I like assigning a title to my quilts, but I realized as I sat down to compose this post that I hadn't chosen them for the doll quilts that are part of this bedding set. (Um, maybe because I was finishing them the day after Christmas in a mad rush before the beds arrived for gifting the following day... yeah, that might've happened. See? I really need to start holiday projects earlier this year!)
I chose the fabric because last summer my daughters discovered that maple seeds can be stuck to your nose, and as I watched them laugh and jump around in the sunshine, I recalled my own childhood memories of happily doing the same in my grandparents' big backyard with soft warm grass beneath my feet. It was one of those moments where the world becomes softly blurred at the edges and the gentle chorus of birds chirping and lightly rustling leaves builds to a vibrant crescendo. When I happened upon Dear Stella's Piper line a few months later, I knew it would be the perfect reminder for me - capturing the innocence and joy of new discovery and maybe triggering a happy memory for my daughters, too, as they grew.
Fast forward to our car ride yesterday when I asked my oldest if she liked her new doll quilt and had noticed what was on it. We discussed the maple seeds, and she said, "Did you pick that to remind us of summer? To remind us about having fun? And when it's sunny?" And I got a little heart-swelled-with-joy that she made the connection, so I'm doubly glad for the fabric choice I made for her and her sister's new quilts: Summer Sun Rosa and Summer Sun Roxo.
The doll beds were made by my dad using Ana White's Farmhouse Doll Bed plan. I modeled the sheets after those featured on That's My Letter. They're reversible with Piper's Zig Zag Chevron in Yellow on one side and Patterned Dots in Cream on the other. The quilts are backed in solid Queen Anne's Lace in Purple, and the binding is the same. I fussy cut some Bluebird Park fabric to make the accent pillows - a bunny and a bike - the latter for my oldest who's been very busy practicing to make the jump to a two-wheeler come spring : )
I'm linking this up with SWC #4: Free Motion Quilting with Christa of Christa Quilts. Christa is an amazing FMQer and has some great tutorials up on her site. I've read a few, watched videos online from various quilters, and even taken a class back in Kentucky, but am currently not any good at it. I need a lot more practice getting used to my machine's pace, and these doll quilts were supposed to be a chance for me to play a little bit. I had intended to blog about it for the series link up, but after an hour on a test piece with a lot of swearing because my bobbin tension was off and I wasn't fully able to compensate for it, I realized my attempts at loops and maple seeds were just making me frustrated and the uneven tempo was twice as noticeable with the tension issues.
I ended up quilting wavy lines with my walking foot and honestly, I'm very glad I did. I *love* the way my quilting turned out. Not at all what I had planned, but really beautiful. I was even surprised about the thread choice but am thrilled with the result. I'd intended to use an off white, but for some reason the only thread that would "work" - and I use that term loosely because with the top tension turned up to the max, the bobbin thread was still tugging a tad too hard - anyway, the only brand that was working was Aurifil and I only have a very few spools in variegated colors (the delightful Tula Pink set). I tried a few and decided the pink was the best of my limited options (no one sells it anywhere nearby, so I couldn't run out for more at the last minute). I went with it and the finished effect is perfect! It tones down all the orange and yellow (with the sheets those colors, I really didn't want to play them up in the quilts), and makes my kids happy because I didn't use as much pink as they would've liked overall, so it brought a bit more into the bedding.
On a side note, my machine should be back soon with bobbin tension fully fixed, AND if you hear of giveaways or sales on Aurifil, would you please please pretty please let me know? I've used it on both these quilts and the placemats now, and I am absolutely in love <3 with Aurifil!