Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fun Guys

One productive week mid-April, I had pieced a strip quilt from these fabrics from the Life in the Jungle fabric line. Then it hung in the room next to my sewing room for a few weeks awaiting attention.

In my previous post I had just finished quilting feathers in the green polka dot and honeycomb bands and suspended spheres in the narrow orange and turquoise stripes. Next was picking a quilting pattern for wider focus fabric band. I went to Christina Cameli's second book Step-by-Step Free Motion Quilting and picked a pattern she named Leafy. I liked that it looked like hanging vines one might see in a jungle. On the left is how it is shown on page 141 of her book and on the right is my practicing of it on a clear sheet protector before quilting it. Left and right are not exact replicas of each other, but then neither is the penmanship of two people writing the same word over and over.

Overlaying clear sheets on the quilt top and practicing drawing over and over again helped me get the scale right.

Here is an overview of quilted band. I tried to drape it over a pillow and angle the camera to illustrate the stitching within the constraints of my lighting, and it just looks like my quilt is very, very crooked. It is not that bad. Really. I am pleased that I allowed myself the freedom to sew through the critters and not around every one.

The kit binding fabric was a marbled turquoise which I originally cut to 2¼" for my standard ⅜" binding. Then, I decided that since this quilt had no edge points to nip off at the outer perimeter and, since there was no real border, I would use this opportunity to try out a binding technique Chris from my Handiquilter Club session had shown me. This technique requires no hand-stitching and finishes with a slim accent strip at the inner edge of the binding. It requires a second contrast color for the accent strip. From my stash, I picked an orange with the red hash marks so it would mimic the toucan's beak. Yes, it is a small detail barely visible but I know it's there and it tickles me. Besides with all the rage over "hashtag this" and "hashtag that" I can claim I am now "hashtag with it".

There is a full tutorial on this binding technique at Susie's Magic Binding. Here it is in summary. I trimmed my main color turquoise strip down from 2¼" wide to 1½" wide. It was a bit squirmy to do so, not like when cutting from a larger yardage to start with, but I took my time and did it one fabric thickness at a time so that the strips would be uniform in width. I then cut the contrast orange into 1¾" wide strips and joined them end to end with a mitered joint. Next, when the orange and turquoise are sewn together lengthwise and pressed in half an ⅛" line remains at the fold that looks like piping peeking out. I attached the binding on the wrong side, contrast fabric facing up, with a ¼" seam, pressed outward, folded the binding over the edge, and then, from the right side, I stitched in the ditch at the orange-turquoise seam line. One of those red hashmarks just happened to fall right by the beak of one of the toucans. Serendipity!

I think the toucan is my favorite animal on this fabric. It reminds me of Toucan Sam from Froot Loops cereal.

One of the mitered seams in the binding just missed falling at a corner. Close call. It is barely visible in the upper left. This photo also gives a closer look at the leafy vines quilting from a straight-on perspective. I wanted the animals to appear as if they were peeking out from between hanging vines with leaves interspersed. This is my first time attempting a pattern so loosey-goosey and I kind of liked it!

I picked the backing fabric for several reasons. It reminded of the shape and colors in the toucans beak. It also has the look of leaves on hanging vines. It also can be thought of as feathers. What a versatile print!

Here are the labels. The quilt name (see previous post for name explanation) is on one lower corner...

... and my initials and the date completed is on other lower corner. That perimeter stitching line about ¼" in from the turquoise binding is the reverse side of where I stitched in the ditch at the binding interface between orange and turquoise.

Here are two overall views of Fun Guys completed. It finished at 38" by 56". The first photo attempts to show the quilting...

... and the second photo proves it really is flat!

All I have left to do now is wash it and Fun Guys will be ready for our little guy to have fun with!
For now I am linking up to share at this week's Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday.


  1. What a cute quilt! I think the vines and leaves were a great quilting idea, and I LOVE that contrast strip on the binding; both the idea in general and your #execution of it :-) The backing is also pitch-perfect, but in color and beak-iness. I can't wait to see it in person!

    1. I tried out a bunch of new things on this. Strip quilts are so quick to assemble, I was fearless using it as an FMQ and binding guinea pig. Can't wait to meet who is going to use it.