The Funky Artichoke

Does anyone else envision some crazy dance move when they hear "Funky Artichoke"? I can't get that image out of my head!
The idea for this quilt came from a facebook comment earlier this year. I committed to a Pay It Forward-I would make a handmade gift for the first 5 people to comment on my facebook, and they in turn had to commit to doing the same. The gifts could be anything handmade, and you can see the other items that I made here.
My college roomie, Emily, was one of the 5 commenters, and she jokingly suggested an artichoke quilt. To say that she loves artichokes would be an understatement. Last winter the midwest was pummeled with snow (seriously, people, Lakeshore Drive was a PARKING LOT!), and Emily's then-boyfriend trekked through the snowstorm, artichokes in hand, to spend the snowstorm with her. So I knew that I had to try my hardest to actually produce an artichoke quilt.
I started out by google searching for images of artichokes, hoping to find inspiration. Somehow in my searching, I came across an image of Sugar Pop by Liz Scott. I think the photo owner had described one of the greens as "artichoke", which was how it ended up in my search.
I wasn't making much headway with the other photos, and I happened to have a charm pack of this line, so I pulled it out and started to thumb through the prints. I sketched a bit, and thought I had an idea. I started to piece all of the charms into half square triangles, using an ivory kona for the other half of the HST. My intent was to piece the HSTs into concentric diamonds, which I would offset in the quilt top. The offset diamond would result in a large corner of the ivory kona, where I envisioned an artichoke-like image appliqued. Have I lost you yet? Imagine this quilt, but with a large area of background fabric in the lower righthand corner.
I had all of the HSTs pieced when I started to play with the layout. Before sewing the top together, I decided that I should try a few different ideas. I sort of stumbled onto this layout, but once I did I couldn't get it out of my head. It wasn't a literal translation, but it was *so* perfect for Emily:
 To emphasize the round shape of the piecing, I stitched 1/4" away from the seam allowances following the lines in the piecing. I was stumped when I got to the corners, until a friend suggested leaves. I went back to google images, where I found photos of the flowers on artichoke plants!
 The flowers were really quite easy to quilt, and I think they add just the right amount of whimsy to the quilt.
 I had a few HSTs left over, so I sewed them into a pinwheel and added them to the back.
 The ivory areas of the pinwheel made the perfect place to label the quilt! (You can also see the straight line quilting a bit better in this next pic):
At around 42" square, I think this quilt will make a great accent piece somewhere in Emily's apartment. She let me know that she received her package, and she loves the quilt! I'm so glad, that's always the best ending to a project!

Em's Birthday Quilt

Emily was one of my college roomies.  She is one of the kindest, more sincere people that I know.  And regardless of the last time I saw her (which happens to be last friday night!), if I called her up right now and needed something, she'd be there for me.

This year I wanted to do something super fabulous for her birthday.  I don't usually do gifts for my friends' birthdays, because I have this obsession with giving handmade, and not enough time to make all of the gifts :)  But this was gonna be the year.

I decided on this bright and funky quilt, because it just feels like Emily to me!  It is made of flannel, and all of the squares are raw-edge appliqued, which gives it a really soft and fuzzy feel :)  It will be perfect for the cold winter nights in Em's new apartment!

Em and Me

Matt and I went to dinner with Emily this weekend while we were up visiting my family, so I got to hand deliver her gift.  She absolutely loved it, which made me so happy!

(The pattern is Fuzzy Navel 2 by Sandy Brawner, but I added the blocks with the appliqued 4-patches to make the quilt larger.)

PS Emily is the fabulous graphic designer who created my logo and Etsy banner!)