My snowflakey friends hoped I might be able to share a sneak peak of my special project today, on the first official Snowflake Day/Make a Snowflake Day. I had hoped to have the project done by about mid-February. I'm not going to make that deadline. (Although the layout is done!!!)
One of the multitude of reasons/excuses for not being closer to finished on my top secret project is an adorable baby shower invitation I received last week...
I thought I had until May!!! But no, Madeleine will make her grand appearance in March! The shower is tomorrow!
I had planned to give Jennifer Snowdyed because I didn't know if she was having a boy or a girl. It's pink and blue.
When I learned Madeleine is a girl, I backed the sandwich with pink. Snowdyed perfectly fits the bill; but then I wondered: might Jennifer like something more bright and cheery? I decided to give this first-time mom a choice of the three layered and basted baby-sized quilts I have ready for quilting.
"Oh my goodness!! All three are beautiful!," she wrote. "I don't know how I can choose just one, buuuuut I'm gonna say the snow-dyed one. It's absolutely gorgeous!! Thank you sooo much!! I can't wait until you can meet Madeleine! =) Jenn-Bug"
So, Snowdyed it is!
When I finished my first disappearing four-patch with my newly snow-dyed fabric last year and photographed it with one of my hand-dyed snowflakes, Mrs. Micawber suggested a snowflake might be perfect for each square.
I thought snowflake motifs would be a GREAT quilting alternative, but when it came time to actually begin stitching, I had a huge stack of white snowflake leftovers (snowflakes that will need to be stiffened if I don't use them in other quilts) from THE special project, so I decided to appliqué snowflakes instead of just quilting snowflake outlines. (Fewer leftover snowflakes to stiffen!!!)
This process was a huge eye-opener for me. This little baby quilt features only 18 snowflakes; my special project has 130. !!! YIKES!!!
I didn't finish quilting Snowdyed over the weekend because snowflake appliqué takes a LOT longer than I remembered. My first machine appliqué attempt on this quilt was a complete disaster. I accidentally caught a fold in the underneath side of the quilt, and the only way to fix it was to rip out the quilting of the entire snowflake. I slowed the process down for all the rest of the snowflakes, and I ended up not having to take out any more stitching, but that meant the quilt couldn't be mailed on Monday as planned. Better a near-perfect quilt perhaps not in time for the actual shower than a flawed quilt in front of an entire audience of well-wishers.
My quilts don't HAVE to be quilt-show perfect, especially while I'm trying to improve my free-motion quilting skills, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try to do my best. I didn't want this gift to look rushed. I want it to be a cherished heirloom, and I hope it will be symbolic of the love I have for my little grand niece. A fold on the backside simply was not acceptable.
This project was indeed great free-motion practice - lots of twists and turns and picots and bumps and spikes and popcorn stitches to work over, and it made me wonder if I wouldn't be better off doing the appliqué portion of my special project by hand. I now plan to throw that full-size quilt baby on my homemade frame this weekend to begin the long, drawn-out, tedious task of hand appliqué.
Because today is THE first official Snowflake Day, Sisters of the Snowflake win. Here is a tiny sneak preview of what's to come. It may be a full month (or more) before my actual project is complete, however. I have a lot of hand-stitching ahead of me.
The main focus for this week had to be finishing Snowdyed, and now it's a snowflakey finished Snowdyed. Rather fitting, I believe, since piles of snowflakes are responsible for the great coloring on this baby quilt!
I didn't have quite enough solid pink Kona leftovers from my various breast cancer quilts to back the entire baby quilt, sadly, so I threw in a strip of my pink (lavender) Spoonflower fabric, with a digitally manipulated photo of one of my mom's roses forming snowflake designs.
I tried to line up the Spoonflower strip so a snowflake from the front might perfectly overlap one of the Photoshopped rose flakes, and it was close, but no cigar. Which is fine, because I don't smoke anyway, and neither does anyone in Jennifer's family. Remember when men lit up "It's a Boy!" or "It's a Girl!" stogies to celebrate a new birth?!?
I initially had planned snowflake motifs in the squares that didn't have snowflakes, but after finishing all the appliqué work, I decided more motifs might be overkill. So then I thought Storm at Sea quilting might fit in perfectly. After quilting diamonds into each of the big squares and burying all the thread ends, I decided it was time to bind this baby, get it in the mail and call it good. The overall quilting is not dense at all, so the quilt is lofty soft, comfy and cuddly perfect for a baby.
I pieced almost all the rest of the snow-dyed remnants to create the binding and did the entire binding by machine, using Elmer's School Glue for basting. It's not my favorite method of binding, but I didn't have time to do it by hand.
Not only did this quilt need to be washed before making a cross-country trip so I could make sure it will withstand the multitude of pressures of covering a baby, I needed to make absolutely certain the fabric wouldn't run, too! I'd rinsed and washed the fabric after dyeing it, but adding all the white snowflakes... well, I just needed to know for sure. And sure enough, the color is fast!
I can't be at Madeleine's shower, but I've packed up and mailed a few layers of love and even wrapped them in my very own Spoonflower wrapping paper! I'm looking forward to meeting the newest member of my family as soon as I get a chance!
Snowdyed, Before Washing
Snowdyed, After Washing
Snowdyed, Before Washing
Snowdyed, After Washing
Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.