An Opera-Themed “Sampler” Quilt For Hariclea

Final Product

Opera Is Magic, 2016. (I named the quilt, of course, after Hariclea’s wonderful blog!)

Funny that I should receive the heartwarming response that she received my gift from Hari on Mother’s Day- made my warm-fuzzy-filled day all the better! And somewhat fitting, as well, because my own Mom had quite a part in this quilt. We’ve been in a bit of an Armitage Drought, lately, and in case anyone ever wonders what I tend to do when I’m not full-on preoccupiedwitharmitage, well, I’m generally spending time with Mom quite preoccupiedwithquilting. =)

Lately, though, my hobbies have converged to some degree, as I’ve found myself obsessing thinking about doing some sort of an Armitage-themed quilt. And while I ponder that, I’ve been inspired by some really warm fandom friendships. When I think about these people, I’m afraid my quilting addiction kicks in. You see, when I’m fond of someone and feel like I get to know her a little… I’ll maybe come across a fabric or a pattern that prompts an idea for a quilt I think she might like.

And that’s exactly what happened when one of my online fabric stores sent out an e-mail announcing “Night At The Opera” (a new fabric collection), and with it, a free pattern. Yep. You guessed it… the lovely blogger and frequent commentator Hariclea popped straight into my mind!

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I took a closer look at the fabrics in this collection, and I was charmed. Faster than the speed of light, Moments later, I’d downloaded the pattern and ordered my fabrics. I jazzed it up a bit with a slightly wider border and four cornerstones… and indulged my love of bling by choosing a rather “sparkly” black fabric instead of the one shown in the pattern. (I just can’t help myself when it comes to metallic gold on fabric! Thorin Oakenshield has nothing on me! LOL)

As you can see, it’s a very simple quilt. Piecing squares together is about as straightforward as it gets. But not only did I like the fabric, the pattern, and the way it practically screamed “Hari”… I happened to need an uncomplicated block pattern for my own quilting advancement.

Bottom Row Programming

Here I am working in Creative Studio on Hari’s quilt. It’s really cool. The program allows you to use a laser pointer to define boundaries on the actual quilt, then import patterns and stretch or squeeze them in any way you like to fit the actual block. (It also allows you to design your own patterns, but that was beyond my scope for this, our first real quilt using the new program.)

Mom and I have been using an out-dated program on her long-arm quilter for years, and because of its limited capabilities, we always just quilted an “overall pattern” across the quilt. However,  there’s a completely new and wonderful program available called Creative Studio that allows you to do much more intricate quilting, such as quilting each block individually, with ease. Mom, especially, had long been intimidated by the need to learn a whole new program, but when her old computer connected to the quilter crapped out needed to be replaced, we decided to finally bite the bullet install Creative Studio on her new quilting computer. And what could be a better quilt to learn all the new capabilities of Creative Studio than a very basic pattern of squares set on point?

I got the idea that as long as we were going to take a stab at quilting individual block patterns, we might as well make a big “sampler” out of it, and try out as many of our new block patterns as we could. Mom hated this idea, and campaigned pretty vigorously for me to alternate between two block patterns over the light and dark blocks, respectively… but I’m nothing if not stubborn, and thought that since the top of the quilt is such a simple one, I’d like to redeem it by making the quilting itself wildly exciting for Hari!! (Okay, so maybe only *I* become wildly excited about a smorgasbord of block patterns… but still, I’m pretty sure Hari is going to like the way it turned out! LOL)

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And not only was I thrilled with the way this “sampler” approach turned out, but Mom really fell in love with the effect of having a different pattern in every block, too! She has shown off this quilt to anyone and everyone (seriously… even the man who came to remove a tree stump!) and wants to do another in the same style of quilting. I am not fond of (or very good at) doing the final binding… once a quilt comes off the quilter, I am instantly ready to move on to a new project, so my lovely Mom usually does my binding for me. (I make it up to her in veterinary favors and products!) But she was so very taken with this quilt, that she insisted on doing the final binding by hand, which is quite an undertaking! (I ineffectually argued that I didn’t think Hari would care whether the binding was done with a sewing machine, but now it was Mom’s turn to be stubborn!)  =)

Final 2

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Mom? She did a beautiful job on the binding. =)

The back of this lap quilt is made of a soft, cuddly flannel. And Hari may find a “hitchhiker” grass seed or two… when the binding was finally done, I hung the quilt out for a few pictures, and damned if the cable system, which was admittedly looking pretty frayed for the last few photo ops, didn’t finally snap just as I was hoisting the quilt! Down went the quilt, and wouldn’t you know, it landed flannel-side down (which means: sticky-like-velcro-side down!) right in a big patch of grass seeds! I may have spent almost as much time picking seeds off the quilt as Mom spent doing the binding! LOL

It was definitely a labor of love, Hari… and I hope it will keep you cozy and bring a smile to your face for many years to come. (((Hugs!)))

