Monday, September 28, 2015

Quilt #51: Orla Kiely-inspired baby quilt and onesie

My current favorite ever quilt is this one I just finished for my friend Aletha and her new baby. Aletha and I have known each other since my pre-brain injury life when we both worked for a publisher. I'm sure she could tell you more about how flaky as I was in the first two years after my injury that I could!

While the brain injury ended my career, Aletha's has flourished. After leaving publishing, she started her own successful wedding planning business. She recently moved on from that to focus on another passion: restoring Midcentury Modern homes. You can read all about her work at True Home Restorations.

Shortly after I began quilting, Aletha and her husband bought their own MCM home to renovate and restore. I fell in love with her colorful Orla Kiely wallpaper and knew it was a quilt waiting to happen!

Here is the wallpaper in their finished home, and the photo I stared at very closely as I selected my fabric. By the way, check out the railing. Aletha's husband made that!

Photo Credit: K. Holly Photography
Of course, as a brand new quilter, I had a lot to learn! For example, I needed to learn to applique! Over the past two years, in between other projects, I would play around with getting the leaves just the right size and proportional to the stem and white space. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be! The leaves were the trickiest thing to get right with the shape, angle, and spacing. The images I found online weren't clear enough for my Silhouette Cameo to trace cleanly. Fortunately, Target had some Orla Kiely products on sale with a nice crisp leaf that worked well with my scanner.

Once I got the shape right (4" x 3"), I could work on the full quilt design. The leaves are 3" tall by 4" wide. There is a 1" strip (1.5" cut) of white in between each row. The brown stem is only .25" wide (.75" cut). I sewed the white and brown strips, and appliqued the leaves.

I worked on the fabrics. The pattern repeats like this. 

I needed nine different colors for the leaves, plus a white for the background, and a solid brown for the stem.

I used my Silhouette Cameo to make 96 leaves...or are they Pringles?

I started with the background. I made the chart below to show how the pieces should come together. All the pieces are white except the tiny brown strips. The wide white (orange outline) is 4.5" by width of fabric, the thin white (green outline) is 1.5" by WOF, and the brown is .75" by width of fabric. 

First stem set sewn up.

Here's my teeny tiny stem strip.

Ready for leaves!

I used my 2.5" ruler to start appliqueing the leaves in the center of the quilt. I put a 1/2" between the top on one set of leaves and the bottom of the next set up. I opted to sew the white strips the way I did to make it easier with leave placement. The stem side needed to almost flat and the opposite side touches the seam line. 

I started at the bottom and worked my way up. The first leaves were placed an inch above the bottom. I had just shy of 3 inches left at the top, which I left empty until I squared up the quilt. 

At this point, I let out a big sigh of relief! It is so nice when an idea in your head translates on fabric! 

It took quite a while to applique 96 leaves. We just dropped DirectTV (and NFL Sunday Ticket) for Dish. Not only are we saving a ton of money, but now I am able to watch shows from our DVR on my iPad in the craft room. I also watched a few movies while working on this step. My favorite was "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio." It's well worth a watch. 

Once I finished the applique, I used invisible thread (What?! How have I made 50 quilts without knowing about this magic!?)

For the label, I chose a MCM font (Remachine Script) for the label and copied a little section of the quilt I photographed. 

But wait! There's more! Since Aletha is expecting a new little one, I couldn't resist making a matching onesie. 

This past weekend we were in Michigan to deliver the quilt and finally tour their gorgeous home in person. I think delivering quilts is one of my very favorite things!