27 September 2008

My Own Definition of "Mystery Quilt"

I talked to my mom yesterday, telling her I'd finished my mystery quilt. She broke it to me gently that a true mystery quilt is one where you piece a block a month, finding out the entire pattern only after you piece the last block. Oh, well. I never said I knew anything about quilting. I just make it up as I go, referring to "Your First Quilt Book" by Carol Douk when I get stuck. So in the "Sarah Dictionary of Quilting," a mystery quilt is one you make for your husband but can't say so on your blog, because he reads it. :-)

I saw this quilt at Amanda Jean's site (And if you're a quilt lover, you must read her blog! It's terrific.) I decided to make a football-watchin'-favorite-team-rootin' quilt for Chris. He roots for both the Tennessee Volunteers and the Washington Redskins, so I was at a loss. Orange for the Vols or maroon for the Redskins. Ugh. I really need him to be a Dallas Cowboys fan. Blue and silver are a whole lot easier. Nobody who loves the Redskins is going to be down with rooting for the Cowboys, though, so I just chose the Vols, since orange looks cute with blue, and everything looks good with black, and surely I could come up with something orange, blue, and black that wouldn't be horrid, right? I couldn't find a pattern I liked, though, until I saw Amanda Jean's striped quilt. It seemed just the thing for making a football quilt as cute as possible, without being girly.

I found collegiate fabric by googling for it, ordered a yard of black and a yard of white, and then spent a few days finding good supporting fabrics. I bought what I thought would be the backing, then decided the quilt needed something else, so I found a great Alexander Henry black and white fabric at JoAnn's a couple of weeks later. Voila! Perfect. I pieced a long strip for the back, and then used both the orange and the black and white, and I think I love the back maybe even more than the front. I love happy endings like that.

Here it is, pieced and ready to be trimmed.

Finished.  I cut the black Tennessee fabric in less-than-perfect lines, to give it an overall effect of motion.  (Or, "I cut the black Tennessee fabric in less-than-perfect lines because I hate cutting and am not great at it."  You decide; I'll never tell.)

The back is my favorite, although the photographer's lack of skills photograph quality doesn't show it to its best.  It's really nice in person.  Trust me :)  That's a 2" tall pieced strip running horizontally between the two fabrics, but it's hard to see in the photo.

I took a gamble and quilted it all in an orange Guterman thread, which ended up being a great idea since my sewing machine hated me the entire time and threw massive tantrums, resulting in me spending over an hour pulling threads.  White would've been hard to see.  Thursday I finished sewing down the binding by hand, threw it in the washer with some Shout grab-it sheets, and Caiden and I prayed out loud that it wouldn't run.  It didn't, and when I gave it to Chris tonight, the orange thread was instantly noticed and appreciated.  Hooray :)

It was so fun to give to him, because he was genuinely surprised and pleased that I'd made it for him, and he even mentioned passing it down to our sons someday.  Forget flowers; complimenting my sewing is the quickest way to my heart.  That and pretending he doesn't notice the size of my fabric stash.

And here's my favorite shot of it.  It's late afternoon, with the sunset to my back, and taking the final photo means one thing:
I can start working on another one.  

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