Wednesday, December 9, 2015

FMQ, Bind, & Name Barnyard Quilt

In my previous post I was undecided on how to quilt the sheep, straw, chickens, and sky of the barnyard buddies quilt. I wanted curlicues among the sheep but was reluctant to abandon the clamshell theme throughout the animal bands. I sketched some ideas and here is what I came up with – clamshells for the sheep with a row of interior loops following their contours, and this free-form squiggle for the straw. The squiggles on the left were an inspiration from Christina Cameli's book Step-by-Step Free-Motion Quilting, my go-to source for ideas that are not too complex and within my skill level.

The following photo shows these ideas in thread on fabric. The sheep loops are my attempt at "less is more" and I think they give texture even if they are only slightly visible.  I wish I'd been more skilled at making the meandering smoother in the straw, but at least it is camouflaged by the print.  I did the top row first from left to right and then worked my way back from right to left for the lower row. This meant the upper row that I was trying to mirror was behind the hopping foot, with limited visibility. Had I done the lower row first and then the upper I would have had a much clearer sight line. Ah, 20/20 hindsight! I will know to plan better next time.

I could not come up with a satisfying solution for the sky so I left it non-quilted. It is a small enough area that quilt lines were not needed, and this way maybe the clouds will puff up. I put scallops in the deep blue strip above the sky and they can represent, in my mind at least, a series of rainbow arches above the clouds.

Here is a section of the quilt representing my current repertoire of emerging FMQ skills. Above, in the hillsides, are contours following the print, my stand-by method of non-creative quilting pattern. I gave it a bit of a modern bent by paralleling the contours using my echo foot. In the middle section with the chickens are free form pebbles. The pebbles among the chickens came out cute. Below in the sheep, I practiced clamshell ruler work, adding the extra accent squiggles free form after I'd finished the clamshells.

I need to name this quilt and add the label. I just loved the googley eyes, so in naming it I considered taking a few liberties. I thought about The Eyes Have It for a name and rejected it. This quilt will go to a child and a toddler would not get the double entendre. But a name associated with the song Old MacDonald Had a Farm might appeal. Here are some variations that satisfy my longing to pay homage to those pairs of eyes staring at me. I explored some customized tongue-in-cheek spellings.
Ee-Eye-Ee-Eye-Oh       E-I-E-Eye-Oh       E-I-E-I-O

But, since my Pfaff only embroiders capital letters, I really only have a choice among these three spelling variations. They have different visual appeal once the lower case letters are removed as possible options.
EE-EYE-EE-EYE-OH       E-I-E-EYE-OH       E-I-E-I-O

Once seeing it in all caps I need to go with the shortest and simplest. Whim lost out to legibility and practicality. I will have to get my kicks out of just knowing I blogged the "eye" spelling option in my post. Here is the label embroidered on pink grosgrain ribbon and affixed to the back corner of the quilt. Underscores looked better than hyphens separating the letter. On the opposite corner are my initials and the year.

I used the same flanged binding technique I'd used on my Fun Guys quilt, described in its post for June 17, 2015. The black plaid binding on E-I-E-I-O needed a spark of something in the flange to brighten it up so I inserted a coral pink accent to coordinate with the animals noses and muzzles and ears. For ⅜" finished binding, the black is 1½" wide and the coral is 1¾" wide.

It is counter-intuitive, but the tiny flange that peeks out is actually made from the larger of the two binding strips that were sewn together. The ¼" difference in the strip width, folded in half, is what creates the ⅛" flange. As the binding turns a corner, I like to think of it as corralling in the crowd of four legged critters – horses, bulls, cows, sheep, pigs, goats.

The following photo shows E_I_E_I_O completed. It really is square after all my moaning in my previous post. I just cannot stand directly over it, all spread out on the floor as it is, and take a picture without getting my feet or my shadow in the frame. I tried hanging it to photograph it, but the lighting was awful. I may try again another day. From top to bottom there are cows and bulls, hillside pastures with chickens, followed by sheep with straw beneath, then pigs, horses, more pastures with more chickens, and at the very bottom are all the four-legged barnyard buddies hanging out in one jolly crowd. E_I_E_I_O finished 41" wide by 58" long. The backing fabric is the same fabric used in the bottom strip. All that remains is for E_I_E_I_O to be shared at quilt guild, washed, wrapped, and gifted. I think it will make for a fine game of I Spy on the Farm.

I will be linking up now to this week's Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday. After all, my daughter just texted me with, "What no WIP Wednesday post?" Her timing was impeccable. I'd just come back from the grocery store after getting up at 6:30 am to wrap presents and work on our Christmas newsletter. I told her I'd get right on it. Fortunately, I had started a draft of this post a few days ago. Ah. Guilt. The gift that keeps on giving.


  1. Another quilt done?! Wow! Great job - and congrats!

  2. Well done! I love how that quilt turned out and I especially love the black geometric binding!

  3. The article is so engaging that it retains me till the last word. You never fall to other world. DigitEMB

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the post and took the time to tell me so. Sometimes I fear I am too wordy so it is really gratifying to learn that people do read what I have to say in addition to looking at the photos. Thanks for visiting. I plan to return the favor.