What do you do when someone asks for a quilt with hearts and arrows on it? You make a quilt with hearts and arrows on it!
I offered to make my sister in law Heather a quilt last year. And after she finished exclaiming her excitement (she really is the best at showing excitement and appreciation, it's so rewarding!) we got to talking about colors and pattern.
She picked a color scheme pretty quickly and for the pattern, left it up to me to interpret her "hearts and arrows" request.
After a few sketches and layouts and talking through ideas with my friend Jen and asking Ian for his opinion (she's his sister, after all) and toying with the idea of a double-sided quilt and then giving up on that and combining the two layouts I liked most and, yes, buying a few new prints (I wanted some heart and arrows fabrics and some lighter prints), I finally started piecing.
And I pieced, and pieced, and pieced. I used this tutorial to make the arrows and this tutorial to make the hearts.
And once all the blocks were pieced, I started piecing the background from the same low volume prints as the arrows. And then I pieced a huge blank space in the center.
And then I traced a picture of Heather's crossed arrows tattoo and blew it up super huge and pieced it and appliqued it to the top.
And then came the meltdown before Christmas when my machine decided that stitches were for losers and started skipping them when free motion quilting.
After some tears and a glass of wine, I realized that I was going about the quilting all wrong. What this quilt really needed was echo quilting using the crossed arrows as a guide. OBVIOUSLY!!!
I marked the entire quilt with a hera marker, quilted it and painstakingly bound it (after quilting beautifully, my machine skipped so many stitches on the binding!).
And when it was done, I actually thought "if I die tomorrow, I'll die happy." I knew that every second of making this quilt was worth it. Every single stitch!
I have never been prouder of a quilt or of my abilities as a quilter. The design was challenging, the color palette and use of low volume fabrics was new for me, and I appliqued a freaking tattoo onto a freaking quilt! I can't believe how much I love the quilting! I'm so proud of myself for figuring out exactly what the quilt needed and for having the patience to do it right. I will be forever grateful to Heather for giving me such a challenge, to have pushed me to a new level as a quilter. I've made over 50 quilts in 11 years and I can't wait to see what the next 50 will look like! I have so many ideas, so little time. I can't wait to make the most of it!