Months ago I started to make a memory quilt for my friend Susie. Her husband passed away in September of 2018 and some months later she gave me a stack of his shirts to make a quilt with. I first posted here about this project if you want to see earlier pictures.
Yesterday I had lunch with Susie and (finally) gave her the quilt. She is really happy to have it and I am hoping she enjoys snuggling up with her quilt and a good book now that cooler weather is upon us. I think it finished at about 65 x 75″ so that is a nice size.
This quilt is rustic and cozy. Because all of the shirts were plaids, I chose to make each four patch block with a solid (from various pairs of shorts) and a plaid. The shirts were Rick’s favorites and he had worn some of them quite a bit. This made it nearly impossible to get a straight cut on the plaids. But I didn’t worry about it. This is a memory quilt and it will serve its purpose well.
My favorite part of the quilt is the red flannel that was used as the border and for the two red heart appliqués. The fabric was taken from Rick’s bathrobe and it frames the quilt perfectly. I love the deep red color. The binding is a soft creamy flannel that is in the shop. It seemed to be just the right choice with that rich red border. It complements the pale green gingham backing too.
I don’t know the name (or if there is a name) for this pattern I quilted on the four patch blocks. I quilted a diagonal line and then swooped up one side and down the other creating a leaf shape. It was so easy to do and it looks pretty. I first started with a free motion foot and had a heck of a time getting across the main intersection of the four patch. It made me crazy that I couldn’t get over that point without jumping all over the place. When I finally made the switch to the walking foot, it was just a breeze. I didn’t even think of that in the beginning but this design works really well with a walking foot.
I rarely remember to label quilts but I did put one on the back of this quilt. My handwriting isn’t the best but I am glad I labeled it.
There are some tucks on the backing that really gave me trouble. Other than that, this was a wonderful project and I enjoyed making it. I hope Susie takes comfort in it and loves having the quilt as reminder of her many happy years with Rick.
Over the past two years or so, I lost contact with my friend Susie. We used to take long walks together, never running out of chit-chat. We both really enjoyed it but life got so that we fell out of the routine. In January of this year, I contacted her about a volunteer commitment we both work on and she told me her husband had recently passed away of lung cancer. I didn’t even know Rick had been ill. I felt awful that we had lost touch and I hadn’t been around to support her during his very serious illness. I know all too well how important it is to have friends helping you during such a dark, painful time.
We got together a couple of times soon after and I offered to make a quilt for her with Rick’s clothes, whenever she thought she would be ready to part with some of his shirts. About a month later, she brought me a large bag containing his bathrobe, some shirts and shorts. We took a look at everything and talked about whether she was ok with me cutting them up. Then we looked at different quilts I had pinned to a memory quilt board on Pinterest. She was drawn to a simple four patch block with sashing. Easy enough to make! Susie also asked if I would include two photos of her with Rick she had printed on fabric. I haven’t used that sort of thing before but of course I was happy to add them to a block.
Looking at the collection of shirts and shorts, it seemed best to use the two pairs of solid blue shorts and then two plaids for each four patch. Susie looked in the shop downstairs and chose a very neutral textured solid for the sashing and border.
Working with clothing that has been worn is a bit tricky. Susie chose the items Rick favored most because she had the sweetest memories of him in those shirts or shorts. Of course this means some of them were well worn. I wish I could remember who it was, but on Instagram, a nice quilter reminded me to back any thin fabrics with a stabilizer of sorts. This was perfect. I fused a woven interfacing to the back of some of the chunks of fabric before I cut the strips. Once that was done, I cut 3 1/2″ strips wherever I could. Then made strip sets and sliced them up to make the four patch blocks.
The next step was to create two blocks where I could utilize the pictures of Rick and Susie. I wasn’t really sure how to do this? The fabric they were printed on seemed to fray easily so I didn’t want to stitch a border directly to the printed piece. Instead I chose to fuse the photo to a square cut from the neutral sashing fabric. After fusing it (with each edge pressed under to create a clean look) I topstitched around the perimeter.
I think that worked quite well. One limiting factor was the shorts I used as a solid. I ran out of that fabric with two blocks to go. What to do? I decided to cut two more plain blocks from the sashing fabric. Then I took bits of the flannel bathrobe and cut two hearts from it. Those were fused to the background squares and appliquéd to the fabric. They look very cute and I like the pop of the deep red plaid.
Finally, we agreed the red plaid flannel robe would be the perfect outer border. I really love how the red flannel gives a cozy and rustic look to the quilt top.
