Friday, 30 October 2015

Zebra Dazzle- Bloggers Quilt Festival


The rest (as they say) is history!

It is my colour loving daughter's seventh birthday in a few days time and I can't wait to surprise her with this quilt. It has been designed in secret especially for her using a version of the zebra block that she helped me to design for her cushion and a second zebra block which I designed to compliment it. Both blocks have been enlarged to 40".

I was a bit stuck after sewing the two blocks. They needed a border, but I just couldn't work out how to add one that would be in keeping with the quilt. I didn't want borders of solid colour and I couldn't work out how to add a fractured border without the straight edges of the zebra block becoming a distraction.

In the end, I took the top to Stitch Group with me and the inspiring ladies there had some great suggestions which really helped me to work out what to do.

First I cut a ton of 1.5" multicoloured squares and a whole lot of 3 x 1.5" white rectangles. These were pieced these together to create a slim inner border.

I guess that you could call the outer border an example of improv paper piecing. I cut A4 paper into 6 inch strips and then drew lines on using a ruler and a pen. I did it in a simple way so as to avoid having to sew separate papers together. Once each paper was almost pieced, I would tape on another piece of paper and draw some more lines. I kept going until I had 4 borders which were long enough to surround my quilt centre. It took some planning to get the colour graduation to roughly mirror that of the centre of the quilt, but it was definitely worth the effort. I love the finished effect.

I couldn't think of a better fabric to back this quilt with than the beautiful zebra print for Frances Newcombe's amazing Safari Moon range.

For a long time, I was unsure as to whether I should quilt zebra dazzle myself or whether I should send it away to be quilted. I am under no illusions about my quilting skills. Since I purchased my Juki sewing machine at the beginning of the year, my ability levels have improved significantly, but I am certainly not an expert and I had never free motion quilted a full size quilt. The very idea was very intimidating.

Part of me wanted the quilt to be perfect and I knew that this would only be achieved if I outsourced the work. But my overwhelming feeling was that I wanted to quilt it myself. This quilt has an incredibly special place in my heart and I wanted to be responsible for every aspect of it from conception to completion.

After I had finally decided to be brave and do it myself, I briefly considered straight line quilting. This would be the best way to guarantee a good result, but it was both the safe and the boring option. I discarded the idea really quickly as I knew that the zebras needed free motion quilting. I stitched the ditch around the zebra and the zebra stripes. After that I added organic lines of quilting to the zebras stripes. Spirals were added to the background and pebbling finished off the zebra noses.

I'll be honest, after I started quilting, there were definitely moments when I questioned whether I had made the right decision. This was especially true when I realised just what a mammoth task I had set myself with such dense quilting, but the further that I got with it, the happier that I became. It's not perfect, but it's the best that I can do and it is a huge achievement.

As I struggled with the quilting, I thought about how my challenges with the quilt reflected on the lessons that I want to teach my daughter.
I thought about the fact that I want her to grow up to embrace challenges instead of running away from them.
I thought about the fact that I don't want her to let a fear of failure stop her from trying new things.
I thought about the fact that it is only through challenging ourselves that we learn and life would be very boring if we stopped learning the minute that we leave school.

I KNOW that my daughter will love this quilt no matter what.
She will not notice that the quilted stitches aren't all even.
The wobbles in the quilted lines will not bother her in the slightest.
She will not see the place where there is a bump in the fabric which might have been avoided if I had stitch basted that area of the quilt before I started quilting.

What she will see is a quilt designed especially for her and made with love.
... and so will I!

This quilt represents where I am right now with my quilts and patterns. It is big, bold, bright and colourful. I definitely want to keep going with large and interesting patterns and I can't wait to design more large scale blocks.

Zebra Dazzle- The Details:
Piecing Method: Paper Piecing
Patterns: Mega Zebra Mania and Mega Zebra in Profile
Designed by: Me (with design credit to my 6 year old daughter)
Quilting: Free Motion Quilting by me
Thread: Aurifil 50wt in colours 2692 and 2024
Fabrics used: Kona Snow, Kona Black, scraps of many of my favourite fabrics including fabrics designed by Tula Pink, Frances Newcombe, Anna Maria Horner, Lizzy House, Brenda Ratliff, Sarah Fielke, Violet Craft, Umbrella Prints, Bari J and many more.
Dimensions: 50" x 90"
 With special thanks to my friend Gill for taking these amazing photos and Deb for her help with the photography session.

