Sunday, January 4, 2015

Family Quilt

This year's big Christmas quilting project didn't take quite as much work as the Twilight Sparkle quilt last year, but I still didn't finish it until 1am the night before.  Mostly because I kept running into small road blocks.

I had seen a family tree quilt online that used family member's handprints as the leaves.  I loved the idea and wanted to do one for my mom.  Once I got started though, I couldn't find a wood grain patterned fabric and I also decided we didn't quite have enough hands to make it look good.  I started looking for other family tree type quilt ideas.  I came across someone who had done a crossword quilt and decided to merge the ideas.

First I did the cross word part.  I was able to use a black with red hearts and plain pink fabric I already had on hand for the background.  For the letters, I used freezer paper cutouts to paint them on.  I just cut a few pieces of freezer paper to 8.5"x11" size, then ran them through the printer so I had basic font letters on the paper side.  Then I cut out the letters with an exacto knife.  With a press cloth between the paper and the iron, I ironed the paper, waxy side down, onto each square of fabric.  This sticks the freezer paper in place and makes a great stencil.  I painted over it with acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium, then carefully peeled the paper off while the paint was still wet.

I had traced all the kids' and grandkids' hands on paper and cut them out.  I ironed interfacing onto white fabric, then used my paper as a template to cut out everyone's hands.  I also ironed interfacing onto another fabric I had to make circles for backgrounds.

I had picked up some stitch witchery (which I'd never used before) and was counting on it to hold the hands in place while I quilted around them.  It kept the hand on the circle, but did not adequately stick the circle to the quilt.  So I pulled the hands off, and zigzag stitched the hands to the circles and set them aside.  I machine quilted around the crossword, then pinned the hands on and zigzagged around them (through all layers of the quilt).
I couldn't decide what to do with the rest of the quilting.  I needed something to fill the big spaces around the edge, but I didn't want a pattern, because I didn't want anything over the hands or names.  Stippling to the rescue!  I finished this up with a soft light purple sheet I had in my fabric stash for the backing and made binding out of the same sheet so it matches the back.

You can't tell from the picture, but each person's hand is next to their name and the boys' hands are zigzagged in blue and girls' are zigzagged in pink.  Between the two of those, it's easy to figure out whose hand is whose.

When Josh was helping me take out basting pins and I was fretting about little details I felt weren't 100%, he rolled his eyes and said my mom was gonna cry when she got it.  Then I rolled MY eyes and said, "whatever".  I lost.

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