finally, each Quilt of Valor needs a presentation case. Many of these are simply pillowcases made in coordinating fabric, which was easy enough to do. I used a star fabric that didn’t make it into the quilt for the body of the case and used leftover fabric from the quilt for the trim and cuff. I followed the burrito (or sausage) method for making the pillowcase using a tutorial from The Seasoned Homemaker.

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The tutorial was very easy to follow. And it even included fancy French seams (no raw edges) on the interior!

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With the quilt finished and labeled and with the presentation case made, I requested a destination for my quilt from Quilts for Valor. Within a day, I received a note asking me to send the quilt to the Warrior Transition program at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Here, soldiers who are med boarded out (meaning they don’t return to their previous duties due to medical issues) are shown several quilts, and they can choose one to take home with them. The director of the program said, “I never see a Soldier leave my office with one that doesn’t have a tear in their eye.”

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So I shipped the quilt there on Monday. I know it will find a good home soon.

Finding the Next Project

Three weeks ago, I was working hard to finish the last of three projects I wanted to take with me on our beach vacation.

Two weeks ago, I was enjoying our beach vacation.

Last week, I kept thinking, “Oh, my. What next?”

When I’m ready to start on a new project, but have nothing specific in mind, I usually start with my books. I plop down on the floor in front of my bookshelf, and I start pulling out my sewing and quilting books. I love my physical craft books, and the act of flipping through the pages, making piles of possibilities, is very much a part of my creating process. This time around, the books that were left off the shelf at the end were Denyse Schmidt Quilts (an old favorite that I use more for inspiration than for actual projects), Fresh Quilting by Malka Dubrawsky (a newer book from which I’ve made a small scarf project for my sister), and String Quilt Revival by Virginia Baker and Barbara Sanders (a book close to my heart, as I acquired it for the publishing company I worked for, working closely with the two wonderful authors who happen to be sisters).

Next, I scooted across the floor to sit in front of my fabric stash. The print fabrics are roughly organized by color, so I went through the stacks, mixing and matching from the piles a few noteworthy combinations but nothing significant enough for a quilt. Then I pulled out my stack of solids. I keep them separate because I think of them differently than I do my prints. Unlike many modern quilts, my quilts usually start with prints, and solids are a bit of an afterthought. But this time I was struck by my collection of green solids.

(As those of you who try to photograph or print greens know, they’re tricky to re-create. This photo mutes the darker shades a bit.)

The combination of greens made me laugh—I liked the variety in addition to the fact that many were so close in tone. These greens got me thinking back to the book String Quilt Revival. I had made a quilt from that book already, and I was surprised by how dark it turned out (more on that in another post). What if I tried a string quilt mixing these greens with only green and orange prints?

I decided to make up a few blocks using the Sack Beauty pattern in the book. In that quilt the authors used a white solid for the “star” portion and strips of feed sacks for the octagons that form once the triangle blocks are put together.

To start, I used the template from the book to cut out six shapes of three different green solids to form the stars. Next I cut some orange and green prints into strips (or strings) in a variety of widths ranging from 1 inch wide to 1.75 inches wide.

And finally, I put together my six test blocks (which in this case are triangles).

Oooh. I’m intrigued! I love the colorful octagons that are forming. I’m not sure yet how I’ll handle the green centers: If I’ll mix all the shade into multi-toned stars or try to keep likes together. But I’m excited to make more and see what happens!