Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sweet and Sour Quilt: Beginnings

My next quilt is for a co-worker Greg, who is retiring the first of July.  What he is best known for in the office is singing Happy Birthday very badly--on purpose.  He is accompanied by Ramin, another co-worker, who plays the song on the violin the normal way, sort of as an introduction.  Then the two of them perform with Greg singing off-key, very loudly.  It's hilarious and people look forward to being serenaded.  Greg calls their duo Sweet and Sour.  Ramin is Sweet and Greg is Sour.

Birthday card that launched the quilt

A couple of months ago I found the birthday card above at the supermarket.  It made me laugh, and reminded me so much of Greg.  I knew right away I needed to make a quilt around it, so I bought it.

Recently I started working on the quilt mentally, kind of a preparation before shopping for fabric.  As I often do, I went to, and began to read the list of blocks, looking for block names that seem to relate to Greg or the quilt theme.  I sketched a few blocks.  An Internet search turned up an easy Sweet and Sour Quilt in pink and green stripes that was interesting, and I could always swap out the colors.  Also, I found quilt kits called Sweet and Sour, too, but I'm not one to do kits and the colors weren't right.  Below are my notes.

Design notes
Explanation:  Greg was in the Air Force; Double Quartet sounds musical; Economy relates to Greg's accounting position; End of the Day sounds like retirement; Four and Twenty Blackbirds--part of the nursery rhyme and song Sing a Song of Sixpence (music); "Sweet" Dreams; my sketches of the Sweet and Sour Quilt.

I'm aware of Pickle Dish block patterns (above), which are cousins of Double Wedding Ring, and they certainly would have been great to represent Sour, but I'm not ready to do them.

Even after a few days of letting the ideas percolate, the quilt design wasn't forthcoming.  But one thing I knew for sure was that I would put the little cowboy picture on the quilt using an Inkjet Fabric transfer.  That determined the quilt's color scheme of orange/yellow/green.  I headed to Fields of Fabric, a nearby quilt shop, in hopes of some inspiration.  I lucked out when I found the fabrics below:

Sweet (Oranges) and Sour (Lemons)!
I bought the mixed fabric for the colors.

I knew these fabrics were perfect when I saw them.  I couldn't find any fat quarters, but the quilt shop owner cut some for me.  As I gathered the fabrics, the collection began to seem too citrusy, so I picked up some darker colors, which brought some grounding.  Included are some batiks, which refer to the Hawaiian shirts that Greg often wears.  Also while I was shopping, it occurred to me to do a Turning Twenty style quilt.  It's fast, and the most interesting part of the quilt is the cowboy picture, anyway.  It would be fine.  Done deal!  All told, I walked away with 8 fat quarters.

Today I shopped my stash for more fat quarters, and found enough to make the quilt top (20+ fabrics).  I don't know if Greg likes these colors, but they're what he's getting.  I think he'll appreciate the quilt no matter what.

Fabric collection for Sweet and Sour Quilt

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