A Quilt for Baby Clare

A Quilt for Clare

[Yes that’s a quilt on a quilt. Kind of like sewing Inception.]

A coworker and his wife welcomed a baby girl on Valentine’s Day, and I wanted to make them a little quilt as a gift. Unfortunately, I think I may have overestimated my post-baby free time… This quilt, which I would normally be able to crank out in a weekend, was completed in fits and starts over about eight weeks. So glad to finally put the last stitch in!

A Quilt for Clare

Materials: Front – charm pack of ‘Good Fortune’ by Kate Spain, white quilter’s cotton; Back – ‘Farmdale Blossom’ by Alexander Henry, selections from solids charm pack; Binding – grey quilter’s cotton

A Quilt for Clare

A Quilt for Clare

It’s always fun to personalize, especially when you get to use a Husqvarna Viking for the appliqué. Unfortunately, it was only borrowed. Sort of like renting a Ferrari for the weekend. That machine is a-ma-zing! Fortunately it’s my mom’s, so I have the opportunity to borrow it from time to time…

A Quilt for Clare

Since babies are pretty much the best photo prop, here are a few shots of E doing some rigorous quality testing. Thanks, boo.

A Quilt for Clare

A Quilt for Clare

Now I’m set to make a quilt for E… nap-willing, of course. I’m thinking about a more involved version of my train quilt, with a lot of fussy cutting and a circus theme. By my calculations (zero free time – two broken machines + need to buy a new one) it should be complete roughly in time for his high school graduation!

I’ve never been so happy to have no time to sew 🙂


First FO of 2013

I found myself overdue and without anything to do this past Sunday, so I finished up a quilt whose top was completed back in June of 2011. If not for flickr, I would have deluded myself into thinking that I started this quilt sometime last year.

Finished Hope Valley Quilt

Here’s my original post on this quilt, which goes into detail about the pattern and the modifications I used.

Finished Hope Valley Quilt

I finished it up with a scrap of batting and an IKEA sheet for the back and binding. To keep it as simple as possible, I opted for quick and easy all over stippling. I had toyed with the idea of straight line quilting, but I’m just a sucker for the warm, crinkly, inviting look of free motion.

Finished Hope Valley Quilt

The best quilt pictures always have excellent models. Fortunately, Leela was happy to oblige.

Finished Hope Valley Quilt, Modeled

Finished Hope Valley Quilt, Modeled

Finished Hope Valley Quilt, Modeled

Finished Hope Valley Quilt, Modeled

Still on baby watch… but the silver lining is that it gave me the opportunity to squeeze one last quilt in under the offspring deadline!

Under the Sea

I found out recently that the hospital where baby boy will be making his debut offers photography on site to capture a few quality photos before we head home. Usually I’m a huge shutterbug, but it’s a big relief to know that I won’t have to stress about getting a really great photo while we’re there.

The photography service recommends bringing a special blanket of some kind for the photo shoot. I realized that I’d need to throw something together if I didn’t want to bring the R2D2 quilt to the hospital with us. Luckily I had a charm pack, a little bit of backing yardage, solid white and a large enough scrap of batting on hand. I used them to put together this little car seat quilt in a weekend. It’s a great size for a newborn, and will be useful later to tie on to his seat to ward off the winter chill.

Carrier Quilt

Pattern: Sophie Car Seat Quilt (free from the Moda Bake Shop)

Fabric: Moda’s ‘Odyssea’

Carrier Quilt

Along with his first hat, I think it will make for some great pictures.

There is a little embroidered label on the back, but it’s personalized so I won’t share it quite yet. We’re keeping his name under wraps until delivery day!

Carrier Quilt

In other news, the Lizzy House fabric that I had picked out for curtains has had its release date pushed back to January… necessitating a plan B. I searched high and low and finally settled on this molecule print from spoonflower. Not cheap, but I actually like it better than the print I had originally set my heart on.

Curtain Fabric

I’ll be making a roman shade for the nursery’s one window, as well as full length curtains to replace the metal doors on the closet. It will be great to have this last item ticked off of the list for the baby’s room! Can’t wait to share some pictures of the finished nursery.

This is not the quilt you’re looking for

What on earth… ?

R2D2 Folded

Ok, here’s a hint or two. (Bonus points if you know what the guy on the right is.) Still not sure?

R2D2 and Rancor

Beep boopboop beep.

R2D2 Baby Quilt

This is the first project for our little padawan’s Star Wars themed nursery!

Dimensions: 36” x 48”

Fabrics: Calicos and solids from JoAnn Fabrics

Pattern: I wish! Made up as I went along.

