After a year and a half the raffle quilt for the Genesee Valley Quilt Club (GVQC) is finally complete! Okay I will back up a bit to tell you why I care. So please grab a cuppa as this is a long story (I said it took 18 months). Okay I won’t blame you for not reading everything, but at least humor me by scrolling down, looking at the pictures and Oohing and Aweing and telling me how beautiful it is.
A year and a half ago the president of the GVQC approached my mother and I and asked if we would be interested in creating the raffle quilt for the 2013 GVQC Quilt Show. We told her we would discuss it and get back to her. Well you know how it goes, someone asks you politely to do something and it can be hard to refuse. We thought that since we would be working on it together it wouldn’t be too bad right? So of course we agreed to do it.
Designing quilts from scratch was not a strong point for either my mom or I. We got together a few times and discussed the types of quilts we like to look at and searched through quilt magazines and past quilt calendars for inspiration. My mom said that she liked New York Beauty blocks and would like the quilt to have some of those in it. We found a couple of pictures of quilts that we liked the layout of to use as a starting point.
I was fortunate to be able to purchase Electric Quilt 7 (EQ7), a quilt design software, to help with creating the design. It was challenging to look through all the quilt blocks available in the EQ7 software to pick out the one I wanted for our quilt but I finally settled on one called “Sunrise Beauty”. I didn’t want the quilt to be just beauty blocks so I added some palm and crazy pineapple blocks.
The final blocks to add were the border. I wanted something that would have a similar feel as the beauty blocks without distracting from them. I added a one inch border first and then chose the “Staccato Border” and “Staccato Corner” blocks.
The next step was to choose the colors I wanted to use. My mom and I used some fabric catalogues to choose a pallet that we liked so I started from there. The colors that show up in the EQ7 software for each of the blocks is very different to how I colored them.
I started with the beauty blocks, then the crazy pineapple (remember I wanted them to look like roses) and then the palm blocks. The final blocks I did were the borders. I just made sure that I repeated the colors from the rest of the quilt in the border and only added the white in the border.
With the colors in place we took a trip to one of our local quilt shops to pick out samples of fabrics we wanted to use.
We needed a dozen different fabrics for this quilt and only purchased a fat quarter of each fabric. We still needed approval from the board of directors on our design. My mom took the fabrics and created a few samples of the blocks we wanted to use and I scanned the fabric into my computer and added those fabrics to the EQ7 design.
With printouts and sample blocks in hand the board didn’t hesitate to approve our design. After all nobody else was going to jump in with a new design any time soon.
The EQ7 software gave us estimates of the amount of fabric we would need so we hurried back to the fabric shop and picked up the yardage we needed of each one. When we took on this task we had no expectation of sewing the quilt together by ourselves. We chose paper pieced blocks for the quilt since they would allow for the most accuracy when sewn by many different people.
The next project was to create kits to hand out for our club members to assemble. This required writing instructions, creating guides so the right fabric went in the right place, printing the paper templates, cutting the fabric and bundling it all into kits. We had a fun cutting party at my house (I was so busy keeping everyone working that I didn’t get any pictures) to put the kits together and then handed them out at the next GVQC meeting in May 2012. We asked everyone to bring them back no later than the September 2012 meeting (the club doesn’t meet in July and August).
After all the blocks were returned we sorted through them, fixed a few problems and created a few blocks that we were short on. It was time for another party to assemble the quilt.
A couple of the ladies from the club joined my mom (Claire) and I to sew the blocks together. I pinned the rows up on a huge piece of cardboard and each one took a row. I pieced all the border blocks together.
We did the sewing in my dining room and pressing in the kitchen. I have a huge table that easily fit all of us and our machines. After a few hours the top was completed! Now to find someone to quilt it. Every time Claire and I stood up in front of the club asking for help we emphasized that we would like to find a member with a longarm quilting machine to do the quilting, but no one stepped up. Finally when we were collecting the blocks in September Karen Kiener of The Cottage Quilter finally offered to do the quilting.
If you click on the pictures above you can see what a fantastic job she did to enhance our quilt. We really had no ideas regarding the quilt motifs to use and left it all up to Karen.
She did an amazing job and we couldn’t be happier with it.
Last, but not least mom and I added the binding under Millie’s watchful eyes. All totaled there were about 70 ladies that helped to create this quilt. It really was a group project and my mom and I want to thank all of you for your help. We certainly couldn’t have done it without you.
Very soon you will be able to purchase raffle tickets to win this quilt. If any of my readers buy a ticket just remember that if you win you have to give the quilt to me !