I recently had the privilege to make this quilt on commission for Quail Hollow Cooperative Day School. Chris Nelson, a local businessman, wrote off the school's debt. Since they know he loves quilts, they wanted to give him one to express their gratitude.
The best part of the whole experience was painting with the kids. I needed a portable surface to take between the classrooms, so I taped together some cardboard to get the right size.
Since I didn't want the fabric to stick to the cardboard, I covered it with trash bags. This is what it looked like after we finished painting. You can see that some of the paint went through the fabric, but I didn't have any trouble getting the fabric to come off.
Once the cardboard was assembled and the trash bag was in place, I taped the fabric on top with painters tape. I made sure to pull the fabric taut as I went, and it held up really well to all of the handling.
For the painting, I used acrylic paint mixed with textile medium. I started by painting the stems and centers of the flowers, then the preschoolers added the flower petals. From there, the toddlers made the leaves, and the babies did the insects. Rather than dipping hands and feet into paint, we painted them with foam brushes. That really helped to contain the mess.
When I got home, I added the details to the butterfly, bees, and caterpillar. I wish I had picked up a small paintbrush for this! Rather than driving into town, I made do with some toothpicks. Then I waited until the paint was completely dry before removing the fabric and squaring it up.
In addition to handprints, the school wanted a thank you note on the quilt. Since I used fusible applique for the words, I had to print them in mirror image. I also printed the quail in mirror image from Quail Hollow's logo.
I carefully traced everything onto Heat 'n Bond lite. I found that my sad iron was really helpful for holding the papers in place as I was working.
Once the words were all traced, I cut out each of the letters. I had another stack of papers with the words going in the right direction. After all of that time spent tracing and cutting, I wasn't interested in losing any of those little pieces! To keep them organized, I clipped the letters to their word.
The bigger reason I had the words printed out the right way was to get the spacing right. I lined up the printed words first, and used them as a reference while I placed each of the letters. I waited until all of the letters were in position, then very carefully fused them in place.
Once the top was done, it was time to quilt! For the batting, I used a double layer of Quilter's Dream Cotton Select. The thread was a solid off white OMNI by Superior Threads. I quilted a horizontal stipple around all of the painted sections in the center panel.
I did loops in the inner border, random wavy lines in the middle border, and flowers in the outer border. I just love the little footprint caterpillar!
Speaking of borders - I was so excited to find the perfect fabric! I quilted another customer quilt the same day I got the order for this one, and she had used the Believe You Can line from Wilmington Prints. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was perfect for this quilt. I purchased two of the fabrics from the line to use for the borders, applique, and binding.
I used the leftover yardage on the back, along with a couple of solids from my stash. The triangles are for hanging. The raw edges get sewn in with the binding, and I just tack down the points by hand. If a rod is put along the bottom, it will help it hang extra flat. I also have the folded side of the triangles towards the corners. That way a tension rod can be inserted inside the triangles, or a regular rod can go all the way through behind them. So many options!
This was definitely an enjoyable project. It's given me so many ideas for more quilts! The painting was easy and fun. I can just imagine the possibilities of this technique for keepsake projects.
Chris was absolutely thrilled to receive the quilt. I'm really glad I was able to be part of something so special.