Sadly, the pics of this diva just don’t do her justice. But honestly, it’s part of what makes her a diva in the first place.
I’ve mentioned before about being part of Schnitzel and Boo‘s Mini Quilt Swap, and that in Round 3 I had two secret partners to make for. If you’d like to see what I made for my other partner, just click here.
But this post is all about this Everyday Diva, and the gorgeously talented recipient- Alexandra, also known as @alexouq on Instagram. Let me tell you, if you haven’t seen Alexandra’s work before, you are truly missing out. The mini that she made for the S&B swap is absolutely jaw dropping. Don’t believe me? Here’s a few shots of her work…
See what I mean? No pressure here to make something fabulous. No, none at all.
I don’t know a lot about Alexandra, other than she has impeccable taste in fabric, crazy mad English paper piecing skills, a sense of humor, a kind heart and a beautiful life. I can only imagine all of the places this woman has been to and the amazing things she has been able to see and experience. I also know that I may have tempted her to come to Savannah, Georgia here in the USA for QuiltCon in February 2017- which would be nothing short of fantabulous. Just sayin.
Like so many projects, this one just didn’t want to get off of the floor. Point one towards divadom. I poured over fabrics- these were too dark, these were too novelty, she already has these… Good grief, fabric, would you please speak up and tell me which one of you wants to audition for this part?!?
And then, like a true diva, in the afternoon hours of the day, the fabric finally showed up.
I absolutely love Art Gallery fabrics.
Well, alrighty then. While it took her a while to make her grand entrance, a grand entrance it was. Now what? I waited for a day or so for the fabric to speak to me, but she wasn’t having it. I was on my own.
That’s when I remembered this beauty. A friend of mine, an amazing quilter named June Hanes, made this quilt several years ago, and it seemed perfect for Alexandra.
Click on the link to purchase the “Everyday Best” pattern by Piece O’Cake
The main blocks in this quilt are 16″ square, and I knew with a little border here or there, it would be perfect for a mini. And, I knew immediately that I wanted to finish it as a pillow cover. Actually, she kind of demanded that I finish her as a pillow cover. As divas do, you know.
And so the paper piecing, and curved sewing, began. What I don’t have a picture of is Miss Diva having a fit about which fabrics I sat her next too at the ball. For pity’s sake, it took a couple of rounds to just get the center bits done.
But this was the moment that I knew that there was a reason she could get away with being a diva.
This was also the moment when I knew she was going to test my courage. While the pattern doesn’t mention doing this, my friend gave me a tip on how she had dealt with the bulky intersection of this pattern. The truth is that per the pattern, this center is going to be covered up anyway with a small circle. So, why not eliminate the bulk and avoid issues in the quilting?
Cut it. Yup. You heard me. Cut it. I don’t mind telling you that it was more than a little frightening, and even made me feel like I was performing an invasive procedure. I swear I was holding my breath the whole time.
A little fusible webbing and some crude hand applique skills and all was made well.
Now, she needed a border. And since a diva deserves the best, why not make that border a keyboard?
You learn a few things after quilting for 23 years, and one of the things I have learned is do everything possible not to sew pieces or blocks together in a line. For instance, one strip to one strip, then one strip to the previous two strips, then one strip to the previous three strips. It is really important to sew things together in sets of 2, then 4, and so on until you have the desired length. I wish I had known this earlier in my sewing experience, but gratefully I knew it before I met this diva.
Well. Certainly the hard part is over. Ummmm… No. How on earth do you quilt something like this without totally screwing it up? Especially since if you do screw it up, it’s done, because there is only one Everyday Diva. This truly proved to be the hardest part of this project for me. I hope Alexandra doesn’t look too closely at the center because it looks like Swiss cheese. I tried to machine quilt her. Then I tried to hand quilt her. I tried this kind of thread. I tried that kind of thread. I am pretty sure I had to rip it out at least 3 times, but it felt more like 30. By the way, this is about the time that my family starts to hide from me.
While I did all of the piecing with Aurifil thread, I quilted it with Clear MonoPoly thread in the top and “Silver” Bottom Line thread in the bobbin, both by Superior Threads.
And then suddenly. After a couple of days of crying and cursing, it happened. I quilted the whole thing in 2 hours. Diva.
Finished. And fabulous, if I do say so myself.