Portrait Gallery

>> Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I've been dropping hints and sneak peeks at a quilt without telling you. My friend Torie had twins in mid-March, and I've been working on 2 quilts since then. I knew what fabrics I would use for several months but, out of a certain amount of superstition plus not enough time [I know the grammar is wonky there], I didn't start making them until they arrived on March 19. I planned gender neutral quilts so I could decide which one went to which child after I had made them.

The quilt started with the Metro Market chicken fabric in green and blue. I then added fabrics that I thought meshed well -- some prints, some solids, some from my stash, some purchased for the quilt. I started with the squares and rectangles. This quilt was all improv -- improv pieced and improv laid out. As a result, the quilt ended up being much larger than I planned because I had lots of blocks and they needed to fit somewhere. As soon as I started laying out the blocks on my floor, I dubbed it the Portrait Gallery. It reminds me of collections in museums as well as walls of family photos in homes.

I stipple-quilted it, taking a risk and mixing up some blue and green thread. I couldn't decide which color to go with (the back is light blue fleece) and then decided to go all out, and use lots of color in the quilting. I was uncertain about it, but I'm very pleased with the way it turned out.

As I put it together, I added the little pieces of fabric. Various quilts around the blogosphere inspired it, though I can't point to any in particular. I just like the way floating fabric looks. Perhaps that's why Torie described it to me as "zen-like" which, at least for the moment, describes Andrew.

Here you can see the fleece backing (soft and warm!) as well as brown-dotted binding. I am particularly fond of the conversing chickens and hope they spark some great imagined discussions in a few years.

After finishing the quilt, I had a small strip of apple fabric (on the left) remaining. I almost tossed it in the scrap bin, but then I had a thought: why not make a bag to put the quilt in? Torie is quite the recycler and loves bags, thus it seemed appropriate to reduce unreusable packaging and make something that, in the future, can carry library books, store toys for the car, or tote food from the Farmer's Market. Of course, if mom wants to steal it, that's her prerogative.

Spring (albeit a bit chilly) has returned, the grass is growing, the sun is shining, and I can take quilt pictures outside again. There are so many little pieces of this quilt I love, like the little tree over there on the bottom right. At some point in the process of making quilt #2, I decided that this one would be Andrew's quilt. It was a gut/intuitive feeling and, according to Torie and her mom, each quilt meshes well with each infant's personality. They can always trade later if they so please. 

Tomorrow....Molly's quilt.


Katrina @ Pics, Pages & Purls April 27, 2010 at 6:09 PM  

SO beautiful! Love the colors and the improv look.

~Michelle~ April 27, 2010 at 6:11 PM  

ooh, great quilt! but you know what would be even better?? a picture of the baby with the quilt!

Denise April 27, 2010 at 10:25 PM  

What beautiful work!!! They will cherish them, i'm sure...makes me which I hadn't lost MINE in a move...
Happy Tuesday!:)

Katelyn R. April 28, 2010 at 2:23 AM  

I love all the different shapes and frames you threw in there! Turned out awesome.

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) April 28, 2010 at 3:23 AM  

I found this on FMQ. Stunning. Lucky twin!

Greeblygreebly April 28, 2010 at 9:20 AM  

Wonderful! It's cute and humorous and lovely!

Do you use a knit needle with the fleece or is there a special needle for that?

two hippos April 28, 2010 at 11:46 AM  

Thank you!

@Greeblygreebly: I use a regular, universal needle with the fleece.

Jen April 28, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

absolutely stunning! this is a gorgeous quilt!

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