There’s a whole lot happening on the front, so I decided to keep the back very basic. Love this Denyse Schmidt dot print from JoAnn Fabrics.

R2D2 Baby Quilt

Originally  I wanted to embroider the back by hand, but after finishing the first word I wasn’t fully happy with it. Instead, I used my machine’s basic zigzag stitch. It’s a little wonky, but I think that adds to the charm.

R2D2 Baby Quilt Embroidery

I’m really happy with how this quilt finished up, and it’s given me a lot of confidence in our unconventional choice of theme.

R2D2 Baby Quilt

Here’s a few pictures of the process. Basically I printed up a bunch of pictures and winged it from there.

R2D2 Progress

It’s been a long time since I made something up from scratch, and it was a bit of a struggle. Apparently my version of ‘pregnancy brain’ is a complete inability to properly use fractions. Lots of ripping out, lots of re-cutting… but worth it in the end!

R2D2 Progress

I love this picture: inspiration in the upper right, and carnage in the lower right.R2D2 Progress

Off to work on the next nursery project! I have a feeling that this is going to be a lot of fun…

Finished Retirement Quilt

This lap quilt was a retirement gift for a wonderful friend I was lucky enough to work with in my last job. It’s a bit hard to see in this photo, but it’s covered with well wishes from her friends and colleagues from her 28 years with our company. It’s a fitting tribute for someone who has touched so many lives with her warmth and quick wit.

Signature Quilt, Front

The idea for a signature quilt came to me months ago, but I couldn’t settle on the perfect pattern. That is, until one of the Philly Modern Quilt Guild members brought this quilt to a meeting. With it’s negative space, ‘Birdbath’ was a perfect fit.

Signature Quilt

Pattern: ‘Birdbath’ by Elizabeth Hartman

Fabric: Assorted aqua and brown prints

Dimensions: 49″ x 58″

To start, I e-mailed a blank block template with instructions to Pat’s friends and colleagues. They wrote messages on them, scanned the template, and e-mailed it back to me. No muss, no fuss. I thought briefly about sending out fabric squares and markers, but it would have been a logistical nightmare. Then I traced each message onto fabric by hand, the old fashioned way — taped to a window!

Signature Squares

There seem to be varying schools of thought among quilters on the ‘net as to what type of marker is best to use for this kind of project. I elected to go with an extra fine point Sharpie.

I was terrified to wash it the first time, but the messages only faded a bit. On a second wash, there was no discernable difference. Whew! As it’s a lap quilt, I don’t anticipate it being washed as often as, say, a bed quilt, so I’m confident that the messages will stand the test of time.

Here’s a closeup shot before washing…

Signature Quilt, Detail

… and another after washing. Still perfectly legible, trust me, even though the artsy lighting is washing it out.

Signature Quilt, Detail

It was really fun to see what everyone had to say. All wished her well, though some were a touch wistful while others were pretty damn funny.

Signature Quilt Blocks Signature Quilt Blocks

Once again, my homemade design wall came in very handy when laying out the blocks.

Signature Quilt, On the Design Wall Signature Quilt In Progress

For the back, I opted to deviate from the pattern as written. I had three extra messages that I centered in a white strip on the back. For the bottom strip, I cut scraps from the leftover prints and arranged them in a gradient. This is probably one of my favorite backs I’ve done to date.

Signature Quilt, Back

This was my first foray into straight line quilting. Usually my go-to method is stippling, but it could have made the messages difficult to read. I experimented with a few methods and settled on a suggestion from my husband. I quilted inside each ring using color matched thread. Because I can’t let anything be easy, I also matched the thread color to the back. The first few rows of blocks weren’t too hard, but once I got to the last two, I was changing thread for both the front and the back multiple times within each block. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but I wasn’t thrilled when it came to working in all those thread ends! I’m glad I put in the extra effort, though. The back looks just as finished as the front.

For the majority of the back, I used a wildly appropriate aqua and brown octagon print. Couldn’t have asked for a better match!

Signature Quilt, Back Fabric Detail

Here’s a shot of the recipient when we gave her the quilt. She was so touched!

Retirement Party

I spent about a month on this quilt, sewing while I was home between trips. Hardly seemed like work — it was a pleasure to make something I knew would really be appreciated.

Signature Quilt, Folded

Wishing you the best in your retirement, Pat!

And because no quilt post is complete without a hammy hubby cameo…

Signature Quilt, Back

Innocent Crush Canasta

Innocent Crush Canasta Quilt
Completed: January 15, 2012
Dimensions: 72″ x 96″ (twin)
Pattern: Canasta Quilt by Oh, Fransson!

