Friday, December 20, 2013

Texas A&M Quilt Finish

This 90"x110" Texas A&M University Quilt was made for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. My husband was a HUGE help with this quilt. He has similar design taste to his brother, so he played a major role in designing the pattern and choosing the fabric. I was really slow to start this project, but I ended up really enjoying the process of making this quilt!

My husband always wants me to make Twister quilts. He was with me when I bought the Twist n' Stitch ruler, so part of me thinks he just wants to make sure I get my money's worth! At first he wanted little tiny twisters, like on the Reunion quilt (3.5" Twister blocks). There was no way that was going to happen in this decade, so he settled for 10" Twister blocks. We laid out the colors in EQ7 (helpful tutorial on Twister Blocks in EQ7) and his favorite layout was Twister Around the World.

We picked out the fabrics at the local quilt store. The maroon fabrics are Maroon Bandana Print and Maroon Scattered Emblems. The two fabrics are slightly different in shade. To account for the difference in shades, I was careful with the fabric placement. The Maroon Bandana Print was used for the border and the 4 inner & 4 outer Twisters and the Scattered Emblems print was used for the 14 center Twisters. The background fabric is White Scattered Emblems. I insisted on at least one non-branded fabric to give the eyes room to rest. He picked a light gray striped fabric. I pre-washed all the fabric and I am so glad I did! The Color Catchers came out of the wash almost as dark as the fabric!

When laying out the quilt, I was very careful to lay the fabric squares in the same direction. I didn't want the prints going one way on some twisters and the other direction on the rest! The border is 5", which is half the size of the Twister blocks. After everything was put together, the grey-striped fabric looked lighter than expected. While I was working on this top, my husband was on a business trip in Trinidad. When he returned and saw the completed quilt top he asked, "Can we change out the gray fabric?...(laughs)" Um, no. LOL Very funny! :D

Despite the size, this quilt top actually came together faster than the baby-sized twister quilt!  The backing was actually the most time consuming part, because of all the paper piecing.

The main pieces of the backing are Kona Garnet & Maroon and Gray Aggie Emblem Grid. My husband really wanted the grid fabric on the back. Because of the obvious seams and difficulty cutting, I would have been happier with a more random fabric or using the gridded fabric in a different layout. The seam lines are more obvious in the photograph than they are in person.

My BIL wanted his last name and graduation year on the back. The name and the year are made with from blank pages...  My First Alphabet pattern. The blocky letters are well-suited to the style of the quilt and A&M's branding. I enlarged the pattern so that each letter took up an entire 8.5"x11" page. I tested out the letter size by laying the printed pages against the quilt top.  I wanted to make sure there was substantial room between the edge of the quilt and the name, so that there would be no chance of the name getting cut off during the quilting and trimming process.

I wanted the name to stand out more than the year, so I made the year 2/3's the size of the name. The "1996" looked lonely by itself, so I surrounded it with two stars. The stars were made using Hot Pink Peonies Five Pointed Star block. There is an A&M logo variation with a similar star, so this design fit in with the university's branding. I had never done Y-Seams before and my first attempt was a bulky, messy disaster! I thought I was going to have to abandon the star, but there was really no star that matched as well. This Yahoo tutorial and Fresh Lemon Quilts Y-Seam Tutorial helped rectify the situation! I ended up piecing it slightly different than the original instructions. My piecing order was (A+B+C) + (D+E). This worked better for me, because the Y-Seam was at a more gentle angle than (A+B+C+D) + E.

This quilt was way too big for me to manage on my own, so I sent it out for long-arm quilting. For a variety of irrational reasons, I was really nervous about sending it out! I chose Plain Jane Quilting because Cut to Pieces gave her a great review, there was a free return shipping offer at the time and sending it to another state eased my nerves.  My graphic design professors always told us that if we didn't send our files to the printer 100% correctly, all the community printers would exchange notes and blacklist us! Hence, deep-seated paranoia! :D

I chose the computerized Stars pattern with basic density and in light grey thread. The loops echo the pattern in the bandana fabric and stars fit in with the A&M/Texas aesthetic. I am so happy with how it turned out!!! The process was so fast. I shipped it to Utah on November 4th and it was quilted by November 9th. I would not hesitate to get something professionally quilted ever again!

The binding is Kona Garnet. Garnet was not an exact match, but it was closest in shade to the maroon in the border fabric. I wanted to use a solid, because collegiate fabric is very busy. I used Red Pepper Quilts binding method for sewing the binding on the front of the quilt. I have used a similar method on previous quilts, but it involved precutting the 45 degree angle in the beginning. I would always end up with an obvious join, I suspect because of stretching on the bias. Rita's method worked out much better for me! I used a maroon hand quilting thread to hand-stitch the binding on the back.

I always wash my quilts before I give them to the recipient. Even though I had pre-washed the fabrics, it was still leaking color at the finish! I am very thankful for Color Catchers!

This quilt is so cozy and has great drape! I hope that my brother-in-law's family enjoys it!

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF, which is hosted by Gingersnap Quilts this week

14 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Cheryl said... #

What a wonderful finish! That is one big quilt and it looks great.

Ashley @ WasntQuiltInADay said... #

I LOVE the back. Great quilt - it looks so comfortable!

Jasmine said... #

I love how you were able to share your hobby with your husband. What a fun quilt and neat memory.

Renee said... #

Wow what a quilt! Sure to be a well loved one in its new home!

Snowcatcher said... #

Wow! Even more impressive than how much work and thought went into this is how much your husband is involved. Bravo!

Katy Cameron said... #

It looks fab, although as I have the rulers, I can see why you vetoed the small ones, pronto lol

Gemini Jen NZ said... #

Very impressive - what a super job you have done. It looks really effective. Have a Merry Christmas!

Kat said... #

Whoop! Class of 2010 here. Very nice, BIG quilt!

Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts said... #

Deceptively large quilt! When I first saw the top picture I thought it was a baby twister, but it's anything but, lol! Hope it brings him lots of warm snuggles :)

M-R Charbonneau said... #

Wow, that's huge and awesome, Taryn! I'm sure your BIL will love it!

Celtic Thistle said... #

Wonderful quilt Taryn, your b-in-law is a lucky man!

Sarah said... #

It's awesome! Such a great mans quilt and so good that your husband was instrumental in design and helping you out. I hope your BIL is very thankful for his wonderful gift.

Natasha said... #

What a beautiful quilt! Lucky guy!

Tracy Greenlee said... #

Aloha! I have a friend wanting me to make this quilt for a Christmas gift. He would like it a lap or twin size. Can you assist with making this smaller? Any assistance is very much appreciated! Thank you!

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