Wednesday, September 8, 2010

surfer circle around... done.

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I got the fabrics here.

And wanted to have it done before I left here.

But I didn't.

I did however, get it done before the end of August,

Surfer Circle Around

and its recipient now has it all to himself.


I cannot lie... this thing felt a bit beastly before I got it done and mailed.

I started with this pile of fabric (all half-yard cuts).

The theme was Hawaiian, scrappy, and with those little surfing monkeys. 

We decided to use Julie's Circle Around design, and the quilt was to be twin-sized.

I sized the blocks up to 13 1/2" (with 9" circles I think), and a 5 x 7 layout.  While stitching, I had a little trouble with some of the blocks shifting on me --> I found using a glue stick to baste them before sewing worked the best.

If you look at that pile of fabric, you'll see relatively very few solids, and a majority of colors that are lighter in value.

Why I didn't think it through ahead of time, I don't know, but the Circle Around design relies on a lot of contrast.  Not only did I not buy any extra white, but the white didn't contrast well with those light turquoises.  I really spent a lot of time trying to coordinate the interplay of value, and solids with prints.

In the end I improvised and came up with this.

Surfer Circle Around

It did look scrappy, but then I wasn't sure if it felt too incongruent... and at this point, I was feeling a little bit panicky actually.  "What if his mama doesn't like it?"  This is a sick to the stomach feeling when you're making something for someone else.  I kept telling myself that she had liked the fabrics, and she had liked the design idea, and she had liked one of my progress pics... so I pressed on.

And then there was the back.

You saw the fabric above.  All half-yards... most of which had a 13.5" x WOF strip cut out of them so I could make my top.

Fortunately I had the fore-sight to pull a couple out of the pile ahead of time for the back, but this was a twin-sized quilt, and so I had to get quite scrappy.

The original plan had been to make his name big so that when you folded the top of the bed down, it showed up (slightly brilliant, I thought).  But it just wasn't working for me when I saw what I had left.  So I went with plan B for the name.

close up of back

I thought personalizing the little surfboard I threw in there would be cute.

back of circle around

The top part of the back I think is my favorite part of the whole quilt.  

Top back of Surfer Circle

Jay took Steiger up to his dad's for an entire day, and this quilt back took me that entire day.

To quilt, I did horizontal wavy lines... you know, oceany. :)  Even with my needle in the down stop position, the weight of the quilt would occasionally pull on the stitching a bit (though I had a table to rest the bulk of it on next to me), but you definitely wouldn't notice it on a horse riding by.

This is the biggest quilt I've done start to finish by myself, and it pushed the limits of my little Janome.

Once I got this all quilted, washed, and photographed, I felt happy to send it on its way.  Once I got word back from Will's mama that she liked it, I felt even happier...and maybe even a tinge of pride.  

Surfer circle around

I used the proceeds from this quilt, plus a Visa Gift card I had, to buy 24 yards of batting while it was on sale at JoAnn's this weekend.

To summarize:

What I liked about this quilt:
- the squares with lots of contrast (the navy and white, or the bold blue and light blue, etc.)
- the top of the back (I loved that part for some reason)
- the little surfboard in the ocean scene
- no tucks in the quilting!!! (though I did catch the raw edge of a couple of the circles on the front)
- I didn't photograph it well, but I really liked the binding
- being able to go buy my batting (you know there's a problem when you're excited about batting, right?)
- seeing the pictures of its happy little owner  (probably my favorite part)

What I didn't like:
- feeling nervous while I was trying to make it work -- incorporating the vision of someone else in to your own interpretation is challenging
- the amount of time it took...partly due to me being nervous and uncertain as to how to proceed
- getting it through my machine for quilting
- my lack of planning regarding my choice of which solids to purchase (I ended up pulling quite a few from my own stash)
- feeling unsure of some of the fabric combos and their interplay with value and print

From now on, I'm sticking to baby quilts.  :)


pinksuedeshoe said...

I love love LOVE the back! It looks fantastic, and I think I maybe like it even more than the front. It turned out fantastic, and the fact that you bought 24 yards of batting makes me really happy.

pinksuedeshoe said...

