This year we agreed not to get each other gifts for our 12 year wedding anniversary. So, I made him one instead. I started looking at the internet for ideas on a football themed blanket. I didn't find any one blanket that really charmed me, so I pulled things I liked from many blankets and created my own pattern. I was very surprised that there aren't many templates out there for sports related items. There's one out of print book I could find. I scoured both book sections of Joann's hoping to find one, combed through Amazon.com... so for the applique I used a combination of Google images and I downloaded a free trial version of Adobe Illustrator.
Normally I agonize over fabric choices when I'm looking to buy for a new project. This time, I went in Joann and had everything picked out within 30 minutes. I wasn't crazy about the fabric for the green border and 'field', so I went to Aunt Mary's Quilt Shop in Smokey Point (Arlington, WA) and found ones that were absolutely perfect. Now I had everything I needed!
I started by washing and starching/pressing my fabrics. This step takes a lot of time, especially when I have so many different fabrics, and a few were large pieces. It's worth it to me though, I prefer working with washed/starched fabric. Then I put the top together, which was pretty quick. Now it was time for the applique. I love doing applique - I think it adds so much character to a project. I wanted to try using a satin stitch around the applique (I usually use an applique, or blanket, stitch), but my machine doesn't have a satin stitch and it wasn't doing the close zig zag really well. On a small amount of applique, I could have used stabilizer and made it work... but with so much I went back to my normal stitch.
I did end up using a satin stitch and stabilizer for the threads on the middle football though. The placement of the football was bugging me, I just didn't like it. Dionne came over one afternoon while I was working on it and suggested adding the threads on that ball only. She was soooo right! Good call Dionne!
Since this was a surprise, I had to work in small pieces at a time whenever Daryl wasn't home. The design wall was a big help in getting the different pieces put in the right spot. I started with paper cutouts, pinned them in place to make sure I liked it, and it helped to make sure the size of each piece was right. Good thing, the original letters I was going to use were too small. Back to the drawing board....
Happy Anniversary My Love!