Leading The Good Life

Firefighter Quilt

I recently finished a new-to-me type project...a commissioned quilt! One of Kate's coworker's found out that I quilt for fun and asked if I would be interested in making one for her. She wanted to give a firefighter-themed quilt to her 9-year-old nephew as a birthday gift.

I may have said "yes!" a little too quickly, but it ended up working out just fine - mainly because I was given free rein on the design and materials. She had purchased a large (10") firefighter patch that she wanted to include, but other than that, it was all up to me.

I was a little nervous about designing something for a pre-teen boy. What the heck kind of quilt would he like?! So, as per usual, I just headed to the fabric store for inspiration. I thought I'd find some fabric with firetrucks and ambulances on it, but everything was very juvenile - more for toddlers. Frustrated, I vented to Kate about my fruitless search, when she suggested looking for fabric with flames on it instead. Brilliant!!

I found this flame fabric that worked perfectly.

It is fairly large print, obviously flames, and contains red, orange, yellow, black, and even a bit of blue - which was an awesome addition I probably would have missed. I used these colors to guide the rest of my fabric choices, and ended up sketching out my design right there in the store. I decided on 12" x 12" blocks of black (the main color) and alternating red, orange, yellow, and blue. I'd use the flame fabric as the border around each square. The patch would then go in the middle, atop a black square.

It was a challenge finding fabrics with just a bit of pattern, keeping the young man I was making this for in mind. I ended up with: black pebble print, orange swirled with a bit of red which looked like a blazing fire, yellow combined with orange and red in an almost camouflage pattern, solid red, and swirly blue which looked like water (to put the fire out, of course).

I saved a ton of money by using a flat black sheet as the backing. It worked perfectly and only cost $5!

The patch was not iron-on, so I had to pin it in place and then carefully hand-stich it all the way around. Honestly, it was tedious and took a long time, but I think it looks great.

This was the first time I used my machine to do the final quilting piece (as opposed to hand-tying like I did here and here.) Since I had a grid pattern going, I decided to do a simple "stitch in the ditch" along the outside edges of the flame fabric. This resulted in a nice looking black block pattern on the back!

I was worried the quilt would seem too simple, since there wasn't much pattern to the fabric and the blocks were so big. However, I think it turned out really well! And I think it will be suitable for the young guy for many years, since it's not too juvenile. I really hope he likes it!

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  1. Wow, Lizz, you’re really creating some fantastic “artwork”! Looks great!

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