When you are trying out different fabrics for part of a quilt, looking for the perfect choice, quilters call that “auditioning” fabric. Sometimes a fabric walks into the spotlight, belts out a showstopper, and you just know it’s the one. Other times, fabric after fabric traipses across the stage and you despair of ever finding a new super star.
When Larry T. asked me to create a quilted Happy Who-lidays table runner and placemat set, he had already picked out a favorite Grinch-themed fabric. I added some green and red fabrics featuring Seussian drawings of Whos from my stash and everything was going together fine. Then it came time to audition fabrics for the binding…
My original design called for a solid black fabric binding, but once I tried it, the dark color overwhelmed everything ~ it was all you saw. I tried a black and white stripe. I tried a red stripe. I tried a dark green.
Nothing was working.
I tried a solid green that matched the Who accent fabric and then I tried a solid red coordinate. Both were close and I agonized for quite a while about which one I should use. And that’s when it dawned on me ~ what this whimzical dining set needed was BOTH.
Yes, alternating red on half the placemats and green on half the placemats really made the whole thing sing!
Perhaps you noticed the silverware holders? Decorative holders for silverware are all over Pinterest these days! I’ve seen a number of different designs that are quilted, but thought these simply sewn pouches looked best with Larry’s placemats. Luckily, there was enough of the Who accent fabrics to make 3 green and 3 red pouches; when tied, each holds a knife, fork and spoon.
I also had some Cindy Lou Who fabric in my stash, so I made a couple of coordinating mug rugs for Larry and his wife. My thinking was, the dining set is for company, the mug rugs are just for them to enjoy after their guests leave 🙂
And look ~ I got to use a black and white stripe binding somewhere after all!
In the back of every quilter’s mind is a secret ambition to cover the entire world in quilts. Well, at least it’s in the back of my mind ~ I’d ❤️ the opportunity make every single person on Earth a custom Whimzie quilt! With this adorable baby quilt, which went to a little girl in New Zealand, I’m just a little closer to that goal…
At first, I wasn’t sure when Cynthia H. said she wanted an all black baby quilt because her friend is a fan of the All Blacks Rugby team (8 World Cup appearances!) But look how cute the quilt turned out! The team logo just pops while the black tones of the zig zags make the quilt look toasty and inviting.
Cynthia couldn’t have picked a better backing fabric for this quilt either ~ how much do you love this sheep fabric? It’s the perfect addition to the New Zealand theme. (Speaking of which, did you notice that baby’s name is Fern?!? She’s literally New Zealand’s newest Fern!)
Building on the sheep idea, I chose to make a lamb-themed tooth fairy pillow as Cynthia’s gift with purchase. The Tooth Fairy is a thing in New Zealand too, right? If not, it’s going to be after they see this…
This was such a fun project! I make a lot of quilts, but knowing this one was traveling so far to find a forever home made it extra special. From now on, I’m going to imagine all my quilts as little fabric ambassadors traveling the globe encouraging everyone to enjoy the warmth and “whimzie” of quilts!
I really try for exceptional customer service at Whimzie Quiltz. Not just with the extreme care and attention I put into designing and making custom quilts, but by going a little further / trying to do a little more to make your WQ experience extra special.
Part of that is surprising customers with a “gift with purchase” – an additional quilted item that often complements their custom quilt order. Sometimes, though, especially with returning Whimzie Quiltz customers, I struggle to find the perfect gift with purchase.
I’d already made a toddler quilt for Jodi S. and included a quilted dinosaur checkerboard game for her little boy. Next she asked me to make a custom memory quilt for her husband (you may remember, he’s the one who had a lot of his high school and college diving memorabilia stolen and the quilt was the perfect solution for keeping what he had left safe.) Since her husband is in the Army, they move a lot, so a large pillow sham or something else that would be difficult to pack was off the table.
Thinking of her being on the move all the time finally triggered the perfect idea ~ one of my quilted backpacks!
