Friday, April 24, 2009

Noah's Ark Quilt aka secret project #1

Well, it took more than a year from start to finish, but I finally got my niece's Noah's Ark baby quilt finished and sent to her.
Last year, my sister announced her pregnancy and soon after decided she would be having a Noah's Ark themed nursery. I've made baby quilts for all my nieces and nephews (well, except for two who came into the family as older kids) and I looked all over for Noah's Ark fabric but I couldn't find any. I got out my copy of A Quilter's Ark by Margaret Rolfe, and thought about using her paper piecing patterns to make a Noah's ark quilt. I talked to my mom about it and decided I would go for it. I changed the pattern in the book, which uses 4-inch square animal blocks, to a simpler one with 16 animals, all pieced in 6-inch blocks. I planned on making the ark block a bit smaller than the one in the book as well. So I got some striped and pink fabrics, and made my first couple pairs of animals (zebras and flamingos). Then I got pregnant with my baby and lost almost all the energy I had for sewing or anything besides resting a lot and barely getting by.

I ended up working on the quilt off and on a little bit during my pregnancy, and then bit by bit in these last months since my baby has arrived (she's 6 months old now!) (I better get going on a baby quilt for her!)

So, our other sister was coming out to see me this month for her spring break, and I decided I would finish up the quilt so she could take it back to Utah and give it to baby Natalie. I'm pretty sure I had it pin basted when Shelly got here. I started out with machine quilting the sashing.

I had thought I should probably hand quilt the animal blocks. But I didn't want to. I told my mom I thought they wanted to be hand quilted, and she thought it would be ok if I machine quilted them. But then... I didn't have quilting thread in all those colors, and, well I actually went ahead and started machine quilting one of the lions with an echo-quilting design. And I hated it. I picked it out (I've never unpicked quilting before, I don't think) and decided it was going to be hand quilted.

I worked on the handquilting, a lot, while Shelly was here visiting. I thought I would get it done. I had also promised to make some clothing items for Shelly's kids though. After a couple days, it became clear I wouldn't be able to send the quilt back to Utah with Shelly on the plane. So I went ahead and sewed up her daughter's pink camo skirt and pink-heart-shaped-leopard-print hoodie (pics of those another time). She went home (miss you!) and I finished the Noah's Ark quilt a few days after she was gone.

The animals are pieced mostly from scraps I had on hand, and some with new fabrics I bought specifically for the project. The sashing is JoAnn linen blend, scraps from maternity pants I made for myself when I was pregnant with Jacob, who's almost 5. Hand quilting was done with 2 strands of embroidery floss, various colors. This was my 4th quilt to have this rainbow binding fabric. It's officially all gone except scraps now. I got my first spool of Superior thread for the machine quilting, and I kind of like it. It's a very slightly variegated natural color and it's a bit heavier than regular sewing thread or the silk/cotton Mettler thread that I use sometimes for machine quilting.

The project was kind of discouraging at times, especially in the middle when it was taking so long. But finishing it up and seeing how it looked as I did that hand quilting was kind of fun. Kind of exciting. My fingers hurt really bad after all that hand work though. It feels really good to get a big project like this all done.







(You can see all the pictures at my flickr account, even super-enlarged, if you want. Link is in top-right corner.)

26 comments:

Zonnah said...

Wow! It is so beautiful.

Anne said...

That is absolutely fabulous!

Allie said...

Your quilt turned out amazing! I'm sure it will be loved.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

What an incredible quilt! And the hand quilting really sets off the animals. You did a great job.

LauraJ said...

that's beautiful!!

I Love Baby Quilts! said...

OMG that is so amazing. This is the most beautiful quilt i've seen in a long time. I do all my sewing by hand and I hate the quilting part, I only like the piecing. To see you do such intricate quilting made me say "wow"!

Mindy said...

So cute! I love the fabrics you've chosen for the blocks. The patterns in the fabric are perfect for each animal and the fabric for the water under the ark is perfect!

jacquie said...

what a fabulous finish! this is so special...love your quilting!

Dielle said...

Vic, it's stunning!!! I love that book, but have only ever done the elephants from it (for a small wall quilt a million years ago for my brother). Your quilt turned out amazing. I wouldn't have thought of combining the handquilting and maching quilting that way, but it totally works. Oh, and I seriously need to come visit so you can teach me to machine quilt. You did a fabulous job!

Deb Geyer said...

Too cute!! Good job!

Helen said...

wow!!!! Its stunning! Well worth the wait, its beautiful.

Amy said...

This is just adorable. I really like the hand quilting and machine quilting combination.

Beth said...

I had a friend who was pregnant with twins, and my other friend and I made TWO of those for her - two animals each, and man oh man - it was an endeavor. I can totally appreciate your hard work. It looks awesome!!!

Mary Monica said...

What a great quilt! Love the hand stitching.

Mary Monica said...

What a great quilt! Love the hand stitching.

Catherine said...

What a super quilt. The hand quilting is perfect for those animals!

Rachel said...

That is ADORABLE!!!!

Dotty said...

I love this quilt. The fabric used on the Ark is just perfect!
I think the Penguin is my fav animal :)
It really is beautiful!

sewtakeahike said...

OMG!!! this is absolutely adorable! What a lucky niece you have! BTW, I just found your blog and love it, I'm going to subscribe in reader right.now!

Cammy said...

Incredible! Your work is so inspiring.

yarngoddess said...

The hand work makes all the difference. Kudos to you for taking out the machine quilting on the lion! That's inspiring.

Amy - Park City Girl said...

I love this Vicki! Not sure how I missed it before - completely adorable, and your hand quilting was the perfect touch!

Faye said...

that is amazing! im am jealous of baby natalie!hha and your talent.

Wendy Franczak said...

Wow, this is so beautiful Great job. I need this book!

Anonymous said...

love this quilt, ordering the book so I can try my hand at this awesome and beloved inspiration quilt. how did you modify the original 4 inch squares? did you increase the template or just increased the square?

Vicki said...

Anon--I just photocopied the templates at 150%. The only thing is the outer edge seam allowances get increased too so you need to trim them to 1/4".