Little did I know when I bought this fabric I was embarking upon what would one day become a family tradition. Going on nearly two decades ago, I found this fabric at a discount store and fell in love with it because of the color scheme and because it's southwest. I bought about three yards and used a very small amount for the vest on the black version of this dress, which was, at the time, all the rage.
I even found buttons to perfectly match the dress.
When the dress finally wore out and could no longer be patched, I cut the buttons off and bought a small amount of fabric for a shirt to go with the buttons. The usable lizard dress remnants (and the leftover lizard shirt fabric) went in the stash box.
I still wear the shirt sometimes.
In 2004, The Lizard and I began dating. That was his nickname long before I met him. His co-workers had teased him about sunning on rocks during breaks, and the name stuck.
During our first date, a bicycle ride to the Delicate Arch trailhead, I discovered The Lizard likes to wear a bandana beneath his helmet to prevent sunburn stripes and to keep sweat from his eyes. Two dates later, he told me he'd like "lots more dates," and I decided to dig out that old lizard fabric and surprise him with a homemade bandana on our next date, a hike in Colorado National Monument. It was his birthday.
From that point on, I began collecting lizard fabrics. I would buy one yard and make a new bandana. He has quite the collection of bandanas now, featuring everything from chili peppers, Kokopellis, snowflakes and aircraft to camo, bicycles and lizards. And I have quite the collection of bandana leftovers.
Lizard Head in Lizard Head
Sometime before 2008 I got the wild idea to use the lizard leftovers in a quilt. We had been looking for a house for about two years, and we were trying to save money and not spend. We were in a very tiny apartment, and there wasn't room for more fabric (or bikes, or bike tools, or plants, etc.). I had used up quite a bit of fabric leftovers for charity quilts, but the supply still overflowed.
This quilt top was constructed entirely of leftovers. Even the batting was pieced together from leftovers. One of the black panels came from the original Lizard Dress from nearly two decades ago!
Some black remnants were not big enough for panels.
I had to strip piece them bigger.
I used hand-dyed (from Rit dye) denim blue flannel leftover from the still-unfinished snowflake quilt backing for the back of the lizard quilt sandwich. I pin-basted the sandwich but never quilted it because, Ta Da! We finally found a house! All the quilting stuff and fabric and sewing machine were packed away while we moved. My father-in-law made a beautiful cactus quilt rack for us, and that's where Lizard Leftovers languished until this month.
I was never really happy with the flannel backing for the quilt, plus, when our car broke down in Cedar City in 2008, stranding us in that vacation paradise for a whole week, I found yet more lizard fabric on clearance in a tiny shop there. I bought the entire end of the bolt. The fabric, about four yards' worth, can be seen on the cactus quilt rack above.
I have wanted to replace the flannel with the clearance fabric ever since, but I just couldn't bring myself to use new fabric in a quilt that at that point, was entirely constructed of leftovers. So the unfinished quilt hung. And hung. And hung.
Last summer, we had overnight company three times, and all three questioned why we had unfinished quilts on the cactus rack and a store-bought comforter on the spare bed. Ever since we bought the spare bed, I'd intended to cover it with Lizard Leftovers because our bed is covered with Dancing Lizards.
When I joined the quarterly quilt WIP challenge on Ravelry last summer, I decided I might be able to finish Lizard Leftovers with the clearance lizard fabric from Cedar City if I used the clearance fabric for something else first, which would result in more lizard leftovers, and likely enough to cover the entire back of the quilt.
I'm still trying to get a quilt finished in time to submit to hopefully be juried into this year's Denver National Quilt Festival, but I've been away from free-motion quilting long enough I didn't want to start out with a competition quilt. I wanted to practice first and rebuild self-confidence.
On March 1, I finally made a bandana with the clearance lizard fabric, and sure enough, enough fabric remained to cover the back of Lizard Leftovers. Since I'd constructed the quilt top, many more homemade lizard bandanas had graced the collection. I thought it would be fun to keep the bandana shape in the new quilt back, thereby eternally memorializing the bandana purpose of most of the lizard fabrics in the quilt.
I decided to fill the bandana cut with another lizard bandana triangle leftover, and then incorporate even more lizard leftovers on the narrow side instead of constructing a wide quilt back from 45-inch fabric, as I have done with every quilt I've ever made except Welcome to the Jungle. (Welcome to the Jungle has wide quilt backing on the back and no seams.)
This is the first full-sized quilt I've completely finished since Dancing Lizards! This is the first time I've ever free-motion-quilted an entire full-sized quilt!
This quilt is not destined for competition, but boy did I ever fall in love all over again when I finished the new quilt sandwich! And then I fell in love yet again when I placed this new quilt sandwich on the new quilt frame The Lizard built for me in February. (I helped sand the boards.)
I'd been using too-small, warped, unfinished splintery and knotty pine boards ever since I inherited my grandmother's quilting, crocheting and tatting stash back in 1979. The new quilt frame is sturdy 1x3-inch oak, carefully selected by The Lizard with minimal knot holes and NO warping. He stapled leftovers from Welcome to the Jungle's quilt-sized quilt backing (cut into strips by me) along the top according to instructions he found on the internet. I'd never pinned a quilt to fabric strips stapled onto boards until Lizard Leftovers, and I'll never go back to thumbtacks again now. This new frame makes basting SO much simpler and so much more fun. And NO MORE SPLINTERS!!!!!
The Old Quilt Frame with Welcome to the Jungle
Sanding the New Quilt Frame
Making Fabric Strips for the New Quilt Frame
Stapling Fabric Strips to the New Quilt Frame
The New Quilt Frame with Lizard Leftovers
It took about six hours all together to baste Lizard Leftovers. Quilting took nearly eight hours. Binding, mostly by hand, took another six hours. Clearing last summer's naturally and solar-dyed yarn from the spare bed took an hour. Now how long will it take for all that hand-dyed yarn to find its way back to the spare bed?!?
Linking up with Devoted Quilter for her first TGIFF and Confessions of a Fabric Addict's "Can I Get a Whoop Whoop."
A Wee Bit Windy
All in The Lizard Family