Thursday, November 12, 2015

Modern Birches Baby Quilt

Final Stats
Name: Modern Birches Baby Quilt
Dimensions: 48" x 60"
Pieces: Front - too many scraps to count
Pattern: My own, based on Bright Birch Trees by Amanda Jean Nyberg (Crazy Mom Quilts) and Night Forest by Jacquie Gering (Tallgrass Prairie Studio)
Technique: Improv, slice-and-insert
Materials: 100% Quilting Cottons - Bella Solids and many prints
Quilting: Machine quilted on my EuroPro
So this is the second nephew this year, so I once again went on a fact finding mission. First: figure out the nursery theme. Neutrals with a vague nature theme... check. Second: Gather inspiration images from the interwebs. I found quite a few options with vague tree themes and I gathered them into my project folder. Since this was for my sister-in-law and my brother, and they knew full well that they would be getting a quilt, I ran my inspiration images by my sister-in-law to make sure I was on the right track. She liked the modern interpretation of birch trees the best, which was good, because that's what I was heavily leaning towards. I was also working on a cross-stitch sampler and wanted to take color inspiration from that: Forest by SatsumaStreet.

As luck would have it, I had signed up for a bee through the DC Modern Quilt Guild, and for my month I asked the gals to help me make blocks for the quilt. Backgrounds were to be solids on the spectrum from white to dark grey. I had purchased some Bella Solids in white, cream, light grey, and dark grey. I also specified teal, purple, orange, red, and yellow as the prints with a punch of black in each "tree trunk." They came through for me in spectacular fashion and I was able to fill in blocks for each color.

I ended up with six bee blocks and made another 14 myself. The hardest part was figuring out a layout that would work for my OCD. I had roughly four different colored backgrounds: white, cream, light grey, and dark grey. I had five different colors: teal, purple, red, orange, and yellow. And I had three numbers of tree trunks: three, four, and five. I took pictures and plugged them into EQ7 and played around with the program until I had something I liked. I didn't really consider the number of tree trunks, but I didn't want background color or trunk colors touching except diagonally. I popped the blocks up on my new design wall and rearranged a little more and once I was satisfied I sewed the top together.

For the back, I made one large "birch trunk" using the solids to insert into the print background, so a reverse of the front. Except in one of the trunk sections I inserted several strips of prints more reminiscent of the front. I love the overall effect. I decided to try out a leaf free motion quilting design, because I'm still new to FMQ and wanted a design that would cover up sudden jerks where I stop and start. Things with points are really good at that, like stars and leaves. I also hid a secret message from "Aunt Anna" in the quilting. Overall I was quite happy with how the quilting turned out.

For the binding I'd found a pale grey stripe, which I cut across the stripe as per usual. I do love me a stripey binding. I definitely went a little overboard and made WAY too much. I decided to machine bind the quilt, because I feel like that makes it more secure, especially on a baby quilt that will get washed a lot. I was even able to do a fun photo shoot when we went to Michigan for my brother-in-law's wedding, as we stayed in a cabin that was surrounded by birch trees. Then I was able to hand-deliver the quilt and meet my new nephew. 

A few more photos from my photoshoot: