I keep kidding my husband that I want to leave our Grinch-themed holiday decorations up all year long – well, he thinks I’m kidding. I’m actually dead serious.
Until I get him on board, though, I’m going to have to sneak my Grinch fix in during the other 11 months of the year, like I’ve done with this newly finished quilt –
That Grinch panel has been in my stash for years because I couldn’t come up with a quilt design I liked enough to use it. Finally, I decided I’d had enough and spent an entire weekend back in February creating potential panel designs***
After narrowing those choices down to 3, I ended up picking a pattern of wide borders made with scrappy crooked blocks. With all the fun angles and bright holiday colors, the final design turned out appropriately Seuss-ian. At the same time, the big blocks don’t overwhelm the panel – it’s still the focus.
Side note, I think I’ve come to a better understanding what my customers go thru! When you request a custom quilt design at Whimzie Quiltz I typically respond with 3-4 designs to choose from. I’ve been told – repeatedly! – how hard it is to pick a favorite when there are so many options. After this, yeah, I get it now 😀
I chose a red and white dot Minky fabric for the back. But to keep the soft Minky pile from getting too squished down, I had to keep the quilting simple. So there are lots of straight lines in the green areas and oversized asterisks in the red areas. My hope was that they would call back to mid-century design elements popular when Dr. Seuss wrote the original Grinch story while still letting the quilt drape and cuddle.
The Minky backing makes this quilt SO soft and snuggly (which is why, ironically, it is named “Cuddly as a Cactus” 😀 ) I’m still not good enough at quilting Minky to offer it as an option to customers, but perhaps with a few more Minky-fied quilts under my belt, I soon will.
My Grinch fix for July is now taken care of – Whew! But there are still 161 days until Grinchmas 2018, so I’m off to start another Grinch-y project to hold me over ’til then…
As an added bonus to my weekend of “panel productivity”, I figured out a design for a leg lamp quilt panel I’ve also had for years (Hubs is a huge fan of A Christmas Story.) And I now have LOTS of quilt panel designs to suggest to customers who want a custom quilt featuring a large central image, too!
One of my favorite parts about custom quilting is when a customer comes to me with an idea for a quilt design that I never would have thought of on my own. Barry L.’s recent request for a Zia quilt is one such request.
The Zia is a classic Southwestern sun symbol – and turning it into a quilt design really let my creativity shine (see what I did there? :D)
Barry’s wife is a native of New Mexico, so he wanted the design to reflect not only the state she was born and raised in, but also that they were about to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. A quilt that featured both a Zia symbol for NM and a heart for their relationship seemed to be the perfect combination.
Since New Mexico was the driving theme, I definitely wanted to stick to traditional Southwest desert colors. The heart is pieced from a number of Adobe red fabrics and I chose a single ochre yellow for the symbol and the border accent. Various turquoise print fabrics were the perfect choice for the scrappy background.
To keep the New Mexico flavor going, I chose several Southwestern motifs for the quilting, too. For instance, there are swirled sun symbols quilted on random blocks across the quilt top. I’d originally considered quilting each individual block with this design, but felt they’d lose their specialness. In the end, I like the surprise of a few scattered symbols among the regular meander quilting.
The quilting on the Zia rays and the accent border is inspired by squash blossom necklaces, another popular Southwestern design element. And I echoed the swirled sun ray quilt motif around the center of the Zia to tie everything together.
Let the sun shine through your heart
Barry’s big-hearted desire to give his wife a meaningful anniversary gift really “shined” through all my interactions with him. I wish them both many more years of wedded bliss, cuddled together under their Zia Heart Whimzie quilt!
I thought it might be fun to take a detailed look through the creative process I bring to a quilt design…
This is the fabric I fell in love with – it’s from a Michael Miller line called Garden Isle. The palm leaf print coordinates with the decor in our guest room beautifully and I thought a light-weight summer quilt for that room would be perfect.
This is the quilt design I ultimately decided was my favorite choice – but it took a long time to get to this point!
I knew I wanted to feature the palm leaf fabric, so this was my first effort – a large block of the print in the center surrounded by smaller scrappy blocks. But it’s a little too basic, too blah.
Building on that first design, I then tried breaking up the large center block of palm fabric. It’s still the focus, but there’s more white space, too, which outlines a path for your eye to travel through the design.
Next I tried a row quilt design. Again, the palm fabric is featured and there’s lots of white space which nicely sets off the scrappy blocks. This was a top contender, but I wasn’t quite satisfied.
