Those of you who follow me on Twitter might remember talking about -- OK, if I'm being honest here, complaining about -- a Tinkerbell quilt that I had agreed to make earlier this Fall. You see, my wife's aunt asked for my help in making a quilt to be auctioned off for a function at her church. And I wasn't complaining at all about agreeing to make the quilt (after all, I think I've proven my willingness to make things to help others, especially of late!), but moreso that the request was very prescriptive. The quilt had to feature a Tinkerbell panel, which was the only piece of material provided, so that it could coordinate with some pillows and other items that some of the other church members were making.
Tinkerbell? SO not my usual style. But I have two young daughters and consider myself fairly attuned to what they like, so I forged ahead.
I headed over to my local Jo-Ann fabric store to purchase all of the coordinating fabrics for the project. I quickly found two other Tinkerbell prints that matched the panel and had a small amount of them cut, but didn't want this quilt to be too over the top with the licensed characters. So I took the panel to the great big fabric wall and started pulling some other prints.
I should have known that this is where the project would start to become fun for me. Pulling different prints and colors and combining them together is always my favorite part of the process. I took my cue less from the Tinkerbell character and more from the border of flowers that surrounded the panel. With garden imagery in mind, I found some purple and blue prints that featured flowers, dragonflies, and butterflies. I also selected some smaller scale prints like swirls and dots in shades of pink and green. Overall, I loved how the wide variety of prints was eclectic yet coordinated, without seeming too matchy-matchy.
I actually have to credit my daughter Megan, a budding quilt designer, with finding this perfect backing fabric. She was with me on the shopping trip and, while I was finding some of the other fabrics, her little voice asked me "what about this one?" It reminded me of a vintage sheet, and I thought it was perfect for this back of this twin-sized bed quilt. To this day, she is still so proud that she found this fabric!
I made up the pattern as I went along, basically beginning with strip-pieced rail fence blocks and improvising some borders around them. The only tricky part was calculating the size of the blocks, since I had to base the whole design around the panel and it was (of course) not a standard size.
So after a bit of early complaining, I have to say that I really enjoyed this project. Although it's not really "my style", I enjoyed the challenge of the fabric selection and pattern design. I loved seeing it through my daughters' eyes, who oooh'd and ahhh'd the whole time I was making it. And, of course, I'm satisfied thinking abou the little girl whose mom or grandma (or dad!) brought this home to her from their church auction.
And the silver lining of the whole experience? I entered this quilt in Jo-Ann's Quilt Your Colors contest, which is open to any quilt made from fabrics purchased at Jo-Ann stores. I don't have too much hope in winning anything -- Jo-Ann carries much nicer fabrics than the ones I selected for this project, and I am sure there are some people out there making amazing things -- but it's exciting to think that I might be in the running!