OK! So the first Christmas gift has been delivered and opened so I can post pictures about it now!
One of my best friends Amanda moved to Alaska from Texas this past year. All of us in Texas miss her terribly, though I am sure she is blessing the socks off of her new friends up north. So I decided to make her a quilt to remind her of “home.” I also wanted the quilt to be something for the whole family to enjoy.
After searching for a quilt pattern that would suit, I ran across the Lil’ Buckaroo pattern (This pattern is carried at Bernina Sewing Studio in Lubock, Texas – www.berninasewingstudio.net). The original pattern looks like this:
For the fabrics, I chose a variety of western prints and several fabrics from the Quilt Across Texas line. There were prints that looked like bandanas and cowhide; a toile pattern with Texas scenes like a oil well and the Alamo; the Texas flag; several different patterns with horseshoes, cowboy boots, cow skulls, and bluebonnets; and even some that had “Texas” spelled out in several different directions. Other fabrics I chose simply had stars or colors that matched the rest of the quilt. The applique pieces were of the same fabrics.
As you can see, the original quilt pattern has a cowboy, cowgirl and a Native American brave. Amanda and her husband have three little boys, so I decided to use three cowboys instead of the three different designs. Underneath each cowboy (each in different clothes) I embroidered their names using a font that looks like a rope.
There are also 11 squares on the quilt pattern that have ranch brands on them. Instead of using the ranch brands from the pattern, I decided to design my own symbolizing Amanda’s family and our friendship. The 11 brands I used were: her sons’ initials (J, P, and H), her initial (A), a brand for her husband that spells “dAD” (his name is John and I already had a J), their last name initial Y), TX for Texas, AK for Alaska, a BU for Baylor University (where we met), a fleur-de-lis (our sorority symbol – GO KAPPA!), and VM for my initials.
The applique squares and the brands are accented by an amazing product called Chenille-By-The-Inch. This neat little product comes in packets that are ready to cut into strips. Then using the stitch line on the chenille, you sew the chenille in whatever design you want onto your fabric. When sewn, it is layered fabric that lays flat. After quilting, you fluff the strips using a stiff brush until the chenille resembles a fuzzy caterpillar. Chenille-By-The-Inch is available at Fabric Cafe in Tyler, Texas (www.fabriccafe.com). You can also purchase their cutting guide ruler and a brush designed specifically for fluffing. Here is what the chenille looks like prior to cutting:
When the Chenille-By-The-Inch is cut and sewn, it looks something like this:
Then you brush…..
It is very messy!!!!
But the finished result is amazing! It is so soft and fluffy, and gives a lot of texture to the quilt. (I also threw the quilt in the dryer on low heat for a few minutes after fluffing to remove the excess lint and to fluff it a bit more).
For the quilting, I used a Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) and free-motion quilted the entire project on my sewing machine. In random squares throughout the quilt, I did a hand-drawn 5-point star. Around the cowboys, horse, cow, applique stars, and brands, I used a guide on the foot to do some simple echo quilting. Along the inner border (cow print), I used a guide and did 4 parallel lines down the length of the border (one in each ditch, and two in the center of the border); this left a 9-square design in each corner of the inner border. In the outer border (dark brown rope print), I did a simple stippling. I also used the stippling method on the other blocks of the quilt that were not quilted with any of the previous methods.
Above are details of the applique 5-point star and one of the brands. Here is a 5-point star and borders (including the 9-square corner):
Here is a detail of the horse:
Here is a detail of the cowboys (there were two others):
Here is a detail of the cow:
Here is a section of the quilt where all the quilting methods can be seen:
Instead of hand-sewing the binding of the quilt, I used a star shaped decorative stitch to go along with the quilt theme. I love the way it turned out! Such a small detail, but it added a lot of character.
The quilt has been shipped, delivered, and opened. It’s new home is with the Yocums in Alaska. Here is what the finished quilt looked like:
These quilts are so much fun! I have seen several different patterns that use the Chenille-By-The-Inch. A companion quilt for this one is the Lil’ Big Chief pattern. My mom has this one, and I can’t wait to see the finished quilt!