I actually had a similar realization before a wedding last summer but I didn't have it until about a week before the wedding...so the bride and groom got a tote bag. Pretty lame. This time, I wasn't letting that happen!
I went ahead and ordered this layer cake. (I'm sorry the photos are so bad. I upgraded my photos program and all of the photo editing stuff has been reorganized and I don't now how to use it. If anyone can recommend good user-friendly photography software, I am on the market!)
It's Spellbound by Cotton and Steel. I figure it's modern and slightly subtle in it's Halloween-ness. I should mention, it's a Halloween quilt because they are having a Halloween themed wedding. (Costumes at the reception and everything!) But I want them to be able to use it year-round, so I was trying to not make it *too* Halloween-y.
I spent a looong time browsing the internet for good layer cake patterns. I should mention here that I think Layer Cakes are the most versatile precut when you need a fast quilt. You can do a lot of cool things with those squares in a short amount of time.
I ended up with the Moda Love pattern. It's super quick and easy. The only funky thing was that my layer cake came with a lot of fabrics in three's, which just made making a symmetrical layout tough. And I really, really like symmetry.
I played around in illustrator with colors and ended up with this mockup:
(Yes that's a physical photo of my computer screen. I am lame like that.)
Notice the pattern is just a bunch of squares and half-square triangles. It came together super duper fast. And here's my laid out top!
For this quilt I went through the extra effort of ironing all of my seams open, since apparently that's what I am *supposed* to do, according to a lot of modern quilters.
You guys, it was a giant pain in the rear. Those seams did not want to lie flat no matter how heavily I steamed them (and according to the trends these days, I'm not supposed to be using steam in my iron either!) So yeah, I can say I tried it, and life's too short for that nonsense.
I went ahead and stitched out a nice message on the front.
Getting this programmed right took a lot of practice. I wanted to use the fancy cursive font on my machine but it was basically illegible so we decided block letters were safer. I think it came out pretty cute.
Finally, quilting time! As an aside, do you ever notice that no one quilt shop seems to have it all? We have one shop in town that has just fabulous fabric selection, but their batting choices were pathetic. I ended up using some batting I had lying around for a different project...now I have to go buy more.
But, I mentioned that store had fabulous fabric selection? Check out the backing fabric I got!
See how it shines! The webs are metallic! I'm just nuts about this fabric!
Next came quilting time. In honor of this backing fabric, I quilting one giant spiderweb on the front.
First I did the straight lines. You can see them here on the center block:
Then, the webbing! It didn't really photograph well but I promise it's cool.
I wanted to share with you how I did the webbing because I think it's pretty cool. Casey York told me how to do this. So I wanted to quilt it in a spiral so that I didn't have any starts and stops. But I wanted the spiral to get wider as I went out. I couldn't really figure out how to do that. Here's what Casey suggested, and I drew a little sketch to show you.
(Again, sorry for the colors. The new "photos" program doesn't have a contrast option."
Make your marks at the four compass points, x distance apart from the prior line (I started with 1" here). Every three compass positions, add 1/4" (or amount of your choice - I used 1/2" in the diagram because it was easier to draw) to that value. Yes, this method involved a lot of measuring and marking. But it was well worth it in the end when I had a great looking spiral on the my quilt.
I also wanted to talk about my quilting thread.
This thread is the BEST. You know how I mentioned no shop has everything? These guys had no quilting thread but they had walls and walls of embroidery thread (And I was too lazy to go to another shop and too impatient to order online). And they told my I could quilt with it so I did! This is so great because it's a black thread wrapped with a silver thread. It looks completely metallic on the quilt but it doesn't have any of the issues and troubles you encounter when stitching with metallic thread (breakages, thread stripping, etc.) Also it glitters on both light fabric and dark fabric. You can see that effect on the photo above of the quilting. I think it was really perfect for the spider web look I was going for.
And here is the finished top!