Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Veteran's Quilt & Making Pantographs

Dave's Quilt

Several months ago I was asked to make a quilt for a friend of the family. We'll call him Dave. 
Dave's had two requests for his quilt. The first would have made the quilt non-washable so we scrapped it, but the second was for it to be big enough that his feet not hang out. Now that I could do!

Because Dave's career was spent in service to country and community, and because I love red, white, and blue quilts, I started with some very patriotic fabrics found at a local quilt shop. I added more from my stash, and got right to work.

My husband and I have family on both sides that served, and I was very proud to be able to make this quilt for someone who did.

The design itself is very simple, but I believe in giving credit for inspiration. It's modeled after a quilt in this book called "Martin's Pennies" by Carol Hopkins. Her quilt was a mere 20.5" x 25.5". Mine is nearly 60" x 80" so Dave's feet stay covered. 

Building the quilt by units on my design wall.
Two more borders to go.

One solid afternoon later it was entirely together, and ready for some outdoor glamour shots. I stood here on my wing wall taking pictures, and thought how masculine this quilt was. The straight lines would need quilting with curves to soften them. Could I manage rows of feathers down the length? I wanted this done tomorrow so maybe free-handing the feathers was something I'd put off for a less urgent project. But I had been making my own pantographs lately, tweaking the designs to see how it all worked, and this might be doable. 

Free-hand Feathers I

I won't go into a whole tutorial on how to create a pantograph or feathers because there are so many on both. And while most tutorials tend to be computer design centered, it took me a while to realize I don't work well that way. I like paper and pencil, and to spread out across my kitchen table. A pantograph design is made by a small motif repeated over and over, and turned into a continuous design. 

It can be created on just 2 pieces of regular computer paper for ease, but some of mine have gotten much longer as they become more complex. I check the design forward and backward. Does it flow? I copy the design on the printer with several repeats to see if it will fit together comfortably in successive rows above and below, and tweak as necessary. Once I'm happy, I copy the design on printer paper, and tape together as many as I need for the length of my quilt. 

A good book on fabric design is an excellent place to start if you are interested in learning about drops and repeats. They apply to pantograph designs as well as fabric.

My not-so-fancy, but highly portable light box is left over from our homeschooling days of map work. A cardboard gift box with a plastic lid outfitted with a low wattage light bulb inside on a cord works well. Just don't walk away, and let it heat up. I love this little gadget!

Cecil, Misha, and Evie

I try to get my work done early to spend my afternoons sewing. I caught the llamas taking in the morning sun laying in the sand patch while I mowed. Our resident Arabian is not far from 30 years old now, and my daughter says her cats can be seen catching a ride on the horse's back. They wait on the fence until she is nearby, and on they hop. Or maybe she walks over to give them a ride? We'll never know, I guess, but it's pretty sweet!

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go quilt some feathers.


Jan Snell said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I get your blog posts in my email and don’t always have or take the time to go online and post a comment. But...... I love your blog! I find it inspirational and educational. I am always excited when I see your post in my inbox because I know that you will explain your thinking and process in very clear terms that provide me with ideas that I mull around and then give a try when I am ready. thank you! Jan. Janice.snell@gmail.com

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

It looks great. And I agree...a quilt needs to cover the entire body. ☺

KaHolly said...

He’s going to be over the moon when he receives his handsome quilt! The feathers will be perfect. Looking forward to seeing it finished! You have llamas? Cool! The cats are pretty smart. I never heard of such a thing! Enjoy your day!

Linda Swanekamp said...

I have a similar RWB quilt to yours, sans borders, that needs quilting. I don't think I will be so ambitious to use feathers. I was thinking stars and swirls. Hard to get back into the longarm and now with the pinched nerve in my hip it is more difficult.

Barb Neiwert said...

My daughter is a design whiz, and proficient in Illustrator. She has vowed to make some pantographs up for me one day. I should bump that day to the top of her To Do List, because it would be great fun to work with her on a project like that. I love that you're making your own :)

audrey said...

Love making a quilt that is simple yet says so much through the fabric and color choice! Great job with this one. It does exactly what you set out to do!

Glenda said...

WOW Julie I was lost in your tutorial and learnt so much as I'm thinking now of learning some machine quilting too, great tutorial by the way. Love the quilt you have just made a simple lay out but so strong with these colours. Got to the bottom and see it was your blog LOL DIdn't realise it was yours when I clicked on the ling on Esther's WOW or WIP's !!!!! SO nice to be learning from each other. Thats what so great about these links. Hubby has just said there are some plants in the wheel barrow for me to plant out LOL So Id better get off the computer! Hugs Glenda

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

what a wonderful quilt for your vet-friend! It is gorgeous ! My son's a vet and I have several quilts down at their house but no red/white/blue ones..I should put that on the bucket list :)

Kate said...

It's a great guy quilt! Looks like everyone is enjoying the warmer temps at your place.