2013 Spoonflower Staff Quilting Challenge Pt. 8: A Musical Quilt

MAR 11, 2013 updated May 20, 2021

This is the eighth post in our series of project posts created for the Spoonflower Staff Quilting Challenge.  Voting for this contest will open on Thursday, 3/14.


Spoontunes: A Musical Quilt by Holly, Paula and Yoalder

All three of us work together on Spoonflower’s operations team, so we were able to meet and discuss our quilt ideas regularly.  Holly is an artist and seamstress, Paula is fabulously creative and has a long list of people already enjoying items made from her sewing machine, and Yoalder is a designer and DIY fix-it builder with absolutely no sewing skills at all.  Our biggest problem at first was too many ideas!  But finally we settled on one.  The main theme of our quilt is old and new methods of listening to music.  

We were inspired by all the musical fabric designs that come through production, as well as the eclectic musical tastes of our own team.  One of the first things we did was poll our coworkers to see what their favorite music was, and we hardly recognized any of it!  The other idea we had was to make something non-traditional and asymmetrical.  (Holly had enough of cutting out little squares after last year’s challenge!)

First, Holly drew some pictures of old cassette tapes, and she and Paula colored them in with crayons.  


But when scanned, the crayon images weren’t bright enough, so we tried colored pencils.  Finally we settled on coloring them with Sharpies, which turned out great.  Then the drawings were scanned in and arranged to make our main fabric design.  In the end we chose a more dynamic version of the tapes design, rather than just a plain grid.  The next step was to have it printed, and we chose to use basic combed cotton because colors often tend to appear brighter and “pop” more on this fabric. We printed about 3 yards of it, just so we would have enough to work with.


We wanted our quilt to be less traditional, incorporating larger strips of fabric rather than squares, and we thought a good way to do this would be to have a song running along the entire length of the quilt.  We wanted an original song (or at least a parody–”ragtime” anyone?) but time slipped away so we decided on a song that was in the public domain and settled on “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”  In Photoshop, Yoalder created a musical scale design and added the notes.  In order to make it uniquely Spoonflower, she used the Spoonflower logo for the heads of the notes which turned out fun.  


For the quilt-top we designed three more fabric designs which show methods for listening to music.  Yoalder’s son, Grey, designed a set of headphones, and Holly did drawings of a vintage cassette tape player and an mp3 player.  These were printed out on fat quarters and inset into the tape fabric on the top of our quilt.  We thought it would be fun to add some more dimensions to the quilt by making the mp3 player piece into a pocket (so that you could put a real mp3 player in it!), and the tape player includes an openable flap with snaps, which holds a plushie cassette.


For the back of the quilt, Yoalder used Photoshop to design a medley of bright fun musical notes and symbols that support our music theme.


After the fabric top was sewn together, we invited our co-workers to choose a tape and write the name of their favorite band or song on it with a fabric marker.  It was so fun to see what everyone chose to write!  


After the top was complete, Paula made a sandwich out of the quilt top, the batting, and the backing and we basted the entire thing with pins.  Then she machine-quilted a grid across the top, using the clusters of tapes as a guide.  


As mentioned before, Yoalder has zero sewing skills but she has many quilter friends who instructed her to cut the binding to a 2.5 inch width and then fold it in half and iron it.  We chose the music scale fabric to be our binding.  Paula sewed it on, and then we were done!


This project challenged us all in many ways–Paula thought the most difficult part was deciding what band to write down as her favorite–but we are so happy with the result!  This group’s favorites were the Rosebuds (Holly), Elvis Presley (Yoalder), and Jukebox The Ghost (Paula). Now we're excited to go and listen to all this new music we just found out about!



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