Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The making of a quilt label

This is a long one. Hope you're not in a hurry.

My friend, Mike, father of the twins*, asked where we found the embroidery design we used on the baby quilts. I'm glad he asked, because I was going to write up a post about it. See, we didn't find it, I made it.

The baby quilt plans started with this quilt pattern:

which would have been *perfect* for Mike and Carrie's baby, since Mike belongs to a clock/watchmakers guild. We made this quilt for him long before he got married:

The watch faces on the one fabric glow in the dark.

The only problem with the baby clock pattern is that it's all applique and we don't do applique (says the woman making a Dear Jane quilt). We could have done fusible applique, but didn't think that would hold up to repeated washings, and we wanted the quilt to be used. We knocked around several other ideas, then we found out the "baby" was actually "babies" and we had to make two quilts. So we decided to make them using the same pattern as Mike and Carrie's wedding quilt.

Speaking which, I found some pictures of the top, with and without the quilters.

I think the picture of the finished quilt, if there ever was one, is on the SD card that I fried last year. This quilt was fun to do. We found a pre-printed panel of love quotes, then Ann embroidered a few extras to fill in the gaps, including a quote from the Princess Bride - "Mawidge…that dweam wiffim a dweam..." We love that movie!

Oh, and here's a blurry picture of the label:

Okay, back to the baby quilt labels. A couple of years ago, I bought the Pfaff 3D software, which I intended to use to organize my many, many embroidery designs [ hasn't happened yet, btw ]. A few months later, they announced the 4D software, and of course Gadget Girl (that would be me) had to upgrade. The portion of the 4D software I bought included an auto-digitizing feature. I didn't think I'd ever use it, since I'd tried some auto-digitizing programs before and wasn't impressed. This one is actually pretty good, though.

I started by scanning in one of the clocks from the Tick Tock Clocks pattern:

Then I used MS Paint (heaven help me) to clean up the edges and color in the sections, based on the coordinating clock fabric I'd used in one of the baby quilts. If I'd had better software, my hand/wrist wouldn't have complained about it so much, but I used what I had. This is what I ended up with:

Then I used the 4D software's design wizard to create the design. You tell it what kind of fabric you're going to use the design on, weed out the stray colors you don't need, and end up with this:

Then I used the software again to add in the names, locations, date. I had already used the font wizard within the software to digitize the MS Comic Sans font. I *love* the font wizard! It'll digitize any font - very cool. When I stitched out the labels, I used threads that went with the colors on the front of the quilt, more or less. I hadn't seen the I-spy quilt top when I made the label, so I was just going by the color descriptions Julie gave me. Here they are after stitching out:

They actually say
For Henry Lawrence
Jack William
Last Name
Babies' Hometown
February 6, 2009
Made by
Quilter's Name
Quilter's Location
Quilter's Name
Quilter's Location

It's a lot of information for a quilt label, but one of our quilters is a librarian/historian. :) I think they turned out nicely, and the twins' parents seem happy with them.

* It's still weird to think of "Mikey" as someone's dad. :)

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