At two, my daughter developed strong opinions about what she wanted to wear. The brighter the better! Now, at three-and-a-half, she still loves to mix patterns and colors. I wanted to capture her unique style in a piece, so I asked her to help me choose fabrics for the piece. Back in September, I took those fabrics to a workshop with Sandra Sider and started to make vertical strips of varying widths. It seemed to need something else, so I added some circles. The random circles weren’t working, so Sandra suggested arranging them in a curved line. That was better, but something was still not right.
I put the piece aside and worked on other things after the workshop. When I pulled it back out in December, I played with the circles again, but nothing seemed quite right. So it went back in the corner while I continued to work on other pieces in the series about parenthood.
Then, as the date for my exhibition approached, I had an idea. My daughter LOVES to dance. Why not use a silhouette of her dancing on the piece. So I went to Photoshop and tried out a few different options. The top contenders were pink and sheer yellow. I liked the subtlety of the yellow and that’s her favorite color, so that was the winner.
I took the fabrics back out and cut the strips to the size I had written down back in December then sewed them together. For the backing, I selected a yellow fabric with owls – my daughter’s favorite color and animal.
To make clean edges (and to make it easy and fast), I decided to pillowcase the quilt. I layered the top, batting, and backing fabric and then stitched all the way around, leaving a hole for turning. After hand stitching the opening, it was time to think about quilting.
I tried a few different variegated threads on a sample quilt sandwich and selected the bright rainbow thread. Then it was back to the sewing machine for free-motion quilting in a wavy vertical pattern.
Once it was quilted, I printed the silhouette of my daughter, taped it together, and pinned it to the sheer fabric so I could cut the shape out.
After pinning my little dancer to the quilt, I used a tight yellow zig zag stitch to sew her in place. It’s subtle, but my daughter is now dancing on the bright fabrics, happy with her colorful choices.