I just made a Boise State quilt for someone extra-special to me. It’s for my cousin Justin, but we call him Bergie or Berg. He LOVES the Boise State Broncos.
For the quilt front, I used most of the blues from two Kona Cotton Solids fat quarter bundles I got online at the Fat Quarter Shop: the Slate Rock bundle and the True Blue bundle. These solid fabrics are just a fraction of the colors that are made by Robert Kaufman Fabrics – I love that there are so many colors to choose from: 271!
For the quilt back, I got a Boise State print at my local Jo-Ann store in Boise.
To fit Justin’s queen bed, I knew I’d have to make a large quilt. I cut up a ton of 4.5″ squares – 575 of them!
The Boise State fabric was super-easy to piece into a quilt back. I lined up the selvages and stitched along one of the gridlines. You can barely tell where the back is pieced together. Win!
This is the first time I’ve made a large quilt myself, start to finish. For large projects I tend to want to send the quilt to a longarm quilter to sandwich the three layers and do the machine quilting. But now that I have a new Juki sewing machine, I thought I’d give it a go myself. I enlisted my teenager to help with the pin basting process 🙂
I machine quilted it with long straight lines. Maneuvering this thing through my Juki was not so bad, but wow, it really is a workout to adjust/pull/push the layers around for so long. I intended to quilt lines 1/4″ from both sides of each seam throughout the quilt, but I was so tired and sore, that I caved in and stopped after quilting on just one side of each of the seams.
I used a blue ombre fabric for the binding, which I love. It naturally fades from dark-to-light and light-to-dark all the way around the quilt. I really like the effect. I straight-stitched it to the front of the quilt, turned and pressed it to the back side, then used my Singer sewing machine for a decorative stitch finish.
Then it was time to applique a Bronco on there, baby!
This is what I did to prepare the applique image:
- Google – Find a vector image and open in Pixelmator (drag the image to the Pixelmator icon).
- Pixelmator – Remove image background with magic wand & fill color. Resize image to be 36″ wide, export as PDF, and open in Adobe Reader.
- Adobe Reader – File > Print > Poster > Ok. Tile size = 100% Overlap = 0.005 in Orientation = Portrait. Take screenshot of layout via Skitch.
- Skitch – Open Skitch, Screen Snap > layout preview only. Resize to 600 px wide. Print.
- Hands-on – Arrange poster, using screenshot as a guide. Trim edges as necessary and tape all sheets together.
I used tangerine Kona Cotton solid fabric and this Easy Applique – The Starch Method tutorial at Sew Mama Sew.
Then I pinned and hand-stitched the applique to the front of the quilt. And enjoyed a beer 😉
There it is! Oh what this Idaho State Bengal girl will do for the Boise State men in her life…
Last touch: a quilt label. I ironed a couple of freezer paper squares to the back of some Kona white, giving a good surface for signing the fabric. I used a black marker (Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric), peeled off the freezer paper backing, stitched on some blue borders, and hand-stitched it to the back.
Then it was time for pillowcases. I used this DIY Christmas Pillowcases tutorial, with a couple of tweaks: I cut the band to be 1.25″ (not 2.5″) and I was careful about cutting the pillow body since I was using directional fabric.
These sew pretty fast and look so good and crisp.
I bought a blue flannel sheet set and wrapped everything up for Berg. My gift basket setup was inspired by this Wrapping a Quilt as a Wedding Gift YouTube video by the Fat Quarter Shop. I couldn’t find a crate to use, but I was able to find this basket at Target that worked just fine.
And here’s Berg with his new quilt. He loves it! Isn’t it funny that he was totally already rockin’ the Boise State shirt?
Here are some maker’s notes for my Sewing Journal:
- Since I pre-washed all the fabric to avoid any color bleeding, my fat quarters shrunk a little. This meant I couldn’t get the full number of squares I planned on. I had to buy some more blue yardage to compensate.
- The basting process was not fun at all. Maybe I’ll try something other than pin basting next time.
- My back hurt soooooo bad the day after I machine quilted this bad boy. I think it’s because I was sitting in a chair with wheels, and that the seat was too low. My back was compensating for chair movement and height problems.
- The thread I used for quilting (Aurifil 50wt) just didn’t have the punch or oomph I was looking for. Note to self to use a heavier weight thread.
- The seam on the pillowcase cuff puckered in a couple of places, since it’s such a long seam. And I could see some orange threads from the band raw edges through the white cuff fabric.
- I love all the different colors of blue and their random placement on the quilt top.
- My Juki rocks! She sews so dang straight with near-perfect stitches. I love her!
- The ombre binding effect and the decorative stitching: wonderful!
- I really like how the label turned out. There’s just something special and personal about my handwriting being on there. The Pentel fabric marker was so smooth to use and washed just fine, not blurring out a single bit.
- The applique process was perfect. I loved every step of that. It took awhile, but it was therapeutic. I like the hand-stitched look, rather than zig-zagging that thing on there.
Changes for the next quilt I make:
- Don’t pre-wash fabric!!! Instead: make the quilt first, then wash it using 4 or 5 color catchers to put my fear of bleeding colors at ease.
- Try thread basting the quilt. Or use fabric adhesive spray. Or rent a long-arm machine at my local quilt shop.
- If I machine quilt it myself, raise my chair and put some kind of stopper behind it to prevent it from wheeling back.
- Use a 28wt or 30wt thread for machine quilting.
- For the pillowcase, either don’t use a light-colored fabric for the cuff, or finish the seam through my serger to prevent dark band threads from showing through.
- For the pillowcase seam, glue baste instead of using pins, to prevent puckering.