The quilt top measures roughly 60″ x 70″ which should be perfect for my very tiny friend. Now I need to choose a backing and get it basted. This is the type of project I really enjoy. It holds meaning and comfort for my friend. I really regret not having made something like this when Mark – my first husband – died in 1994. I was overwhelmed with being widowed, single parenting my boys etc. Sewing was not at the forefront of my mind – in fact I didn’t really sew for many years after that. Making this for Susie is very satisfying. I am really looking forward to quilting it up so she can enjoy it. September will mark the one year anniversary of Rick’s death and I want to be sure she has this before then.
Linking to my usual spots – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
Watch for a special post coming up on Friday!! Until then, to my US readers, have a wonderful Fourth of July holiday! Also, I have a fantastic giveaway happening today and tomorrow over on my Instagram feed. Be sure to check it out. 🙂
My newest daughter-in-law has a December birthday, just a few days before Christmas actually. This year I decided to make her a quilt. Some time back, I had given Ian a lap quilt for their couch but thought it would be fun to make a Christmasy quilt for Shar to use in winter months.
The cute white square is from the Pixie Noel line.
The plan was built around the need for a quick quilt and this cute package of Pixie Noel charms I won in a giveaway several years ago over at Silly Mama Quilts. It was not the complete set so I think I had about 20 or so charms.
I hunted through my holiday scraps and cut about 200 charms so I would have plenty to play with. (I have soooo many holiday scraps!). I wanted to make it a bit less traditional in color so I used a lot of blue and white.
Being a simple patchwork, the top came together quickly. Then it sat for a while because I had a flurry of holiday orders to sew for my shop.
I decided to back it with a soft flannel to make it really cozy. I think this is the first time I backed a quilt with flannel but I like how soft it is. Julia really liked it too and requested the next quilt I make for her be flannel backed too. The wintry blue color worked well with the front.
It has been a long while since I free motion quilted anything and jeez, I was so rusty. This simple stipple was so awkward. Definitely showed me the need to practice more – my hands were not at all cooperative!! Now that it is washed and crinkled, it looks better but still…. I intentionally used a very large stipple so it would stay very soft.
Given the choice, I will often opt for a bias stripe binding. I love this one!! It looks just like a candy peppermint stick.
At this point in the year, I suspect this will be my last quilt finish. There is a slim chance I will get my Fireburst quilt top finished but not for sure. We shall see! I am working on a few things for my grand daughter that I hope to bring her when we go to Vermont the last week of December. So it just depends on how much time there is…… December’s days require more than the 24 hours we are given. There is always so much to do!!
The release of Modern Plus Sign Quilts, written by Paige Alexander and Cheryl Brickey is being celebrated with a blog hop this week and next. I am so happy to take part in celebrating this book. I have long been a fan of plus quilts and made one a while back. I called it Positively Floating and you can see it here. Adding a book devoted to modern interpretations of plus quilts is the perfect thing for my collection of quilting books.
There are a couple of things I really appreciate about this book. One is the ease of most of the patterns Paige and Cheryl designed. I am not usually one for fussy quilts with tons of pieces to cut and points to match up. While there are some advanced, challenging patterns in the book, there are also lots of options for simpler designs. Also, there is a nice write up on the history of plus quilts which I really enjoyed. Finally, with many of the patterns, the authors included an illustration of a suggested layout for cutting the pieces such that you get the most out of the fabric needed. This is really helpful for me as I just don’t have a strong ability to see spatial relationships and often (more often than you’d think) will cut my pieces and find I don’t have quite enough fabric. This is because I don’t always choose the most efficient cutting plan. Part of me attributes this to the fact that for years I sewed clothing, not quilts. Clothing patterns always show the best way to lay out the pieces on the fabric – so I never had to figure this out for myself. Anyway, I think this was a great addition to the quilt book and you don’t see it in many books that are published.
Let’s move on to the quilt I made. This is the pattern called Postage Plus. It is based on a postage stamp quilt (basically small patchwork) used to build the plus. The oversized plus is set into a bold pattern of stripes. This gives a very modern result. The book shows a quilt with a gray and white background which is looked really clean. When I chose to make this pattern, it was so I could use up an older Moda jelly roll that I purchased from a destash last year over at Academic Quilter. Using strip piecing with a jelly roll made this quilt a very simple project to assemble.
The quilt came together so quickly. I love using the stripes to bring out the brown and green shades in the patchwork. The colors make me think of ice cream for some reason. Lime sherbet or coffee ice cream, which would you choose? I would go for coffee ice cream every time!
