Monday, March 31, 2014

Charity handprint quilt #1; inspired by Eric Carle's "A Tiny Seed"

Back in January I set about pursuing meaningful projects

And backing up even further to last April, I had donated to my twyns' school auction: "A Made-to-Order T-shirt quilt, using up to 20 T-shirts, valued at $200-300." The item fell flat with only a photo to represent it and not a physical presence to explain and describe itself or my handiwork. Someone did buy it, but even they did not quite understand what they were getting.

So this year I decided one (or apparently three) of those meaningful projects was going to be a finished quilt (or three) for the kids' school auction. And the week is finally here! I turned all three of them in last week (one for each of their three classes) and now I can sit back, share with you the designs, and watch the money roll in. 

Well, wait...

Quick & Dirty on Quilt #1: 10 students
  • obtained handprints on original 8 x 8 blocks
  • used Eric Carle's A Tiny Seed for inspiration when choosing a pattern
  • pattern: "Watercolor Garden" by Julie Lynch, from Fall 2011 Fons & Porter's Easy Quilts (Digital Pattern and photos available here.)
  • cut handprint blocks to 4.5 x 4.5 on diagonal to be used in pattern
  • filled in 2 of 12 block pattern with four-patch since there were only 10 students
  • quilted on home machine, mostly in-the-ditch
  • finished quilt came out to be: 44 x 56
Slow & Painful on Quilt #1

Ok let's start with preparing the handprints: 
After some trial-and-error with my own children, I decided to cut 8 x 8 squares of strong white muslin (I wanted white-white to contrast the primary colors I had planned on using.) I pre-washed the muslin *without* fabric softener and ironed *without* any chemicals before cutting.

I bought Tulip fabric paint in this variety pack and let the children choose their color as they approached my 'table' at their school (except for black, I took that out.) I brushed the fabric paint onto their palms and fingers (the more the better, but not so much as it is dripping off) and told them to "spread out your fingers wide" and "stamp" their hands on the "fabric square." Then I immediately held their hand out and away from either of us as we walked over to the 'bucket' for washing. 

I penciled his/her name on the back of his/her block.

I let it dry while I worked on the others. I was at the school for about an hour, and they weren't quite dry. The teachers offered to let me keep them there, but I had also brought wax paper squares to place in between them as I stacked them and put them in a plastic carrier box. 

Once home I separated them, let them dry/cure for about 72 hours, then I washed them all again *without* fabric softener and ironed *without* any chemicals and *without* touching the iron to the actual painted areas. 

Then I got to play with piecing!
I chose this sweet pattern called "Watercolor Garden" by Julie Lynch, published in Fall 2011 in Fons and Porter's Easy Quilts. 

I was looking for a 12-block pattern, but come to think of it, the interlocking squares in this pattern could have also served to add at least 6 more handprint blocks. 

But these little flowers were just the touch I needed to reference Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed, since they do not make specific fabric from that book. It is one of my favorite books because I had preemies, and it's about the littlest seed growing up big and strongest, and oh I promised myself I wasn't gonna cry but I thought it was the best for the little 2-day class kids, who are mostly 2 years old. 

I enjoyed playing with the color pairings.
For this pattern, I had to cut the original 8 x 8 blocks down to 4.5 x 4.5 blocks on the diagonal! That was scary. But obviously I had checked all the handprints to make sure they could work before going for it. That required planning on my part. Not my strongest suit. But here I am, growing, learning...
In this photo you can see I tried to make a few multi-colored flowers,
but in the end that idea proved perfect for the center four-patch "flowers" instead.
The appliqued leaves were scary to me at first, because I haven't done patterned applique in a quilt before. But because of my ETSY shop experience, I'm a certified pro now. 
Before making the 'sandwich' I used a fabric pen to add each child's name to their square. I was still able to read the back of the block for reference at this point. 

In my usual fashion I did not follow the pattern for the border. I used my leftover squares (and cut a few more) from the HST's (used in the flower petals) to make a pieced multi-colored border. 

Onto quilting!

I chickened out on any flower design in the green squares. I loved the negative space so much that I just decided to keep it simple and add a decorative stitch down the middle.
Stitch-in-ditch for the rest...

Now for my favorite part: Binding!
So I have a confession to make. I HATE binding. (This is the final bit of fabric that joins all of the layers together on the outside borders.) Once I read about a "self-binding" method that allowed you to fold over the leftover fabric from the backing onto the front and complete with machine stitch, I was SOLD! A few hand stitches for the labels and my tennis elbow comes right back. I don't need that pain! Hand-binding and making your own binding is clearly superior in the quilt-making world, but thankfully I'm only being judged by parents and their preschoolers!

So this photo is of me having folded back the backing fabric and trimming only the batting. I will then fold and re-fold over the backing to make an even line down the front of the quilt, and pin and machine stitch my way to completion.

So that is it for handprint quilt #1! Psssst! This one's my favorite. Here is its label, side-by-side with the next one, which was inspired by Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? 

Sensing a theme? 

ENJOY! See you tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. They are awesome!! I heart the handprints. Projects totally worth your time for sure.

    I read your other post - sorry it was a not fun audition. One of these is going to work out just perfect, I'm sure of it!


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