I found a great Army-themed embroidery over at SWAK Embroidery – it’s a Army star parachute with the sentiment “Home is where the army send us”. I appliquéd it on a background of camouflage fabric (the same fabric that lines the backpack) and added it to the charcoal fabric flap. For the backpack itself I used a coordinating khaki fabric and finished everything off with camo straps.
It seems like Jodi likes it ~
May I just say how much I love the backpack??? Holy cow! … We will use it often and appreciate everything you do!
Super cute and super useful – that’s the Whimzie Quiltz sweet spot 😀
Things I learned while working on this custom Army Diving t-shirt quilt for Jodi S. and her husband Tyler ~
- I am a sucker for a sad story. Every time I make a t-shirt quilt, I swear up, down and sideways that it will the last t-shirt quilt I ever make. And then someone asks me to reconsider, explaining why having a t-shirt quilt made would be so meaningful to them and, gosh darn it, they always find a reason to make me change my mind! Tyler’s justification was especially compelling – during one of the many moves he’s had to make as an Army soldier, someone stole all the diving medals he’d earned over the years. All that was left from those times were his diving t-shirts and he and his wife wanted to make sure they were carefully preserved. How could I not help them out?
- There really is an “army blanket”. Sure, I’ve heard people talk about Army blankets before, but I assumed that generically applied to any blanket that someone in the Army used. Nope. There is an actual Army blanket given to each West Point cadet – it’s a gorgeous grey wool with black and gold accent stripes. We used that pattern as the overall design to pull all the t-shirts together.
- A good pun is a good pun no matter how often it comes up. Tyler asked for the Army diving team’s rally cry “GO ARMY SINK NAVY” on the quilt. Every single time I saw it while quilting, which over the course of several months amounted to a 4,938,726 times (give or take), I giggled.
- There’s a first time for everything. This quilt is going down in Whimzie Quiltz history as the first, and dare I say only?, time I’ve been asked to quilt a Speedo. While the Go Army Sink Navy pun made me giggle, when I opened the package of shirts Tyler and Jodi sent and found a Speedo included I couldn’t stop laughing. I was literally the laughing / crying emoji 😂 for a good half hour. But I made it happen!
- Camouflage works. Of course, you always assume something like camouflage works. I mean the Army wouldn’t be making uniforms out of it since 1902 if it didn’t. But, boy, when your customer requests a grey camo for the backing fabric on their quilt, and you are trying to find loose thread ends on that fabric but can’t because they keep blending in too well that’s when you really internalize the concept of camouflage.
Jodi is actually a return customer – in 2015, I created a baby clothes memory quilt for her. That quilt was one of the first quilts that I used rulers on when doing the long-arm quilting, choosing an all-over chevron design. I echoed that quilting pattern here with another chevron, though this time I elongated the width of the “zag” compared to the “zig” to give it a bit more modern flair. (I ended up loving the way it turned out so much that I’m thinking of doing that same elongated chevron on an upcoming quilt for myself, too.)
Every quilt I make is an opportunity to learn more about my customers, about quilting, and even about me, but I especially enjoyed “diving in” and finding out so much with this one. And this time I really, really, really mean it – NO MORE T-SHIRT QUILTS! (Of course my fingers aren’t crossed; why do you ask? 😀 )
You know that feeling when a someone asks your advice on a custom quilted gift idea and you absolutely nail it? Yeah, it doesn’t happen every time, but when it does…
Customer Carrie N. was looking for a special gift for her sister ~ her sister who may be the world’s biggest Pearl Jam fan. First row seats at multiple concerts every tour biggest Pearl Jam fan. My suggestion? A quilted backpack. Carrie liked that idea because her sister did a LOT of waiting in lines for those exclusive tickets.