You might notice I am sharing a quilt top, not a finished quilt. If you are a fan of Instagram, you probably saw the posts where I was unhappily removing a large amount of long arm quilting gone bad. Ugh! I took this quilt top and loaded it on a long arm at my friend’s house. For whatever reason, I couldn’t use her machine and obtain a good result. It just looked horrid. I am far from a perfectionist and will often leave issues such as wobbles, mistakes, or points that don’t quite work out in the quilt. (Maybe I am too lazy to fix things like this). But this was bad. Even the lazy quilter in me couldn’t just ignore it. So I stopped, after quilting about 25% of the top, removed it from the frame, took it home and unpicked it. Really, it wasn’t too awful a task and I am happy I fixed this.
I am eager to load it on the machine at the same shop where I have been renting time. I have an appointment on Friday of this week and will be able to quilt this up then. Off topic here, but take a look at the blue skies we enjoyed yesterday. It was a gorgeous day and I am lucky to have taken photos then. Today it is fierce, pouring rain – not a day to be outside. Sure changed dramatically over night!
In closing, I strongly recommend Modern Plus Quilts. The book is top notch with creative patterns of varied complexity , nice tips and clear information – a book well done. The blog hop goes on all of this week and through next week. Paige and Cheryl are offering giveaways each day so be sure to hop over there and enter the giveaways. Lots of fun happening in blogland these days!
It has cooled off significantly and summer has definitely come to an end. Julia is back to school and homework has begun in full force. This change in routine has been happening in our house for 27 years now, since my eldest started school back in 1990. That is a lot of back to school shopping, first day of school pictures, and back to school nights over the years.
I have mentioned I have five sisters and between us we have 21 children. All of these kids but Julia have either graduated college or are in college now. California kids are fortunate to have a lot of universities to apply to and many of those are on the long stretch of coast that runs up and down the western side of the state. In fact, of the 21 grandchildren, only five selected universities that were not on, or very near, the beach. My three older kids went to school either in San Diego or in San Luis Obsipo, both coastal areas. I think after growing up in the mountains, the three boys loved the change of moving to the coast. For several years, back to school meant waving the boys off as they headed toward the coast (lucky guys all three!)
When Island Batik sent me a 1/2 yard bundle of their collection called Seas the Day, it made me think of our gorgeous coastline. This line features starfish, boat anchors, sand dollars, lobsters, rope and netting and the most wonderful blue and green watery prints. The Island Batik ambassadors were asked to make anything we like as long as it was larger than 36″ square so we could really showcase the beautiful fabric. Thinking about it for just a bit, I decided to go with a large patchwork quilt, one big enough a college kid could easily take it to one of those tiny dorm rooms along our Pacific coast.
I cut 8 1/2″ squares and started to lay them out. The prints are so fun but it needed something else. I saw a large patchwork quilt made by Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter, and she added a few saw tooth star blocks to it for a little something extra. She has a great tutorial for saw tooth star blocks on her blog which was helpful. Click here for Amy’s Sawtooth Star tutorial. The great part is she maps out the cuts you need to do for multiple size stars which made it really quick to make a number of them. I really like the look of sprinkling a few star blocks in varying sizes to the mix. Isn’t the little four inch star up at the top, right corner a cute one?
For the largest star, I bordered it in orange to set it off. The narrow orange frame works well.
As I mentioned in my last post, I took this to the local long arm shop (well, sort of local – it is a 45 minute drive from here!) and rented time on a machine to quilt it. After a little refresher course on how to use the machine, I got into quilting it up. I did simple spirals and a few loops as an all over design.
In all honesty, I completely forgot how difficult it can be to get a nice round spiral with the long arm. If I don’t go relatively fast, the spirals elongate and become ovals. Since I have not had a lot of practice, I don’t feel comfortable moving quickly because it takes me time to plan my path as I go. The oval shapes don’t bother me though. I like the quilting for the most part. It was so much fun and sooooo much quicker to quilt it on the long arm.
For the backing, I used two pieces of yardage provided by Island Batik – neither was quite large enough to back it as one piece but by using them together, I had plenty. I used the rest of the brown print to bind the quilt as well.
Seas the Day – by Island Batik
I am a big fan of batiks and love the look of this quilt. It probably won’t go off to college with anyone but it sure makes me think of our gorgeous coastline! If you would like to have your own bundle of these batiks, I might just be able to make to make that happen! I have a set of fat quarters which includes most of the prints. I didn’t have exactly of all of them left after making this quilt but there are quite a few to share with one lucky winner.
