Sunday, September 5, 2010

QUALITY QUILTS (cont. from Sept. Newsletter)

Article in Full from September Newsletter

There is nothing I like better than quilts – I like choosing the pattern and planning the layout. I like selecting (another word for shopping) the fabric. Notice I am not saying I like cutting out the pieces. What I would like is to have an elf come in the night and cut out all the pieces for me, like the one in the shoemaker fairy tale. I like sewing all the pieces together whether it be by hand (yes, I do hand piece some QOVs) or by machine. For me it’s like putting a puzzle together and getting a beautiful picture when done. I like the feeling of accomplishment when the quilt is completed. Best of all I like knowing that the QOV will be awarded to a deserving individual who will know that they are honored and appreciated for their service.

When I begin to plan a QOV several things come to mind, the first being what pattern to use. I tend to gravitate toward patterns with lots of little pieces and then wonder what on earth I was thinking as I sit sewing all those blocks so I try to save those patterns for my hand piecing projects. Patterns with huge pieces aren’t the answer either. They don’t have the same beauty or demonstrate the talent of the quilter like the smaller pieced blocks. It is about personal preference though and one suggestion would be to think - would I like to receive a quilt made with this pattern? If the answer is yes, then there you go.

Next is choosing the fabric. Somehow, even though I have lots of fabric (stash) it never seems like I have just the right color or pattern for the project. So that means I have to go shopping. (I am sure that has happened to all of us and it is such a chore.) Anyway, even though a fabric may be 100% cotton that does not necessarily mean it is suitable to use in a QOV. The fabric should be soft and smooth to the touch and thick enough so you cannot see through it. If the fabric doesn’t “feel” good to me and I wouldn’t use it for a “personal” quilt then I don’t use it to make a QOV. I want the QOV to be soft and cuddly so the recipient wants to wrap up in it and it feels good. That brings up the issue of size. The minimum size for a QOV is 55” x 65” and no larger than 72” x 90”. I lean toward the larger end of the size requirement as I want the QOV to provide comfort and I want it to be used.

Attention to detail results in a quality Quilt of Valor. Precise cutting and sewing demonstrates the skill of the quilter and enhances the beauty of the quilt. Measuring from top to bottom and side to side for borders can prevent wavy edges. Tip: when measuring for borders, measure in the center of the quilt top from top to bottom and across the middle from side to side to determine the length of the border pieces . It may take a little more time but the end result is worth the effort. Quilt backs are also important as they can be a showcase for the quilting. We want the back to be as soft and comfortable as the front. Backs should be at least 3 inches larger on all sides than the quilt top. I tend to make them 6 inches larger all around to give the longarm quilter plenty to work with. My preference is to use flannel for the backing but be aware that prewashing flannel is necessary as there is definitely shrinkage.

So, finally the top is done, the back is pieced, the quilting is finished and then binding is on. One would think that is the end but not quite. There are 3 “little things” left to do. The first is a label. Each QOV must have a label which identifies it as a “Quilt of Valor”. The names and locations of the quilt topper and machine quilter should be included. The date completed is also important, even if it is just the year in which the QOV was made and there should be a space for Presented to:________________ so the name of the recipient can be written on the label. You can also include a short dedication or message to the recipient. The second “little thing” is a journal or letter or note. It has been my experience over the years that a journal or letter or note makes the gift so much more personal for the person receiving the QOV. During the presentation of a QOV I have seen eyes tear up after reading just a short note from the quilter. It makes it just that much more special. And the last “little thing” is the presentation case. I think of it as the “gift wrap” for a QOV. The case may be of a size made just to fit the QOV or it may be the size of a pillow case. If you don’t have a favorite pillowcase pattern or you are unsure about the case, one suggestion would be to view a demonstration of the “sausage pillow case” by Judy on YouTube. I have become addicted to the pattern and don’t make the cases other way now.

Thankfully, I have reached the end. I know I have rambled on and on and could have probably just put together a “list” of requirements but that would be boring so just to summarize:

Use quality 100% cotton fabric

Minimum size 55x65 and no larger than 72x90

Backing at least 3 inches larger on all sides than the top

Must have a label

Must have a presentation case

Suggested to include a journal or letter

My personal thanks go out to all who continue to support the mission of Quilts of Valor Foundation. It is my pleasure and privilege to be a part of this endeavor.

Laurel Braunstein
Reg. 9 Coordinator

No comments:

Post a Comment