In some ways, it feels like I blinked and it’s suddenly August. In others, I’m not sure how so much has managed to be crammed into the eight months since I last posted. Then again, very little of it has been sewing-related. In fact, I spent most of the late winter and early spring without touching any sewing projects.
Part of all of the happenings was a temporary move to Atlanta, GA through the end of 2018. So, it seemed fitting that while exploring and learning about my momentary home, I stumbled upon the Welcome Blanket project. There are plenty of jokes that can be made about the vastly different cultures of Vermont and Georgia, but that’s all privilege talking. The challenges and cultural change for future new Americans are far more vast, and providing comfort with quilts is one of my all time favorite ways to give back to the community.
I’d already been mentally playing with the idea of quilts and alphabets and something other than the techniques I’ve used in previous words-on-quilts projects. This quilt evolved from some sketching I did, inspired loosely by a very triangular alphabet graphic somewhere on the web (I can’t find the source). When translating it into fabric, my M/W unit didn’t come out quite as hoped—I should have shifted the diagonal piece to sit along the center bias line rather than spanning it. But, I love the graphic look that doesn’t immediately scream words at you.
I pulled the fabric from my very minimal stash that traveled with me from VT. I was going for something modern and bright, although the darker gray background tones things down quite a bit. The fabrics are Kona Highlighter, Michael Miller Lime, Michael Miller Coral, and Paintbrush Studio Pewter. The blocks all finished at 14″, resulting in a quilt that shrunk down to almost exactly the requested 40″ square after washing.
I pieced the back together with leftovers from the front, trying to use up as many of the scraps as I could. The rest went into the binding, leaving me with very little leftover from the 3.5 yards of fabric I started with. In between is Quilter’s Dream Green batting. I swung by a local store (Intown Quilters), and decided to pick up a package of the batting when I saw it there (I’ve heard a bit about it online). It’s made from recycled bottles, so is 100% polyester, but this seemed like a good size quilt to experiment with. Only after purchase did I remember that I should have bought cotton batting since I’d sized the quilt intentionally expecting around 5% shrinkage after washing. I needn’t have worried, as it shrunk as expected even with the poly batting.
The quilting is pretty basic on this, just echoing the seam lines with a dark gray Aurifil 50wt. I have a new travel machine, a Pfaff Passport 2.0, and I’m still getting a feel for it. I like the integrated dual feed pretty well, although I’m not sure it’s quite as effective as my Viking’s walking foot. I ran into tension issues a couple of times while quilting this, and did end up with some minor puckering and shifting (mostly hidden after washing). Of course, I’m also dealing with a different setup for basting, as well as a batting I hadn’t used before, so it could be that I just didn’t baste as well as usual.
I have plenty of other things to work on before the project deadline, so I doubt I’ll finish it for that, but I really hope to iterate on this design and try it in a two-color form that is closer to my sketch. I think there’s a lot more to play with when it comes to these shapes and how color interacts.
I’ve found that a common thread in my quilting journey is how it connects me with a community wherever I travel. I attended a meeting of the Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild, which turned into lunch and an outing at MODA (Museum of Design Atlanta), the collection point for Welcome Blankets. The guild had quite a few to donate. So, it all comes full circle that a quilt made to welcome someone to the US also allowed me welcome into a community of quilters here in my temporary home. Quilting: it’s not just about the fabric and making.
If you want to create your own Welcome Blanket (quilt, crochet, knit, etc), the deadline for submissions that will be included in the MODA display is August 25, 2018. They may continue taking submissions after that; check out the project website for more information.