Most of these cuts (26 pieces in all) are fat quarters. Maybe four or five are standard 1/4 yard cuts, depending on how I used the piece. A few may be just shy of being a fat quarter? But there is a lot of fabric here, probably over six yards altogether.
Island Batik Seas the Day stack
To win this coastal lover’s bundle, please leave a comment and tell me if you prefer the coast or the mountains on a vacation getaway. For a second entry, please follow me — lots of choices on how to follow. There are buttons at the upper right for my social media platforms. Or, sign up to receive my newsletter, also at the upper right. Just tell me how you follow!
Thank you to Island Batik for this generous gift of fabric. I love the quilt I made and I am sure the lucky winner of the remaining fat quarters will make something gorgeous as well!
Linking to my favorites. Check the list at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
It’s finished! The bed in my sewing room is currently sporting a gorgeous quilt made of vintage sheets that I have collected, thrifted and received as gifts over the past two years. I love it and the springlike, feminine look it brings to the sewing room. I am calling this one “Romantical” which is how one loyal reader described it when I posted last week. What a cute word.
Quilting this went so fast since I did straight line quilting on both diagonals of the quilt. Because I was stitching across seven inch squares, it was not a problem to just eyeball it. No marking made for very fast stitching. For a short time I considered quilting only one of the diagonals. But it was finished so fast and quickly became evident that it really wanted to be quilted in both directions.
After receiving such helpful input on selecting the binding via comments on last week’s post, I went with the pink striped binding. I debated cutting the binding strips on the bias since I had enough fabric to do so. But that would have created some waste so I decided against it. Look at it though! It looks great, especially next to the squares of the same fabric. I had another one of those fortunate occurrences when the fabrics line up just so, as though I worked diligently to make it happen. But you and I both know me better than that. Happy coincidence!
Do you see the sweet backing I used? It was a queen size flat sheet that was brand new. The little floral is so pretty and works well with the binding too.
My quilt model and I went outside to take some photos. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was a bit too bright. The pictures are fun even though the colors of the quilt look a bit washed out.
My model was in rare form so I took advantage.
This was such a simple and satisfying project. Having a quick finish like this has left me in the mood to tackle something that takes a bit more thought. My nephew is getting married in September so I think a quilt is in order for him and his bride. I have a couple of months to work on it which is plenty of time. I have two stacks of fabric pulled and I keep deliberating between them. I’ll show you the pull once I make some decisions.
Thanks to all who left comments on yesterday’s post about social media. It made for good discussion. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, check it out and let me know your thoughts.
Linking today with my favorites, Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Links to both can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
For the past several years I have kept my eye peeled, looking for vintage cotton/polyester blend sheets. They show up now and then in thrift stores. It takes some time to build up a collection because many of the pieces that are available are too worn to use. But if you are patient, it is possible to find pieces that are in new (still in the packaging) or like new condition.
My collection has finally grown to the point where I had enough variety to make a large quilt with it. The photo above shows the majority of my collection less just a few pieces that I bought after taking the picture. (By the way, if you are a lover of vintage sheets, I have many listed in my Etsy shop. Take a look.) I was a bit concerned that I didn’t have enough change in value with these pieces but it has worked out well. The overall look is very soft and feminine. I decided I would make a simple patchwork quilt, which is definitely my overall favorite quilt. I originally cut 9″ squares but they looked way too big so I trimmed them down to 7″ squares, a much better size. Created some waste but I am glad I cut them down. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen some pictures of this project in process.
It was quite a feat to lay them out and get the balance that I wanted. At first I tried to just generally group the squares by colorway and make it flow. That didn’t work. The colors are not defined, or saturated, enough to get a good result. Picking up the squares and trying again, I organized them into diagonal rows with the same fabric in each row but still sorting by color. This was much more effective and it was the look I liked best.
This picture was my guide so I could be sure I was sewing patches together in the correct order.
It really didn’t take very long to get the top assembled. Once I did, I decided I would also make matching pillow cases for the quilt. (I used a very simple pattern from the book Home Sewn that I reviewed last week.)
The bed is going to be so pretty when this is finished. Not sure if you remember but I also made a few throw pillows last summer and they use many of the same fabrics. What do you think?
This quilt is a bit of a monster. I’ve only ever quilted one other queen size quilt and it wasn’t easy. I think I will quilt this with my walking foot and do straight lines on the diagonal, running both directions. That should be a manageable approach.
Julia was so kind as to help me layer this on the floor. It was much easier than doing it alone. I had a brand new sheet that I saved to use as the backing making this an incredibly affordable quilt.
