i just finished this one today - which was good, cause today is the (extended) deadline!
a while back, Jenna from SewHappyGeek posted about a challenge that she was hosting. the idea was that participants make a mini-quilt based literally or figuratively on a single playing card. i immediately thought that was an awesome idea, and tucked it away in the back of my mind to stew over.
(i know a lot of you reading my blog now are sewing and quilty friends, but i used to do quite a bit of mixed media art work, and i always loved the imagery of playing cards, and the awesome backs of vintage ones. i was way too lazy to dig out my own stash, so i spent some time one night searching flickr. i found so many gorgeous cards!)
in the meantime, i was sewing up the hearts for Cynthia's bee blocks. remember those? i wanted to do a sample of the anatomical heart applique before i cut into Cynthia's fabric, so i cut it out in these red prints first. i ironed on the freezer paper and turned the edges down, then basted it into place on the background. and then it sat there.
i didn't start on it until long after i finished Cynthia's, and i've been working on the hand applique whenever i had a few minutes in waiting rooms, etc, but omg, hand applique takes forever! and honestly, my stitches weren't even as teensy on my own heart, since i knew it was going on a wallhanging, not a quilt that would be used and laundered. i also switched my technique, as you can see quite obviously from the back! part way through the applique, i decided that the teensy stitches were putting too much strain on the fold of the applique, and i really think making longer stitches helped. after i'd finished the hand work, i pieced together a 1/2" border using the same prints as those in the heart.
i was so indecisive about this mini quilt, about how i wanted to do the letters, how i wanted to do the little hearts. i definitely wasn't going to do raw edge applique, after all the time i spent on the freezer paper applique! but i couldn't decide. i was going to piece the letters, and then i decided to paperpiece them, so i spent a whole bunch of time drafting up a paperpiecing pattern for the letters and the small hearts. and then i changed my mind AGAIN, and made little improv hearts and machine stitched the letters. in between there, i also considered hand embroidering the letters and the hearts, but i knew i wouldn't have time. machine stitching it is!
i went through the fonts on my computer and chose my two favourites that seemed to match the hearts as well. i printed them out in a few different sizes, then traced them onto tear away stabilizer. i sewed along the outlines of the letters and removed the stabilizer. then i put more stabilizer underneath the pieces, and filled in the centres of the letters. i did manage to get most of the stabilizer out of the stitches, but i didn't want to take the chance of leaving visible stabilizer on the front.
i spray basted the quilt front to cotton batting, but because i only had unbleached batting, i put a layer of white cotton in between so that it wouldn't show through. i echo quilted around the heart - i assume i'll eventually get bored with echo quilting, but it won't be any time soon! i love how it looks so much.
i also quilted around the outer border, but then i changed my mind and ripped it all out. so indecisive! i'm so glad that i did rip it out though, i like it much better like this. you can still see the stitch lines, despite my excessive steaming, but i'm going to wash the quilt so that it will shrink up a bit, and the stitch lines will come out then.
i added triangles in the corners for hanging, and bound it in the same fabric that i backed it in, a darker red cotton. i won't show you the back, my binding is terrible! i was rushing, and i was totally struggling with it. i don't know what i did wrong, it's totally uneven. it's fine from the front, but it definitely won't hold up to scrutiny! the quilt ended up being 10.5" x 12", barely squeaking past the 10" x 10" minimum.
so why Ace of Hearts?
hearts was pretty obvious to me, because i love heart imagery, whether it's anatomical hearts, flying hearts, sacred hearts, whatever. i thought about the Ace of Spades, because they're so often the most gorgeous card in the deck, but i wanted to stick with hearts.
i thought about the Two of Hearts, which is used fairly often in a romantic context, but i'm more interested in talking about less-traditional forms of love. in addition to that, i'd already drafted the pattern for this heart for the bee block, and using two of them would have made this quilt much bigger than i wanted it to be.
the Ace of Hearts appealed to me because i truly that think that focusing and working on self-love* is the most radical thing that a person can do. your relationship with yourself is the longest relationship you will ever have, and we live in a culture that continually tells us that we are not good enough. we're not worthy, we're flawed, we don't deserve to have a good life, to be happy, to be loved. we're not smart enough or too smart, not pretty enough or too pretty, too sensitive, or insensitive, we don't have the right kind of body, love, style, job. particularly for people who have been socialized as female, we have been under a barrage of messages from advertising and society since we were so young, and as much as we KNOW that the messages aren't true, they're sneaky, and they stick in our subconscious.
loving yourself can be a lifelong struggle, but it's so important. if you don't love yourself, it's way too easy to let yourself be treated badly. it sounds cheezy, i know, but if you don't feel like you're worth good things, good things don't happen to you. or if they do, you're too busy focusing on the bad things to appreciate them!
so that's why i chose the Ace of Hearts. i'll get off my soapbox now.
plus, the Ace of Hearts card has the letter A on it, and A is for Amy!
if you like my quilt, i'd be ever so happy if you wanted to vote for me! voting for the Most Popular quilt has started, and will be open until Friday 1 June at 10am GMT.
however, the other 13 entries are super freaking awesome, so i totally understand if you vote for one of them instead! ;) i can't even decide on my favourite, they're too amazing!
(can you believe that out of 14 entries, 3 were made by people named amy?)
(*did you snicker when you read that? perv. that's not what i was talking about, but the former sex educator in me feels the need to point out that taking care of your own needs is important too! if you don't know what gets you hot, how can you expect your partner to know?)
also, i'm linking this up to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story