Monday, February 6, 2012

Julie's Karl Quilt - advice needed

The most important quilt I'm working on is what I'm calling Julie's Karl quilt.  Julie's Karl is Karl Savage, who passed away almost two years ago, suddenly of a heart attack, at age 40, leaving three beautiful children and Julie, the love of his life.  Julie and Karl are dear old friends.  It was a crushing loss.

I am honored that Julie asked me to make a quilt from some of Karl's shirts.  It is an overwhelming proposition, because I just don't want to mess it up.  I want it to be special, but I don't want to overdo it. I want it to be about the shirts, just simply the shirts, and therefore about Karl - husband, Dad, teacher, disciple, youth leader, uncle, son in law, brother, friend, poet.

After obsessing for awhile about what to do, I decided on stars - simple stars in a field of blue.  Before we came to Japan, I found two woven blues that work very nicely with the shirt fabrics.  

I thought snowballing the alternate blocks would add a little oomph and visually link the stars. 

Before cutting the fabric, I had to stabilize some of it - there are a couple of silks, knits, and one shirt that is high tech  material - it feels just like cotton but it's plastic!  Julie also gave me two old (and precious) t-shirts to incorporate into the backing.  Because of these fabric challenges, and because I want the quilt to be really durable, and not to mention finished by summertime, I'm going to machine quilt it.  

I have been piecing the stars and I'm really pleased so far.  My dilemma though is... what about these big blue snowballs?  Don't they beg for... something?  

I've thought of Sashiko stitching (the outline of a star?)  in each block, but I'm not sure how that would look/work with the eventual machine quilting.  

Fabulous Sashiko thread from Blue and White. 

Or...  fancy-ish  machine quilting (risky - the dark solid will show every little error) in the alternate blocks?  

Or... would it be corny to "appliquilt" free-form hearts?  Yes, probably, and  busy too.  

Or... maybe nothing.  My kids and David say just leave it alone, just keep it simple, don't detract from the stars, and I'm inclined to agree.   

Any ideas?  I think if I put dark blue borders on, it will help to make the snowballs recede into the background, too, and bring up the lighter blue lattice with the stars, so that it looks like the stars and light lattice are sitting on top of the dark blue background.  Right now those dark snowballs just look so huge.

Quilters out in blogland, please advise!

And.... I am going to attempt to "link up" with Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday.  See my sidebar for their link!