About this time last year, I was commissioned to design and make a quilt as a special engagement gift. I love working with clients to design custom quilts that have meaning, so I immediately said yes to the project, and then the project took a strange turn.
When I think of engagements and weddings, I think of quilts that evoke love, like What’s the Frequency, Love?, Big Love, Modern Love, Double Wedding Knots or a Double Wedding Ring quilt. I quickly learned that the couple getting married is not traditional or sentimental, but they are big “design” people who like modern, clean design and strange, unique things. Also, one of the grooms was really into one thing when he was younger— the Six Million Dollar Man and still has the figurines and lunchbox to prove it. The client really wanted to give a quilt that was based on this theme.
Hmmm. Where to go from here? I knew nothing about Steven Austin or the TV series, but Jason (my husband) did. There was lots of brainstorming about what the quilt could look like—a heartbeat symbol from the logo? a portrait of Steven Austin? A red track suit? This was definitely a big challenge—check out what comes up as far as imagery when you google the “Six Million Dollar Man” It was during research that I discovered another key character in the show—Bigfoot/Sasquatch.
After going back and forth with sketches, it was agreed upon that Bigfoot/Sasquatch was the right direction for the quilt. It even ties in nicely to the couple themselves (* be sure to check out the quilt label shown at the bottom of this post). There was already a pretty popular Bigfoot quilt pattern available, Legendary by Elizabeth Hartman, but I wanted this Sasquatch to look like he was deep in the woods running from Steve Austin.
fabric & thread selection
For the forest, I selected subtle prints in a variety of tones including designs by Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander and Cotton + Steel. The sky is Sprinkle by Cotton + Steel—one of my favorite basics. Finding just the right shade of brown for Sasquatch was challenging. It couldn’t be too light, too red or too dark. I wound up purchasing two browns in the yardage I needed—Kona® Cotton Cappucino and Sable. After piecing the forest together, it was clear that Cappucino was the winner!
For piecing, applique and quilting, I selected a few thread colors that would complement the quilt top nicely— Aurifil Cotton 50wt in brown, green and blue.
The most challenging part of designing this quilt was determining how to construct it. I decided to first machine piece the quilt as if it was just the forest (and Sasquatch wasn’t running through yet) and then needle-turn applique him on top. The trickiest part was figuring out how to do so and get him aligned just right on the diagonal where part of his body is behind a tree and his hand is in front of the tree. I decided to piece the forest in two parts (on a diagonal shown below), needle-turn appliqued Sasquatch in two parts and then machine piece the two parts.
Once the background was pieced, I used a paper template to make sure Sasquatch was the right size and in the right position. I then used that paper template to cut out the fabric. Jason thought it would be fun to pretend to be a model.
I used my walking foot to quilt the entire quilt. For the trees, I followed the seams and then used those quilted lines as a guide to quilt the next lines. For Sasquatch, I quilted a random zig zag pattern to emulate fur. For the sky, I quilted one wavy line and then used that line as a guide for more lines.
The final size of the quilt is 60″ x 60″—perfect for a throw for the couch. It was definitely one of the most interesting quilts I’ve made and was a challenge. Both the givers and the receivers of the quilt were happy with the final product. I’m looking forward to new challenges that satisfy clients unique requests in 2019! Bring it!