Meet “Son of a Son of a Sailor” the first quilt I ever made with machine embroidery and improv patchwork. It’s a beauty, isn’t it? Well, I think it is. I’m absolutely head over heels punch drunk in love with how this quilt turned out, especially given how it was made. You see, last year Raylee (of Sunflower Quilting) and I had this crazy stupid idea to enter an embroidered quilt in the embroidered quilt section of the Australian Machine Quilting Associations bi-annual show. I’d never machine embroidered much past a couple of smaller projects for bags and clothing and I figured it would be a good way to improve my skills and so we put our heads together to come up with a plan.
That plan looks nothing like the above quilt. Nothing, at all. I started working on our plan, but due to my lack of experience with machine embroidery I had no idea that I had vastly underestimated the amount of thread required to execute said plan. A fifth of the way into the plan, with a week to go, I ran out of thread. Like, completely ran out of thread. No thread in sight. Normally not a deal breaker as Aurifil is pretty easy to come by, but I was using Brother’s Embroidery Thread and that stuff is not so easy to come by. Whoops!
I had to go back to the drawing board. So I turned to what I love, tales of the ocean, for inspiration. I lost a couple of hours looking at Urban Threads for inspiration and eventually I hit on an idea. Another couple of ideas lost down the rabbit hole of quilty eye-candy on Pinterest and I started on the second quilt. Lucky for me Raylee was open to the idea of changing horse mid-race and so I knocked out this new quilt idea in… wait for it… 48 hours.
Thankfully my quilty pantry is well stocked with Kona Cottons because I was able to piece the entire thing from my stash. (I do love me some blues and greens!) I’d never done improvisational piecing like this and for a first go I’m really happy with how it turned out. There’s some things that I would tweak with the placement of the embroidery if I had to do it again, but on the whole it’s a pretty good first go.
I started the process by embroidering all of the motifs on the five different shades of cotton. I kept the thread palette the same to provide unity throughout the quilt. Once I had the panels made I set to work trying to work out the best way to incorporate them all into one piece.
This is by far my favourite motif on the whole quilt. I love this quote and I love how the design includes an anchor, a ship, a kraken and a thread change progression. I can guarantee that I’ll be using this pattern again in future works.
This quote from Moby Dick had to be included as well, because I think it reflected the nature of this quilt. It’s not a set pattern, it’s pieced from my own imaging.
This design just amused me because it made me think of an octopus that got lost and ended up stuck in this divers bell. Who hasn’t been there before!
And of course there’s the mermaid. There’s always a mermaid! In my head I was telling a story with these motifs, a similar story to the one I tell with Kristy in our Release the Kraken Block of the Month quilt with Quarter Inch of Quirk. I’m obsessed with sailors, tall ships, mermaids and the great deep. I don’t know why, maybe it’s a childhood raised listening to Jimmy Buffet and having a father who was obsessed with fishing the way I’m obsessed with quilting.
Raylee did an amazing job custom quilting this quilt (and then facing it instead of binding it because I thought it would look better without a binding, me who’d never faced a quilt in her life!) and she did it all in a super crazy and tight timeframe. You’ll have to head on over to her blog by clicking here to read about her thoughts behind the quilting of this quilt. All I can tell you is that whatever kind of quilty voodoo she has in her hands is magic!
We got this quilt done in a crazy timeframe and managed to get it entered into the show. I was so thrilled when Raylee rang to tell me that it got 2nd place in it’s category. I was even more thrilled when the judge provided some glowing comments about the quality of the machine embroidery. Not bad for a girl who’d flunked Home Economics.
We decided to push our luck again and we entered it in this year’s Royal Canberra Show (our cities annual agricultural show). Entering something in the local agricultural show has been a dream of mine since I was a young kid going to the show with my friends and family. I’d always figured it would have been art or baking related, never sewing (see above flunking out of Home Economics comment!). We were thrilled to find out that our quilt took out 2nd place in the Quilting & Patchwork category. (Raylee took out 1st AND Show Champion! Bloody show off! *wink*)
I can’t believe so much has come from a quilt that was made in such a short timeframe and that has so many firsts tied up in it. Just goes to show, you never know what will come from tight deadlines, a full stash and an obsessive compulsive love of the sea. (Don’t you just love the National Library peeking out of the corner of the above image! Canberra really is a beautiful place to live!)
Here’s the details about the quilt:
- Designed, embroidered and pieced by Angie Wilson of GnomeAngel
- Machine Embroidered on a Brother Innovis NQ3500D
- Machine Embroidery thread provided by Brother Australia
- Fabric: Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman
- Custom Quilted by Raylee Bielenberg of Sunflower Quilting
- Urban Threads embroidery patterns used: Candlelight Tales – Moby Dick, Ocean Blue – Siren, Ocean Blue – Anchor, Ocean Blue – Diver, Captain Sleeve
- Quilt Name: Jimmy Buffet’s “Son of a Son of a Sailor”