A quilt for a sailor

Robin and I have been working hard on a quilt for her brother (my cousin) Ron. He is in the Navy and is on his way home from his latest deployment to Afghanistan. He has been deployed seven times to different parts of the world, including Somalia and multiple trips to Afghanistan.

Our grandma made him a Milky Way quilt (friendship stars and four patches) in shades of blue as a high school graduation gift. He took that quilt with him on every deployment until the year that it was stolen from him on the ship.  It was very sad to hear that the quilt our grandma worked so hard on was gone. She is getting older and can't make a new quilt for him, so Robin and I decided to make one.

I found a more modern way to layout friendship stars on the wonderful blog, Fresh Lemons Quilts. We chose three batik fabrics, two black and one blue, and used Kona Medium Gray for the negative space and quilt back. We added in my scraps of the beautiful Alexander Henry Regent Skull. I used it to back this quilt for my brother, and we used almost every bit of what remained in my stash for Ron's quilt.
We spent a few weeks sewing together many, many half square triangles and then spent hours and hours squaring them up. We laid the quilt out on my studio floor last Sunday, it took quite a while. It felt like a game of Tetris, trying to figure out where everything fit and make sure that all of our points were facing the right way. 

Laying out all the stars
During the week I pieced together a few sections of the quilt, and Robin made the last half square triangles and star centers that we needed to complete the top and add a few stars to the back of the quilt.

a small section that I completed during the week
On Friday night Robin came over to my house around 10 p.m. (after I finished babysitting for a friend) and we started sewing. I continued piecing the top together and she put together two clumps of stars for the back of the quilt and finished the quilt back with Kona Medium Gray.

Stars on the back of the quilt
We like to listen to a podcast or a stand up comedy special while we sew and here is a list of everything we listened to Friday night.

Paul Mooney: It's the End of the World
Paul Mooney: Analyzing White America
Brian Regan: The Epitome of Hyperbole
Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale
Nick Swardson: Seriously, Who Farted?
John Pinette: I'm Starvin'
The Hangover
Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts

If that seems like a lot to listen to in one night, that is because we sewed this quilt until 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning! There was no time for sleep, we showered and gathered up our things and headed off to start the quilting process.

I'm quilting this with straight lines on the long arm machine.
We pay by the hour to rent time on a long arm quilting machine at a woman's house. She is there to help us thread the machine, help us fix any mistakes and answer any questions we have. But we are getting better at figuring out how to fix our own mistakes and help each other get the quilting finished.

partially quilted
Robin and I decided to quilt this with straight lines. The spaces between the lines vary in width, from a half inch (Robin's favorite) to an inch and a half. I like the dense quilting too, but it makes the process take longer.
I had the job of quilting and Robin was there to tie off my threads and pin down some rebellious seams that weren't ironed completely flat.

The quilt back
I wish I had more of this Regent Skull fabric

I am linking up to this fun festival on Canoe Ridge Creations.