Monday, May 30, 2016

New York Beauty Quilt

I'm back with another finished quilt! My cousin Katie got married this past weekend in North Jersey and we had lots of family gathered to celebrate the wedding. I love seeing all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins in the same place at the same time! My parents even flew in from Texas and stayed with us for a week.
When I asked Katie what colors she and John wanted in their quilt, she said that their wedding colors were going to be black, white, and gold, and that she also wanted "Tiffany blue" as an accent color. I started gathering fabrics before I really knew what I was going to do. Finally, I found the perfect pattern: New York Beauty blocks! Katie and John live in Brooklyn and they love living in the city. I thought these blocks perfectly captured the essence of the New York City skyline. Here are some pictures of the quilt! If you're interested about my process and my thinking behind this quilt, then scroll down and read the rest! :)   

I purchased the Desert Sky quilt pattern from Quiltworx and at first I thought I had gotten in over my head. I had done plenty of paper piecing before, but the way those directions were written made it seem REALLY complicated and confusing. I actually avoided starting the quilt for awhile because I was so overwhelmed by the thought of approaching it the way the pattern was telling me to. In the end, I basically ignored the pattern and cut out the templates the way I knew they needed to be cut out. I was able to piece the spikes without any issues and then I used a new technique that I saw in a YouTube video to sew on the curved pieces. The tutorial called for a long pin woven into each end and then glue basting the curve in between with an Elmer's glue stick before sewing. (Here's a link, in case you're interested.) In the end, I'm glad I ignored the pattern. I realize that the Quiltworx technique is taught that way for a reason, and I'm sure it's helpful for some of their more intricate patterns, but I thought it made this pattern way more complicated than it had to be.

I also came to a point where I realized that once the blocks were pieced, this quilt was going to be barely big enough to cover someone's lap. I had to figure out a way to make it bigger without distracting from the center design. In the end, I couldn't find a border design that I liked, so I just drew one myself! I sketched the spikes out on graph paper and then made photocopies at work. I had found a really cool gradient blue fabric, so I cut it into pieces and separated them into nine piles: Light1, Light2, Light3, Medium1, Medium2, etc. Once I pieced the sides of the borders, I had to figure out what to do about the corners. Just like before, I ended up just drawing my own corners on graph paper. At first I start peeling the paper off of all of the border pieces, but once I sewed one side together, I realized that without the paper to hold it stable, there was a lot of extra stretch in the seams and it was actually becoming too long to fit the side of the quilt. Luckily I hadn't gotten carried away and I was able to piece the rest of the border sides together with the paper still on.

After a final, 12-hour(!) day of sewing, I finally had the top and the borders pieced together. I enlisted the help of my husband to peel the paper off the back of the blocks while he watched TV (he was watching "Psych", in case you were wondering). By the time I got it quilted, my parents were in town for the wedding, so I got my Mom to finish stitching the binding for me! I added their names onto the quilt label because it felt wrong not to acknowledge their contributions. ;)

Now I have another quilt to finish by June 11th (I'm halfway done piecing all of the blocks), and a quilt to start and finish by July 23rd. No time for personal projects! I'm on a deadline! Can't wait to share the next few quilts with you! :)

Also, let me know what you think about Quiltworx patterns. I've purchased a bigger one (I think it was the Amazon Star pattern?), and now I'm a little worried about diving into it if the directions are going to be just as confusing.

PS - Here's a video of Katie and John receiving the quilt. I wasn't able to give it to them at the wedding and I also wasn't able to attend the barbecue the next day, but this is almost better because I get to watch this video over and over again! I was smiling like an idiot the whole time I watched this. Haha. ;)

1 comment:

  1. haha please excuse my frog voice!! Jessie this is the most beautiful quilt I have EVER seen we love it SO much you have no idea!! THANK YOU!!!!!! and don't worry - Cooper is not getting anywhere near it!! Love you xoxo Katie