Our son earned his Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Eagle Award in December 2016 but there’s a whole lot of signatures, paper shuffling and red tape that has to happen before we could plan his Eagle Court of Honor. We finally got the green light toward the end of February 2017, but then we had to coordinate schedules with some key relatives and mentors to our son. We finally set a date for May 2017 and that set the Eagle wheels in motion!
About seven or eight years ago, Robert Kaufman fabrics designed an entire colorway of BSA fabrics (this was before they were sold in fabric shops instead of quilt shops). They had fabrics for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. So when the fabrics hit the quilt shops, I ordered a fat quarter bundle of both as well as a bolt of two different Boy Scout fabrics. I had been saving them for a very special occasion, and that occasion happened in December of 2016. Once he earned his BSA Eagle Award, I dusted the fabrics off (I still had the Boy Scout fabric in the plastic shrink-wrap it was sent to me in) and started making him a quilt. A very special quilt, indeed!
I purchased a machine embroidered file of an eagle and embroidered it on one of the official BSA quilt fabric squares.
Then I embroidered a special message on another official BSA fabric square:
By the time it was finished, I had sewn and embroidered the (very busy) quilt top, my husband quilted it on our longarm and my son’s grandmother sewed the binding on the back of the quilt. It was a family affair!
No, not MY grand baby, silly! 🙂 A friend’s grand baby or, better than that, her soon-to-be grandson.
Braxton’s Nana chose the fabrics based on the colors her daughter wanted to use in his nursery. I designed the quilt top and embroidered Braxton’s name (with help) and the head shot on the center quilt block. Meloney Funk quilted the quilt on her longarm, using freehand leaves to signify the stag walking through a forest and since she knew I had two or three quilts due at about the same time, she also took care of the binding for me! She’s a keeper!
Braxton lives in the southwest so he probably won’t need his quilt until November. I hope he isn’t too big for it by then!
Then I mentioned to my friend that since she’d already paid for the embroidery files, I could embroider them on just about anything that would be needed for a baby – burp cloths, bibs, onesies, cloth diapers – you name it, I can usually embroider on it. She gave it a thought and decided he could use some bibs so she ordered them and had them sent to me. I stitched them out and they were so very adorable!
Braxton’s mommy loved all of his gifts and now that Braxton is three month’s old, he’s getting some good use out of his bibs.
Last summer, I was having a few health issues and my family doctor decided the best approach to treating them was through a home healthcare agency. I had an RN who came out to our house every other week and a CVN who came out once a week. My CVN’s name was Bea and she was just a joy to be around! We got to know her pretty well so when she told me they were planning for her daughter’s Quinceañera for later that summer, I asked her if I could make a quilt for her? Bea was flattered and readily accepted my offer.
Bea and I took a trip out to my quilt studio so she could go ‘shopping’ in my quilt stash. She was very particular regarding the two main colors she wanted in her daughter’s quilt – Navy blue and coral. As I was pulling out fabric from one of my drawers, I happened across a piece of green focus fabric that had both coral and navy blue in it. Once I showed it to Bea, she immediately said yes and that sealed the deal.
Next came the decision about what to embroider in the quilt blocks. We had already decided the quilt was going to be a 55″ square lap quilt so there was only room for nine embroidered squares. In the center row, she wanted her daughter’s name, then her daughter’s favorite Bible verse and then the date of her daughter’s Quinceañera.
Bea told me what she wanted embroidered in the remaining six quilt blocks so I found five of them and sent her links so she could pick out the ones she liked best and then to purchase them. She gave me her login info so I could download them after she bought them. For the sixth one, I hired a custom digitizer to create it and once Bea gave her approval, I stitched it out.
I knew I was meant to make this quilt because everything came together just right!
Once the embroidery was stitched out, I began the process of building her quilt, then sent it on to my dear friend Meloney so she could quilt it on her longarm for me.
For true quilters, there is fun in making a quilt, every step of the way. But the true joy is seeing the faces and reactions of those who receive a quilt. And nurse Bea did not disappoint. She cried a bit when she saw the finished product. She absolutely loved it and she was sure her daughter would treasure it for many years to come.
Since I had already purchased the alphabet and head shot embroidery files that I used to make Braxton’s quilt, Braxton’s nana thought it would be a nice addition to his wardrobe to add some embroidered bibs, too.
While I am not new to machine embroidery, I have never embroidered on anything other than quilt cotton, towels and washcloths. Nana purchased 100% cotton rib knit bibs with knit terry on the backs <gulp>. After some quick but extensive research, and after querying another machine embroiderer with much more experience than I have, I figured out my game plan. My main source of inspiration came from this blog post.
I inserted a ball point needle in my embroidery machine. The bibs were washed before I embroidered them. It is a layering process to embroider on knit fabrics. I used a stiff cutaway stabilizer on the back of the bibs, then used a temporary spray-on adhesive on top of the stabilizer. I laid the bib on the stabilizer and positioned it until I was satisfied that there were no wrinkles and that it would be centered in my hoop. Then I hooped the layers, again making sure I centered the bibs by using a ruler. I then cut a piece of Sulky’s® Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer and centered it where I wanted the embroidery placed. I pealed off the backing and stuck the stabilizer to the front of the bib. Using the ruler again, I measured horizontally and vertically and marked the center of the area that I was to embroider. So far, so good!
I was nervous. I only had one shot at each one of the bibs as it is pretty easy to rip out embroidery stitches on 100% quilt fabric but it’s not so easy to rip out stitches on knit fabric!
I chose to embroider the stag head shot first. It was the one that embroidered so beautifully on Braxton’s baby quilt and the thread didn’t break once. I took a deep breath, re-checked the area on my embroidery machine where the head shot was to be embroidered – said a little prayer – and hit the start button. Guess what? It turned out beautifully!!!
I was still extremely vigilant with the remaining three bibs but all four turned out spot-on and I was so pleased with myself, my machine and with the finished product. They were sent through the washing machine again to remove the water soluble stabilizer. Finally, I packaged up and sent to Braxton’s mommy and she loved them, too!