Saturday, June 06, 2015

Eight to Midnight

Eight o'clock is bed time for the kids.  Eight to midnight is my time. The time to learn something new, the time to watch Netflix, or the time to take on an insanely large project.

These past two months, my eight to midnight has been a mission quilt for my wonderful in-laws who just returned from their mission in Japan. Jon's mom has/had a tradition of making a quilt for her missionary kids after they returned from their missions.  Jon's quilt is incredible. It includes a tie from each of his companions crafted into a block, an applique map of Mexico and the quilting surrounding it continuing the map with waves for the ocean and grid for the land, and embroidered names of each companion and the area which he served with that companion. It is exquisite.

Then one day it dawned on me: Who will make a mission quilt for mom and dad? Of course! I would! Why did I think I could accomplish such a feat? I dunno... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So the next day, I searched Google images for "Japanese quilt," "Japanese symbols," and "Japan fonts." Then I drew a picture.  This is the picture:

It was just on the back of a piece of scratch paper.  That's how these things start, I guess.  With an idea on a piece of scratch paper.

And so it began. I shopped, I snipped, I sewed...

One Patch at a time... 
I decided to use applique since I don't have much/any experience with complicated piecing. I cut out each shape, starting with the largest piece and adding each smaller piece on top with fusible webbing. I used several different kinds. For the larger pieces of fabric, it was easiest to use the "one sticky side" style and for the small stuff, like the Japan letters and cherry blossoms, the double sided sticky webbing was the easiest--it made the fabric stiff and easy to get little details out of it, like the hole in the A's and P.

I had some trouble deciding what to put in the middle patch... so it was the very last one I made...
When I got the entire top pieced, I thought I was almost done... HA! Anyone who's hand quilted a king-sized quilt knows that piecing the top is just the beginning... then comes the framing and the HOURS UPON HOURS (for me and my slow quilting, anyway) of following the lines along the quilt.
My frames weren't big enough to do the whole quilt at once, so I framed and quilted the top third and middle, then re-framed to reach the other side
There's a delicate balance in quilting... the more lines you follow, the more details you quilt in, the more beautiful and intricate the quilt looks...BUT... the more lines and details, the more time you spend quilting. Mine was not the most detailed quilt, but I did like some of the small details I added, like the ribs on the fan and the criss-crosses between the patches. 
Mom Koberstein came and helped quilt a couple days, but a lot of quilting days looked like this by dinnertime: kid hurricane happened unobstructed... 

Coming down the home stretch! After completing the quilting at 1am on May 28, It was time to bind! On the denim quilts I've made, I used the backing folded over the top to bind the quilt, but I wanted to use binding tape for this one. I like the way it adds one little splash of color around the edges of the quilt.

 And then finally! On June 4 at 4:15pm, at Bay Aerials Gymnastics, I finished the quilt! The manager there came and asked what I was doing...turned out to be a little missionary moment of my own.
 Larry took pictures documenting the occasion.
At home on the floor all finished... 

And Modeling it on our bed!
 Close-up on the center patch...

 Close-up on one of my favorite details (which I fought hard against for a long time, but at long last, Jon was right about the cherry blossoms... I love them!)
And thus the Japan mission quilt was completed and presented to Elder and Sister Koberstein in remembrance of their excellent service in Japan!

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At June 07, 2015 3:00 AM , Blogger sunnysnows said...

You are so amazing! Beautiful work!

At June 07, 2015 5:41 AM , Blogger Katie Groneman said...

That is amazing! Now I want to make one for my parents in Nauvoo.... But I think it might be a small wall hanging type.

At June 07, 2015 10:24 PM , Blogger The katie said...

We love the quilt. It is such a beautiful reminder of our 23 months of service in the Fukuoka Japan Mission. We are looking forward to sharing it with Mikako who is going to visit us this month for a couple of weeks. She attended one of the English classes we taught while in Japan.


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