Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bug Crib Quilt

I started the Bug Crib Quilt a little over a month ago. The basis for the quilt was from the book Baby & Kids Quilts (Baby Blessings by Diane Tomlinson), although I knew that fussy cut center blocks just weren't my thing (even if I could have found them in my local fabric stores). Instead I decided to jump into the deep end and design my own center blocks. To the left are the fabrics I got for both the piecing and applique (along with a bunch of ribbon for the shinier bugs). 

The part that took the longest was definitely the 12 center square bugs and the 4 slightly larger corner square bugs. In the picture to the right, black ladybug with red spots, the blue beetle with black spots is Gibbifer californicus, next is a metallic wood-boring beetle or Sternocera aequisignata, bottom left is a gold scarab, followed by a rhino beetle, and a painted grasshopper.
In the left-hand picture, we have the following: Top Left: Large Milkweed Bug, Top Center: Weevil (unknown type), Top Right: Fiery Searcher (Calosoma scrutator), Bottom Left: Unknown, Bottom Center: Ladybug, Bottom Right: Blue Beetle (Chrysochroa mniszechi)
Finally, the 5 inch corner squares show the following: Red Dragonfly, Green Snaketail Dragonfly, Green Morpho Butterly. Rhetenor Blue Morpho Butterfly. All bugs were a combination of hand appliqued body and embroidered detail. Then I cut them down to the correct size. I think my favorite would have to be the Black Ladybug with red spots and the "regular" Ladybug as well as the Blue Beetle.

Next came the piecing on a variation of a traditional log cabin block with a bug at the center. I grossly overestimated the amount of fabric I would need for this process and ended up cutting all of my fabric into 2 inch strips. After finishing the blocks and seeing that I had almost half the fabric left over, I could have kicked myself. So much wasted scrap material. You live and you learn, I guess. Next I added the border strips and corner squares. Another life lesson learned: always test your fabrics to make sure they are heat resistant before you use them. The wings on the white and green dragonfly melted and I had to buy more fabric (organza instead of ribbon this time) and redo the wings and the center of the body. I heat tested it first this time on my iron's highest setting, not a singe.

I pieced rectangles using the 2 inch strips of fabric from the front as an off-center stripe for the back. I used a new technique for making the quilt sandwich (a huge thank you goes to Elizabeth Hartman over at Oh, Fransson!) which involved taping down the back piece before pin basting. I've never had such a nice, smooth back (my OCD couldn't be more pleased). I outline quilted the squares and log cabin blocks and straight line quilted the border pieces. They were originally going to be a 1/4 inch apart, but my laziness trumped my OCD in that case and they ended up being rather randomly spaced, which ended up making it more organic. Happy accident. Finally I used yet more of those 2 inch strips for the binding. Again a thanks goes to Elizabeth Hartman for the new technique I used, although next time I do that, I'll have to try it with 2.5" strips. That will probably make the mitered corners even better. Finished off the binding by hand sewing and then embroidered my initials and the year into the bottom corner.

Finished Quilt Front

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