I am entering this quilt in the Large Quilts section of the Bloggers Quilt Festival. I would love it if you were to vote for me.
http://amyscreativeside.com/2015/10/23/bloggers-quilt-festival-large-quilt-category/


The Details:
Piecing Method: Paper Piecing
Patterns: The Safari Bundle
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted by me
Fabric used: Utopia by Frances Newcombe
Size: 45" x 56" - See more at: http://www.thetartankiwi.com/2015/05/bloggers-quilt-festival-utopian-safari.html#sthash.H8eWwVUz.dpuf
The Details:
Piecing Method: Paper Piecing
Patterns: The Safari Bundle
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted by me
Fabric used: Utopia by Frances Newcombe
Size: 45" x 56" - See more at: http://www.thetartankiwi.com/2015/05/bloggers-quilt-festival-utopian-safari.html#sthash.H8eWwVUz.dpuf
The Details:
Piecing Method: Paper Piecing
Patterns: The Safari Bundle
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted by me
Fabric used: Utopia by Frances Newcombe
Size: 45" x 56" - See more at: http://www.thetartankiwi.com/2015/05/bloggers-quilt-festival-utopian-safari.html#sthash.H8eWwVUz.dpuf

32 comments :

  1. The most incredible quilt Juliet ... You just grow and grow and grow xxx everything about this is stunning xxx actually no amount of words can describe how proud of you I am or how beautiful you and this quilt are xxx much love

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  2. Such an amazing design and quilt idea... and even more incredible in real life. You're so so very talented Juliet! xxxx

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  3. AWESOME!!! That quilt rocks! As much as I *L*O*V*E* to be your quilter am so proud of you as you have completed a super quilt that your daughter sure WILL love, if for some strange reason she doesn't, then post it on up to me! :-)

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  4. That looks amazing! You have a real talent for design.

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  5. It is so so so very stunning Juliet! A quilt to absolutely treasure forever!

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  6. It is absolutely gorgeous, and a wonderful keepsake for your daughter!

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  7. Amazing - hard to believe we're about to hit 7 with our 'twins'! xxx You have done such a beautiful job xx

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  8. Absolutely gorgeous. I'm glad you linked up to the festival to share. Blogging is a pastime more people should do, feels like not many of us take the time to do.

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  9. This is so amazing and absolutely gorgeous!

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  10. You have one incredibly lucky daughter. I can tell what a work of love this quilt is, from beginning to end. And it is absolutely amazing. AMAZING. Every choice you made is perfect, including choosing to do your own quilting. I'll definitely be voting for your quilt. I don't even need to see any of the others!

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  11. That is fantastic. Love the colours and the broken white border.

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  12. This is awesome! I am sure she will be delighted, and that border is quite inspired.

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  13. This is so incredible Juliet!! I admire your patience and perseverance (two features I don't have) because they've really paid off!!

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  14. That is amazing. The zebras look so cool, and the colors just make the whole thing pop. Love, love this quilt!

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  15. OMG, this is so amazing. Love, Love, Love it and I am sure your daughter will. The border looks fantastic and finishes the quilt beautifully. So glad you made the decision to quilt it yourself-you have done a fantastic job of it.

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  16. Absolutely gorgeous! I didn't really comprehend the size of the blocks until I saw the photo of you standing with it - that is just a glorious creation! Well done!

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  17. That is truly gorgeous, well done! I might have to add quilting to my list of things to work up to post surgery I think.

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  18. What a gorgeous quilt! The colors are spectacular and I love the zebras. Kudos to you for doing your own quilting, it looks great :)

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  19. Fabulous job and design! Now I want to make a zebra!

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  20. Wow wow wow - it is absolutely STUNNING. From design, to binding... you legend! She is one lucky lucky little girl and you are AMAZING!!! So proud xxx

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  21. I love the quilt and the story that goes with it. The borders are a perfect choice. Just gorgeous.

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  22. It is fab! Love your big pattern and bright colors!

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  23. I love this quilt and your daughter should be proud that she has such a clever mama! Thanks for joining us at #scraptastictuesday

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  24. Your quilt is beautiful and amazing. You should be very proud of yourself. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  25. Just found your amazing quilt! It is fantastic and your little girl will be thrilled to see her zebra design turned into a unique quilt. Such a lot of thought, planning and effort. And SO worthwhile. Well done, you!

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  26. I just finished my Zebra quilt. Now on to the doggie's. What fun it is to paper piece YOUR patterns.

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  27. Your quilt is stunning!
    I'm sure your daughter loved it. You did an amazing job of designing choosing fabric, sewing and quilting.

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  28. I love it and your daughter will treasure it for a lifetime.

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