We both wanted the Pearl Jam “stick man” logo embroidered on the backpack, but finding the right guitar fabric was surprisingly hard. I eventually sourced some out of Canada of all places. This is the final piece –
I don’t post identifiable photos here on Snip-Itz, but Carrie did send one of her sister opening the gift. It’s literally the most surprised I’ve ever seen a human being. 😲
As Carrie said,
Best reaction I have ever seen to a gift. Lol. Thank you
Want that kind of response to the gifts you give? Contact Whimzie Quiltz and let’s get a special gift for your loved one started!
When I started this The Good Place quilt in January 2018 the best show on television was mid-way through Season 2. I really hoped to have the quilt finished before Season 3 debuted, but life got in the way and it wasn’t finished until now…
I don’t make a lot of modern quilts, but the bright pastels of Michael’s frozen yogurt paradise called out for a contemporary quilt design. The overall pattern here was inspired by a layout in Amy Gibson’s The Quilt Block Cookbook, mixed with appliques representing each main character.
For anyone who doesn’t watch the show (though you really should!) the applique designs include
- Eleanor ~ What the fork? catchphrase and her love of shrimp
- Michael ~ frozen yogurt
- Chidi ~ Trolley Problem philosophical challenge
- Tahani ~ floral dress (with an AIDS ribbon for her philanthropy)
- Janet ~ cactus*, and
- Jason ~ Blake Bortles jersey
Of course, I had to add the original, happy green “Welcome. Everything is fine.” greeting, too!
(*For those who think one cactus for Janet isn’t enough, I invite you to turn this quilt over and check out the backing fabric. Using this colorful potted cactus fabric is one of my all-time favorite quilt top / quilt back matches!)
When it came time to quilt the top, I stayed with the modern vibe, using mostly straight lines and pebbles. The initial lines went from side to side; once I’d covered the entire top, I removed it and turned the quilt 90 degrees before putting it back on the longarm to add straight lines from top to bottom. This was the first time I took a quilt off the longarm mid-project and am pretty pleased with how it turned out. I do think, though, that had the initial quilting not been as dense as it was (the lines were 1/2″ apart) the mid-project removal might not have worked as well as it did.
While I’d like to think that creating this motherforking awesome quilt should itself be enough to get me into the real Good Place, I may have lost some points because of how long it took me to finish. Still, it’s not like I used Facebook as a verb (-5.55 points) or rooted for the New York Yankees (-99.15), so maybe I can curl up with this quilt in the Medium Place if nothing else!
As I was looking back over what I accomplished quilt-wise in 2018, I noticed a few items that didn’t get posted here on Snip-Itz, so here’s a short and sweet look at 4 quilt projects from the last year —
Granny’s Glamper Quilted Accent Pillow
This adorable coordinating pillow was part of DeVon D.’s “gift with purchase” for the quilt she ordered to fit her teardrop camper. I think she liked it, because, after receiving it, she wrote,
“I told my husband he has to paint my camper to match the one on the sham! I’m not even kidding.”
In July, Sheryl M. contacted me about a Pittsburgh Steelers custom quilted checkers game. Seems that she works in a nursing home in Pennsylvania and thought the residents would enjoy playing. They must have ~ because in August she contacted me to have a second Steelers checkerboard made!
Hello There Hello Kitty
After finding me through the Whimzie Quiltz website, most returning customers contact me directly for new projects. So it was extra fun to just see 4x customer Gus H.’s name pop up on an Etsy store order in August for this Hello Kitty custom quilted checkerboard game. Glad he knew that, no matter how someone gets in touch ~ directly, through the website, through Etsy or Facebook ~ it’ll be the same great Whimzie Quiltz experience no matter what!
Sunny Day, Sweeping the Quilts Away
In 2014, I made a no soliciting sign, a no trespassing sign and two pillows ~ all quilted ~ for our home. This year, the constant sun, wind and dew exposure finally did them in. So this is the new set (the pillows aren’t pictured). I figure I have until 2022 – unless we move 😀 – before I have to do it again.