At this point, I have a quilt top finished, basted and ready to go. Hopefully, I will get it done soon as I want to put it back on the bed! Want to throw in a vote for binding? I am thinking of using the pink stripe that I used for the pillow cases. What do you think?
Linking to my favorites this week. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
Over the years, I have collected some very pretty quilts. Each has a great deal of sentimental value to me for different reasons. Today I want to share one of them with you.
This quilt was given to me as a gift by some very sweet friends. In the early 1990’s we lived in State College, Pennsylvania for two years. When we were moving back to California, our friends, John and Lois, came by early in the morning the day before we left. Knowing that I had a love of quilts, they brought me a quilt they purchased on a trip through the Appalachian Mountains.
This very traditional quilt is large enough for a queen size bed. Over the years we have enjoyed this quilt so much. It has become very faded and thin and has a few ink stains on it but it still has years and years of use left.
As each quilt always does, our bear claw quilt has its own special charm. Part of what makes it charming is the simplicity of the fabrics that were used to make it as well as the very simple hand quilting. More than that though, are the mistakes made by the quilter! It makes me smile every time I look at this claw that is pointing the wrong way. (The blue spot on the sashing is the ink stain I mentioned.)
There is another mistake, one that seems more likely to be missed by the quilter than a whole block pointing the wrong way. Take a look at this poor bear’s toe. Ouch.
Our quilt is so sweet and filled with its own unique character. The sashing and borders are a very simple muslin, lots of the points are cut off, some of the blocks are topsy-turvy but it has been a special part of our family for over 20 years. Right now it lives on our bed in the Downieville house, keeping us cozy until I make the Dear Stella quilt.
Linking to Jen at Quarter Inch From the Edge as well as Let’s Bee Social.
I finished the first of the two extra long twin bed quilts that I am making for Julia’s room in Downieville. It is simple and so cozy. Green (my favorite), purple and tan are the colors and most of the prints feature florals and hummingbirds, plus one abstract print of mountains. This is the perfect theme for a quilt that will live in a house along the river, in the mountains.
This quilt is a bit of a beast to photograph; with 10″ blocks, it finished at 70″ x 100″. You can see that I quilted straight lines along all seams, two inches in. I marked most of the lines with a chalk marker which made it very easy to quilt.
It is backed in a violet fabric with a scroll print. I bound it in the same fabric. It is a piece from Jo-Ann’s that Julia chose.
I have just enough of the backing left over to make a pillow case which will finish things off nicely. I am looking forward to taking the quilt up to Downieville. I will be up there this afternoon to work on the opportunity quilt for the guild. What is better than an afternoon of sewing? We have had spring-like weather here and my daffodils are all ready to bloom. It is a nice break but we need to get back to winter and a lot more rain. Hopefully soon!
What are you working on? Tell me in the comments!
Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Finish It Up Friday. Links to these sites, and more, are found at the top of the page under Link Ups.
Some months ago, I bought yardage to make two quilts for the twin beds up at the Downieville house. Currently those beds are just lovely, piled high with old blankets and sleeping bags. Ugh. I had been sketching and playing with different ideas for these quilts until I realized that I wanted the quilts to be finished. Done, not sketched. Usable, not being planned. Know what I mean?
I pulled the fabric and washed it all.
Then I added a few more scraps from my purples and greens.
Working swiftly, I cut piles of 10.5″ blocks. Here is where some planning would have come in handy! The fabrics are all 42″ wide so once I squared the fabric, I was able to cut three blocks and then ended up with a nine-inch piece. I should have made the blocks an inch smaller and I would have utilized the yardage far more efficiently. I now have a stack of 9″ scraps. My plan is to make the second quilt with smaller squares or to frame those 9″ blocks and bring them up to 10.5″. Not sure yet.
I laid them out on the spare bed and started sewing. I put very little thought into which square went where, obviously trying to not put any of the same side by side. It is seven blocks wide by 10 blocks high, so measures 70×100″. It is oversized because the beds are extra long twins and Julia said she wanted the quilts to be really big. (She must be pretty cold, sleeping downstairs!)
The colors look a bit washed out as the sun was so bright. I took this out at our gazebo on the pond. We have this pond on the edge of our property. The water level is steadily increasing with all of the welcome rain we have had. Winter is harsh and the berm along the edge is not very green at this time of year.
I have a simple purple print for the backing and binding. But first, I need to wash and prepare it. My plan is to get it sandwiched, quilted and bound in the next week. Then I will start the second one. At least one bed will look decent!
There is something to be said for a simple, get-it-done project.
Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Let’s Bee Social this week!