(Not to say I don't like the front, because it looks amazing, truly. And if you hadn't talked about all the contrasty stuff/fabric issues, I never would have noticed how truly great you made it look. Truly.)

Katie B said...

I love it! Such a fun quilt for a boy. And the back (with the personalized surf board) is a masterpiece.

And 24 yards of batting? Hot dog! That should last a while!

Anonymous said...

It looks amazing and I love, love the back! The surf board is so adorable!

Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

What a lucky little boy! The quilt is adorable and I love what you did with the back.

Mama Pea said...

I think the front turned out great, and so did the back. Very clever on the surfboard on the back. I really like the bricks at the top of the back also. Must be the simple cut of the fabrics, which are so wild. The contrast is excellent. Oh, and this is why I want a longarm so bad. I want to be able to quilt my big quilts, but it is so annoying trying to do it on my home machine. I know others do it and do it well. I can't seem to master it.

Weatherbee ;) said...

I think it looks wonderful!!! The front and the back. I think the backing is just amazing! What a wonderful job!!! :)

Sara said...

The front looks awesome Tracey and the back is breathtaking. I, too, am trying to finish up the quilting on a twin size quilt---ALMOST there. My lines are very wonky, but hey I love your comment about being on a horse I will have to keep that in mind!!! LOL!!! My machine, a Kenmore has been very temperamental with the tension differing here and there. I am learning to have to adjust it more than usual with this twin size top:/ Very frustrating! Kate from Kate Conklin Designs said that I could call it organic quilting!

Anyway, 24 yds of batting---I got 3yds --wish I could have gotten some more. Maybe I need to start selling. Although I am very afraid to due to my wonky lines with this twin quilt:(

Ta,ta for now!

Jenn said...

The back looks like a blanket on the beach. So cute.
So you're not going to quilt the cal king blanket you're making for yourself? hahaha

Natalia from Piece N Quilt said...

It's super cute Tracey! Now I'm going to make your blocks, I'm slacking here! :)

Unknown said...

The quilt turned out beautifully!

Poppyprint said...

Well done Tracey!!!! It's fantastic and the choices you made regarding contrast were excellent. It's always tough to do a commission when you've been trusted by a 'customer', but if Will's mom didn't already love your work, she wouldn't have chosen you, right? Way to go - it's a super fun boy's quilt and I bet he is over the moon to have his very own surfboard on the back.

Sarah Craig said...

Tracey, it's beautiful - front and back! It always amazes me how hard we are on ourselves when we are creating - and then someone else looks at our work and only sees the good in it! So relax, take a deep breath, and don't swear off big quilts completely - you'll go back to them someday! I like making 60" square quilts - big enough to snuggle under comfortably, and not too big to quilt without too much trouble. Good work!!

Vesuviusmama said...

It turned out great - how could they NOT like it? And the back is a quilt in and of itself; it's reversible, really! Wonderful job!

Jamie said...

I hope you don't give up on the big quilts because those stay on a person's bed forever. You do realize that little Will's future son will probably have it half-folded at the foot of his bed? Think about it!

Danielle said...

I just love it! I've been wanting to try that technique, but I am bogged down with deadlines until Thanksgiving at least:-(

I love the back of the quilt-- just as much as the front. And that surf board? How clever are you!

Do you have any friends who long arm for a living? If you do, and if they have a tax id#, you might be able to work out some kind of deal. I just bought (well, in May) 60 yards of quilter's cotton from Hobb's for less than $150 (with shipping)...

Nicole Morris said...

I love the surfer twist on this quilt. The back turned out so great. Will is a lucky guy!

Regina said...

Both sides look so good! I love that it can be on his bed on either side and still look amazing. are you feeling about quilting the king you're working on?

Shawn said...

Your quilt is so great Tracey,I love it, it would be hard for me to part with...

Shawn said...

P ess.. I'm joining your quilt-a-long,love it the blocks are so adorable!!!

Julie @ Jaybird Quilts said...

tracey... while the quilt pattern does heavily rely on congrats i really like how your scrappy surfer version came out!!


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