Friday, September 18, 2015

Jack and Friends for Brady

Brianne and Brady left us three days ago, and both MacGyver and I are still feeling pretty down.  It was a wonderful 10 days.  I did get his Halloween "commissioned" quilt done in time with one day to spare!
Perfect size for snuggling on the couch or taking to bed as an extra blankie
Remember it was one he'd seen last November when I was out west visiting him and my daughter.  He is such an incredible child in so many ways, but especially in the genuine interest he takes in his surroundings and in people around him.  He studied my American Patchwork & Quilting magazine and spotted this photo in an ad for their website:
He said, "Nana, do you think you could make this quilt for me please?"  What Brady wants, Nana will move heaven and earth to make happen.   However, when I went to the site for the free pattern, I discovered it was a wallhanging only 28" square inside the prairie points.  So I mulled it over in my melon, over the winter, collected a few fabrics, and when their visit was imminent, thought geez, Louise, I need to get a wiggle on!

First, I decided to make it 12 blocks.  The blocks finish at 8", so that would still not be that big, but I would add the border.  Then I decided to make the prairie points into another border to increase the coverage area, and that's when I thought, 'Well, it doesn't have to be a bed-size quilt; it could be a cuddle quilt!'
This change in size from 9 to 12 blocks, as well as making the triangles border, required some math
I used the no-waste Eleanor Burns' method of making the flying geese units that make up the border. Love this method.  I have a tutorial here, but you can also find one here.  Do you notice I had to make two inner borders, the black, and then the purple? Do you see that the top and bottom purple border is pretty skinny as compared to the sides?  I was worried it would look odd, so I took a photo and "stepped back" to see it as a thumbnail.  This gave me a "10-foot rule" idea of whether it would fly or not.  I thought it was okay!

So I went ahead and put the sides on.  The only problem with the no-waste method is you can't have total control of getting your wings fabric (mine is the bats) all oriented correctly.  However, if you've ever watched bats swoop around at dusk, you will agree that sideways is okay. ;-)  I was also a little concerned about the white background of the bats fabric; there isn't a lot of white in the quilt until this final border.  Yet I think it works:  it resembles the negative space there would be had I done prairie points as in the original pattern, and it also brings a bit of a pop to the ghosts here and there and to the owls' eyes.

Here is the finish, outside in the shade:

 The back:
This was on sale for $5/yard at Alma Sue's last winter, as were the bats and the purple owls
fabrics. The other fabrics are all from my stash and scraps.

The label:

I had planned to do an all-over meander, fast and simple, get 'er done.


My sister, Linda, who has faithfully commented on every single one of my posts over the past 2 years, today, exactly, had a terrific idea.  Yes, today is my blog's 2-year anniversary.  Blog-iversary.  More on that in a minute or two.  Several months ago Linda said, "You should quilt his Halloween quilt with glow-in-the-dark thread!"  I nearly forgot her suggestion, but thank goodness for reminder text messages from younger no-brain-cells-affected-as-yet-by-menopause sisters (thanks Linda!) and for four trips over the river to Detroit.  Oh, I was in JoAnn's on the second trip over, never once even thought of the thread (see what I mean about the menopausal melon issues?) got super-excited over a Detroit Lions stuffed animal that turns into a cushion, that I bought for Brady, remembered to buy a variegated Coats and Clark thread in red to try on the Wings quilt, but did not even recall the glow-in-dark thread!!  Next trip over, however, a couple days later, I did. Yay!  You guys, it is AWESOME!!!!

Simple fast quilting....mostly out the window.  I outlined all the jack-o'-lanterns to start with, some of the ghosts, the moons behind the witch and the vampire, some of the owls, a bat or two, and then FMQ-ed a bat of my own in one of the meandered areas.  I nearly did the skull, but thought that might be too scary for a 7-year-old, to have a skull glowing in the dark.

With one spool of this thread, I did dot-to-dot in the flying geese, wove around the owls in the purple border, did a small meander in the bats fabric, and a larger meander in the blocks where I hadn't outlined anything. I ran out with about 12" left of the weaving around the owls.
Do you see the one black and white text fabric is French? Brady is in French immersion :-) I also took this photo in the sun to try to show the sparkle on the thick black thread I used to quilt a wavy line in the black animal print border.  I put this thick thread in my bobbin; I used it several years ago to quilt a patchwork black hoodie for myself.
I also quilted in names as I often do:

Brady got the surprise of finding the names in the dark!

One evening Brady was allowed to spend a little time with me in the basement, sewing.  Bella was very nice and left him alone.  We had such fun: him on the sewing machine gas pedal, (how he LOVED that) me guiding the quilt, him running to turn the basement lights off, running back to me at the machine, then me turning my Ott-lite off, him turning off the sewing machine light, both of us waiting....intake of breath, and both of us would exclaim, "Oh wow!" as the thread glowed.  Next year, I hope to get him on Avril.  He was on MacGyver's bead roller.  They created a (wait for it) skull out of a piece of sheet metal.

It crinkled up fabulously after washing and drying.