After so many options with large areas of palm fabric, I wanted to try something different. Here the palm blocks are more seperated, but I felt their design got lost next to the larger scrappy blocks.
Another smaller palm block design – this time with a black and white stripe element (one of my favorite accents in a quilt.) But again, it feels like the beautiful focus fabric is no longer emphasized.
I got the right balance of palm fabric and scrappy fabrics in this one, but the only way I could make it work was changing the overall quilt dimensions from rectangular to square. Despite such a dramatic shift, this was almost my choice.
Once again, the winning design! You can see how I pulled a lot of the best elements from previous designs into this one and everything just finally gelled. I can’t wait to get started on this quilt!
Our first great niece will be making her way into the world any day now and, of course, I had to make a baby quilt to celebrate this momentous occasion.
Because her proud parents-to-be are known for their love of games, I thought that an “I Spy”/matching game quilt would be the perfect choice. That way baby can join in the fun right from the beginning…
I really liked the idea of a modern quilt design and this asymmetric pattern was something I hadn’t done before. The gray and white color scheme worked really well as a frame for the novelty fabrics (and once we knew it was a girl, I added in a pink accent to the binding.)
Going through my stash to find the perfect novelty fabric choices was so much fun! There’s a few in there that have personal meaning for my niece and her growing family – they are big Patriots fans, for instance, and great-grandma has a tea cup collection. Others I just thought would be fun for a kid to search for – Dinosaurs! Rubber duckies! Rocket ships!
I love how an I Spy quilt like this encourages family interaction and baby’s development. There’s so many learning opportunities here – searching for matching images, looking for specific designs, identifying colors, etc. Plus, it’s just plain fun 😀
Here’s hoping Briella and her parents enjoy a future filled with lots of warm and wonderful family game nights. Welcome little one!
I find it practically impossible to make a baby quilt and not include a tooth fairy pillow, too.
There was a long search for a tooth fairy embroidery that I could use for this baby and for future babies (after all, our siblings have 17 kids between them. I suspect there will be future great nieces and nephews. 😀 ) This super cute one from artapli on Etsy was perfect.
Additional scrappy gray fabrics that coordinate with the gray and white fabrics from the quilt – and that same pink accent – mean everything matches beautifully.
The added benefit here is that just as baby starts to age out of their baby quilt, having a tooth fairy pillow around means a little warmth and “whimzie” will still be part of their life!
To me, custom quilting has always meant personalizing each quilt I make to the individual. Even if someone likes a quilt I’ve made in the past and wants one “just like it” for themselves, I encourage them to consider some alteration that will make the new one their’s alone. So it’s rare that I make the same quilt twice.
However, with Gus H.’s newest order, I found out that twice can be nice!
He wanted a family tree quilt, but something that would incorporate the appropriate Chinese zodiac symbol for each person, too. We settled on a design that represents the Chinese tradition of hanging lanterns from a plum tree limb in celebration of the lunar new year.
That’s when he threw me the curve ball – he actually wanted TWO quilts! One would be a wall hanging and one would be a body pillow sham. I agreed, thinking they would both come out nicely, but maybe not exactly the same. No one was more surprised that I was by how closely they match!
Most of the design was done using my new embroidery machine – the plum blossoms, the lanterns, the kanji symbols and the text were all done that way. The plum tree branch was satin stitch appliquéd separately. Because these won’t be used as regularly as a quilt would, I was able to sew on actual tassels to complete the design; it’s a lovely 3-dimensional effect.
While I still prefer that every Whimzie quilt should be unique to the customer who orders it, it was fun to do double duty ~ just this once!
My aunt’s granddaughter got a Chihuahua puppy for Christmas and she was so crazy excited.
Since I was ready making a bunch of new quilted checkerboard games for my Whimzie Quiltz Etsy store, it got me thinking that this adorable fabric would make a “paws”itively perfect checkerboard game for her.
So I added it to the list… just hope the puppy leaves them alone long enough to actually play! 😀
Anne M. ordered this custom checkerboard game as a teacher appreciation gift for her kids’ great teacher. I LOVE this idea – it’s useful AND unique!
Games make learning fun and a quilted game board can stand up to lots of youthful wear and tear. Plus it’s so different from the usual goodies or tchotchkes teachers get by the handful.
Maybe your kids have a great teacher whose classroom could use it’s own quilted checkerboard game? If so, visit Whimzie Quiltz on Etsy to see what I have in stock today or order your own custom version, too.