 

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21 comments

  1. Helen · May 8, 2016

    Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow! And wow! Amazing! And so perfect for Hari! 😃😃😃😃😃😃😃😃

    To say I love this is just a little bit of an understatement! I saw Guylty’s ginkgo quilt recently and I’m just blown away by your talent (and your mum’s, too 😃)

    Like

    • jholland · May 9, 2016

      I know- how could I NOT think of Hari when “Night At The Opera” fabric came across my radar? LOL. And thank you! *blushes*

      Like

  2. CraMERRY · May 8, 2016

    Hey, Jennifer, this is WONDERFUL! Hari, du bist ein Glückspilz. Cuddling into the fandom 😉

    Like

    • jholland · May 9, 2016

      Cuddling into the fandom! Yes! Thanks, CraMERRY!

      Like

  3. suzy · May 8, 2016

    This Quilt is magic! Beautiful ❤

    Like

    • jholland · May 9, 2016

      It was a lot of fun, too! Thank you, Suzy. =)

      Like

  4. Guylty · May 8, 2016

    This is just another amazing quilt and a wonderful show of inter-fan love. What a brilliant present, J! As usual, it is completely unique, which makes it an amazing piece of art. I love how you have done that with all the three quilts you have made so far, starting with the one you made for me that was totally customised to my favourite colours and a plant that holds much meaning for me; then Linnet’s quilt, which had custom printed fabric; and now Hari’s quilt which has these amazingly intricate patterns. A wonderful present, and well deserved by Hari, whose passion for the opera certainly comes through in her posts on her blog and on Twitter, and which has inspired me to get into opera and theatre again, too. You rock!

    Like

    • jholland · May 9, 2016

      Aw, thanks, Guylty. This one was a lot of fun, experimenting with all the block patterns and learning the new program, which has so much potential! To be able to gift a quilt to someone special is incredibly rewarding, and Hari’s reaction just made my day! =)

      Like

  5. Hariclea · May 8, 2016

    Reblogged this on Opera is Magic and commented:
    This was the most wonderful surprise!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hariclea · May 8, 2016

    Looove it sooo much, i reblogged your wonderful account of how it was made and added my home made picture of it in its new home 🙂 Honestly i just can’t thank you and your mum enough! i keep flipping it back and fort to discover one more detail on the front or to look at one more flower or swirl on the back, they are amazing. I for one can’t even begin to imagine how one makes something like it! It’s truly priceless treasure of love and i adore it! ❤❤❤

    Like

    • jholland · May 9, 2016

      Aren’t some of those block patterns lovely?!? I did the same thing while I was quilting it, except instead of flipping it over I was forever crawling under the machine to see how the pattern looked on the back side! I needed knee pads! LOL. So happy to see it in its new home, and so glad that you are enjoying all the many details. It’s a fun one! And thank you for your lovely reblog- just totally made my day revisiting the quilt through all your photos! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  7. linnetmoss · May 9, 2016

    Quilts are Magic!! As the recipient of one of these intricate treasures, I know exactly how Hari is feeling right now 🙂 This one is genius–I especially love the border with all the opera titles, and the colors are great.

    Like

    • jholland · May 9, 2016

      Yes, the fabric was really charming, and I knew Hari would be able to appreciate it even more, having experienced many of those titles in person, no doubt. =)

      Liked by 1 person

      • linnetmoss · May 9, 2016

        Yes, I bet she’s seen them all at one time or another.

        Like

  8. Elanor · May 9, 2016

    This is such an amazing and overwhelming gift – I’m so happy for Hariclea. Your Mother and you, you are really artists and you are sooo generous. ❤
    Hari, du kannst dein Glück bestimmt kaum fassen. 🙂

    Like

    • jholland · May 9, 2016

      Thank you, Elanor. Having this hobby together has been an amazing boost to my relationship with Mom. Quilting is a neat hobby because it is an artistic outlet, as well as an expression of love. =)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Esther · May 13, 2016

    Oh…my…goodness, how absolutely stunning yet again! This is amazing and you are so very generous and kind to do this! Well done to you and your mom.

    Like

    • jholland · May 17, 2016

      Thanks, Esther! We do enjoy it! So many quilts, so little time… =)

      Like

  10. Gratiana Lovelace · May 13, 2016

    Beautiful quilt! Masterfully made! Great job! I only dabbled at quilting years ago–but never to the high artistic degree that you do. Brava!

    Like

    • jholland · May 17, 2016

      Thanks! Oh, really!? What kind of quilt did you make, Grati?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gratiana Lovelace · May 18, 2016

        Well, I have only one blanket sized quilt done–for my nephew. A print with bears in bow ties and a dark green textured background. I tied it. But for the pillow shams, I quilted the outline for the bear, bow tie, and the edging. I had also quilted a small table runner for my sister with interlocking squares in a diamond shaped pattern. I also quilted a flower print skirt for my niece–machine quilting a tulip design on the hem edging.

        But I have many quilted projects in progress. One top consists of 2 inch diamond shapes in alternating navy background with small pink roses, and white background with small pink and navy roses, etc.

        Another is a XMAS table runner that I’m in progress on, I’m making for myself. The printed fabric has a gold background and sparrows in berry laden fir trees. So I am hand quilting the outlines of the birds, tree branches, and berries. It will be pretty when I get it done.

        So basically, in learning the quilt basics years ago, I tried a variety of methods–except applique. Maybe when I’m retired several years from now, I will pick up my stalled quitling projects and complete them. Ha!

        Like

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