I’ve been in an improv quilting bee for the last couple of years, to get my improv skills some exercise, called ModQimprovB. The ladies in the group helped contribute made-fabric for one of the projects in my book, and I am so grateful for their friendship. Although I have been more an absentee member this year with everything going, they have graciously let me join in the Christmas swap, which is pretty much the only swap I participate in.
This year, I got my friend Ronnie’s name. Ronnie was there with me at Quilters Take Manhattan right after I found out my book had been accepted, so she’s been in on this whole crazy journey from the beginning! I got kind of excited, because Ronnie is also a motorcycle chick, and I new that I could do some fun things for her swap that were a little different. Without letting her know I had her, I had to figure out if my ideas were going to fly, so I posted this pic to see if she’d like the skull fabric! I don’t have the selvedge any more, but this is an Alexander Henry print from about 7 years ago.
I really *really* wanted to use one of the designs from Urban Threads that was alterna-crafty, and I picked this “Sew or Die” design. They had quilty ones and stitching ones, but I really loved the skulls on this one, since they matched my fabric, and the fabric is part of the whole point, right?
I used wool that I had felted from a recycled blazer, and had to pick out a section that was going to not show the little imperfections in the fabric, like little holes and such. Then I got my stitch on. For about three hours.
When I was done, I wasn’t totally thrilled with my choice for hooping. I had used a peel and stick stabilizer to keep the wool in place because I had been worried about quilting through the stabilizer, and wanted something that would tear away, but the wool has so much movement I needed something more stable, like a fusible sheer mesh. (I’m still learning!)
At the end, I cut the wool in the shape of a heart, and drew out the flames on my stabilizer, using the technique for machine finished turned applique that I learned from Cristy and Sharon. I appliqued that down first, and then layered my heart over and used my triple blanket stitch (number XX on my B790) to applique the wool down. I had already wanted to have a trapunto-like look, and it also helped manage some of the extra fabric, so I sliced open the back and used wool batting cut slightly smaller than the heart shape to fill up the space. Then I layered and quilted the top as I normally would, i.e. simply, because the fabric is so busy. I outlined the applique motifs, and outlined the embroidery to make it stand out a bit, and a few flame-y things in the background but that’s it.
I love love love how this turned out! I need to make one for me now, I think, or perhaps actually buy that jean jacket I’ve wanted since the 80s and put this embroidery on the back…