We did a shot similar to this last year, except that he was sitting on his Christmas quilt.
MacGyver measures him each summer he comes; he grew 3" since last year!
Great sideways segway to MacGyver's banana plants which have loved the heat of August and the first half of September:
Is this child a total ham or what?! Definitely not camera shy.  At all.
 Another adorable guy who is not camera shy:
Brady is allergic to dogs, highly allergic to cats, so Bella was relegated to the basement again, much to her annoyance, but don't worry; we got up the morning after they left to a regular fur fest from the front door to the back! She deposited 4-5 gobs of her fur in various places overnight.  Remember Rocco loves quilts too, and he wanted in on the action, but he was content to sit beside Brady.
I wish a few people who live on our lane could see that shot.  Those who refuse to speak to me when I've had Rocco at the beach, give me dirty looks, question his presence here, or shuffle their grandson, a year or two younger than Brady, away as if Rocco is out to eat children.  Brady loves Rocco, pets him when they are close, making sure to wash his hands immediately afterwards.  Rocco adores Brady, as he adores all small children.    Sidenote: did any of you read Pat Sloan's interview with Valori Wells?  Did you see that one of Valori's family members is a pitbull?  :-)

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Jack in the Box slightly modified from All People Quilt
Size: 36 1/4 X 42 1/2"
Fabric: bats and owls were Moda Halloween prints (sorry, did not remember to get their lines, didn't save selvages) and jack-o'-lanterns are Hallowgraphix by Jason Yenter for In The Beginning fabrics; the others are scraps and stash fabrics
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted: on my Bernina (Avril and I need to kiss and make up... today)
Threads:  pieced and quilted in the ditch with Gütermann 50 weight, quilted with Coats and Clark Glow In the Dark thread and a YLI(?) black thick thread

It really was such a great ten days.
On the Jimaan ferry to Pelee Island in Lake Erie - yep we are huge Detroit fans

IF you are still here, I mentioned that today is my blog-iversary.  mmm quilts is 2 years old today.  More on this tomorrow, as this post is puh-lenty long enough!  However, there just might be a giveaway in the works over the weekend.  Here's a teaser pic from last night of a WIP for this event:

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. Wonderful story to your quilt! Beautiful pictures of your family--Rocco included. I vouch for him being a sweetie. I can't I main a 7 y.o. Not loving glow in the dark thread. I'll bet there are 27 year olds that would like it just as much!

    The heartiest congratulations on your blogiversary today, Sandra.

  2. So enjoyed reading your post. I love hearing about other people's design processes. It's great that there are so many ways to get from concept to finished product in the quilt world. Congratulations on your 2-year blog-iversary.

    1. Thanks so much Quiltlady! I love reading about others' design processes too, so it's only right I share my own. :-) (sadly you are a no-reply, so I cannot reach you personally)

  3. It looks like Brady is quite pleased with his new quilt - and glow in the dark thread, how cool is that!?! I didn't realize such a thing existed. Happy blogiversary Sandra!

  4. That Halloween quilt has a high awesome factor! What little boy wouldn't love it? Do other people notice how your grandson resembles his grandfather? What a darling boy with his dark hair!

  5. Happy blogiversary!!! Congratulations on that great milestone! Wow two years of posts, two years of my comments ... I clearly have no life, LOL!
    I must correct you as I just can't take credit for the thread. I had no clue glow in the dark thread existed either - big surprise from a non-quilter lol. I had actually suggested to you last year, and reminded you again this year, about glow in the dark FABRIC, which I had no clue existed or not. You are the one who thought of the thread, I merely thought of fabric lol!! But thank you for the kudos :) and you're welcome for the idea!!

    I adore Rocco. And my great-nephew. Oh what a sweetie.

    LOVE the quilt, absolutely perfect for Brady.

  6. What a lovely post about a boy and a quilt . And a Nana. I didn't know about glow in the dark thread either and I had often wondered what a fur ball is ! Looks like you had s lovely visit together . Congratulations on your blogversary

  7. really good job on the quilt - I think I like it better than the mini that inspired it !
    Happy Blogoversary too !

  8. I guess I'm a day late but happy blogiversary anyway. I love every bit of this post.

  9. What a joy to have Brady around, it looks like his quilt is perfect for him. Way to go Nana! Congrats on the blogiversary.

  10. Wow, it sounds like you had a great visit, and what awesome and happy pictures you have of handing over the quilt! :)

  11. Glow in the dark thread???? What an interesting concept. You did a great job, and the backing is awesome.

  12. What a great quilt! I have never heard of glow in the dark thread. I am going to have to try some of that!

  13. What a wonderful Halloween quilt. It turned out perfectly. I love that you shared the story of quilting with Brady and the glow in the dark thread. What fun that he could discover the names in the dark. Congratulations on two years.

  14. Brady's quilt turned out great. Neat idea of the glow in dark thread. I think I have some in Mom's supplies. It looks and sounds like you all had a wonderful visit. Family visits always pass too fast. Brady is too cute and so is Rocco.

  15. He is such a cutie! I loved hearing about the quilting experience. Especially how he kept checking out the glow in the dark quality. So sweet! He will love this quilt from Nana and remember he helped drive the quilting.

  16. I've said it before, but it is worth mentioning again...Rocco s gorgeous!

  17. Sandra, I LOVE that Brady got to quilt his quilt with you! The story of his reaction to Linda's glow in the dark thread is the best! Wonderful photos! Your little cutie pie sure has grown! And I would have known Brianne was your daughter at first sight. Brady's quilt is the best and the borders you added are terrific. Upside down flying bats are just more adventurous, stunt pilot bats of regular bat world, LOL.

  18. I'm glad everyone had such a great visit! And Brady's quilt turned out awesome! I want a quilt with glow in the dark thread, that was a great touch to the Halloween fun. And I will always stand beside you, my friend, in defending our pitbull children. There is nothing quite like their goofy smiles and big hearts.

  19. What a great quilt for a wonderful little boy! Bet he thinks you are the best Nana ever!!