Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Karate Kid Kwilt

Wow! I cannot believe that my last blog entry was May 22nd, almost four weeks ago! A lot has happened since then. I turned 60 on May 26th and retired from my engineering job of 37 years on June 13th. These last several weeks have been jam packed with my focus on my job. I trained my successors, closed out projects as much as possible, cleared out my office, and filled out transitional paperwork. Now I am ready for the logical left side of my brain to take a back seat as I let the artistic right side drive for a while with my quilting and music interests. So on with the quilting!

As you may know, my daughter lives in Oklahoma City which was ravaged by the EF-5 tornado on Monday, May 20th and battered by extreme weather the following week. She, my son-in-law, and granddaughter are safe, their house relatively unscathed with only minor damage, but the swath cut by the tornado passed within three miles of my  granddaughter's daycare. Members of my daughter's quilt guild are rising to the occasion by making quilts to donate to those displaced by the tornado and by raffling off two quilts to raise money for the victims. Here is a link to the Oklahoma City Modern Quilt Guild's project http://www.okcmqg.com/2013/05/oklahoma-tornado-relief.html.  Donated quilts are due by June 30th. By donating to one of two charities you can also be entered in the drawing for the quilts the guild made.

In gathering these quilts for distribution my daughter pointed out something interesting.  Most of us quilters are women and we tend to buy fabric for our stash that appeals to us. When the call goes out for a charity gift quilt, we generally select fabrics we already have on hand in our stash. This results in a definite bias toward feminine quilts and a shortage of quilts for little boys. That being said, my first retirement project was to make a quilt for a little boy. Robin was so right. As I went through my stash, solely looking for male oriented fabrics, there were very few.

I came up with this fabric selection. The martial arts fabric was something I had picked up on a whim at a quilt expo show. It is a Kaufman print but I do not know how old.  I'd bought the stripe some other time just because I usually do stock stripes because I like them for quilt bindings. It is from the Moda Robotics line. I had only one yard of each. I liked the speckled paint fabrics and have had them for years in several color-ways. I wound up not using the red/white/blue speckle since it gave the quilt too patriotic a feel. I thought the lively green might play up the green leaf fronds in the focus fabric and was surprised how the speckle dots were so like the colors in the stripe. Seemed like it was meant to be. I used my very last bit of this cheery color in this quilt.

Since I had only a few days to make and FMQ this quilt in order to take it to Oklahoma with me when I visited, I needed to be decisive and pick a simple pattern. I happened to glance at the quilt themed calendar hanging in my sewing room, still set on May even though it was mid-June. I saw this quilt. The rectangles set either horizontally or vertically added interest and there were no triangles so it would assemble quickly with little waste. What caught my eye, though, was the upper and lower band treatment that made the quilt longer than wide. With my limited fabric this would work well since I could not make another row of blocks. I also gave me a perfect place to throw in that little shot of green speckle where the polka dots bands were in the calendar quilt photograph.

I got up early Saturday and cut out the rectangles from the Kaufman karate kid fabric and the bordering edges from the Moda Robotics stripe, cut cross grain. I wanted each block to be symmetric in its stripes though, so I was very careful to keep pairs of stripes together for four sets of four blocks.

Then, when the striped strips were sewn on, the blocks were not quite so busy looking as they would have been had the stripes been more random.

Saturday morning I got up early and was able to cut out and sew all sixteen blocks. Sunday morning I again got up early (... my sleep was crowded out by this quilt anyway...) so I could add the borders, make the binding, and spray baste the quilt. Later in the evening I began the free motion quilting.  I had to just do it and not waste time working up my courage. I did use a clear thread on the top and a matching thread color on the back though, since my stitch length is still pretty irregular. I did a stitch in the ditch around each rectangle and just kind of meandered around the karate kids and leaf fronds within each block. I chose not to quilt the stripes so they stand out a bit. I thought between every color would be too dense and not consistent spacing with the meandering within the rectangles. Anyway, the bamboo batting I used really only needs quilting every 8 inches or so. As a reference, the stripes finish at two inches wide. 

I also used the stripe for the binding. Due to time restriction, I sewed the binding on by machine instead of by hand. I have never completed a quilt from planning to final binding so quickly – Saturday morning to Monday morning.

I had no karate kid fabric left and this is what remains of the stripe. I had three yards of the backing fabric to start and I have just under half of it left.

The finished quilt measures 42" wide x 52" long. My husband asked what I was going to do for a label.  I said since this was an anonymous donation I did not plan to put one on. Then I wondered if I should label it anyway with at least the year and maybe my initials ...? What is the general practice in the quilting community? Any opinions?

If I do add the year and my initials I will tuck it away in a corner on the back, maybe along one of the paisleys, and use a low contrast thread color. I can do that by hand at my daughter's house.

1 comment:

  1. That's great that you were able to put something together so quickly and participate in the project!