I’m so excited to finally be able to post this quilt! It was a gift, so it had to fly under the radar for quite some time.

For the front, I used a mustard Amy Butler print and eleven prints from Anna Maria Horner’s ‘Innocent Crush’ line. It wasn’t a line I was immediately drawn to when I first saw it, but it fit the recipient’s color palette — eggplant, gold, burnt orange. I used the same purple for the back and the binding, and quilted (surprise surprise) using free motion.

Innocent Crush Canasta Quilt, Folded

First I laid out all of my fabrics, grouping them into sets of two prints and one contrast solid. I used a white solid throughout as the neutral.

Auditioning Fabric Combinations

Then came the time consuming cutting…

A LOT of Strips!

Finally some sewing…

Making Progress

Each set of four fat quarters (one neutral solid, one contrast solid, and two prints) makes four blocks.

Set of Four Canasta Blocks

Mix ’em up, sew ’em all together, and you get a really fun, sort of bohemian-looking quilt.

Innocent Crush Canasta Quilt

When I finished piecing the top, I caved and brought my machine to be serviced for the first time in years. It came back in great shape — clean, shiny, lint-free and beautiful… but I could not get it to quilt the way it once had. My thread was breaking constantly. CONSTANTLY. To the point where I threw the whole thing in the corner of my sewing room to stew for a few weeks. I couldn’t even look at it.

After some extensive research online, I tried a few new needle and thread combinations, which helped a bit. I played with every setting on the machine. Tension up. Tension down. Stitch length. Anything and everything that I thought might help. Finally, sometime after Christmas, I wrestled my machine into submission and we’ve had an uneasy truce ever since. Still not 100% perfect, but I’m considering it a lesson in patience until I take the plunge and get a new machine.

Innocent Crush Canasta Quilt

I’ll admit that I second guessed my color palette many, many times during the making of this quilt. It wasn’t until I was actually quilting it that I really started to like it. There is something magical that happens when you start to stitch a whole quilt together… it just makes everything mesh. By the time I finished, it was more than a little hard to pack it up and ship it off. But I know it went to a great home with my lovely cousin Chloe!

Sneak Peek...

(Who knew the crappy stucco on the back of our townhouse could be so photogenic?)

Logan’s Train Quilt

I’m thrilled to present my first finished quilt of 2012! Logan's Train Quilt

Completed: January 5th

Look familiar? That might be because it’s based off of a quilt I made around Christmas 2009. A Quilt for Jake

Logan’s quilt was commissioned by a very nice lady at my husband’s work who had seen the original ‘Jake’ quilt on my flickr stream. Logan is her first grandchild, who is due to be born any day now. Normally I don’t think I’d be keen on duplicating a quilt, but this little train quilt is really a lot of fun to put together. Logan's Train Quilt

She requested that I use the same color scheme, but as this quilt is a scrap bin special, I had to substitute in a few similar fabrics this time around. I also used a diferent font — without serifs — for the lettering, just for my own sanity. Applique is not my speciality, and after attaching 35 wheels, I ran out of steam. Logan's Train Quilt, From An Angle

The original inspiration for this quilt came from this website, however the page seems to have been moved since I used it two years ago. Never fear — you can always check it out using the Wayback Machine.

Looking at the original, you’ll notice that mine is a bit different, because I made some changes (like adding in the flat cars for the letters) and mostly just eyeballed the pattern for measurements. My Favorite Locomotive

Here it is all wrapped up and ready to go. Best wishes for baby Logan’s arrival! Wrapped Up... Ad Ready To Go!

Hopefully someday I’ll be able to make a girly version of this quilt… I’m envisioning pinks, oranges and yellows with a circus-y theme.

Habitat Quilt Challenge Entry

Jay McCarroll paid the PMQG a visit back in June to announce a quilt block challenge featuring his newest line of quilting fabric, Habitat. And the winners are in! Check out the winning entries here.

While my block may not have won, I had a lot of fun designing it and hope to one day make a whole quilt out of it.

Habitat Challenge Quilt Block

These fabrics were great to work with, and I had no trouble getting inspired. Here’s a peek at my ‘design process’… The idea came from the feathers on a badminton birdie, no lie!

Design Process for Habitat Challenge Quilt Block

Finished Garden Under the Sea Quilt Top

Look familiar?

Garden Under the Sea, Folded

In a rush of inspiration, I finished what I’ve affectionately been calling ‘the mermaid quilt’. I love how well the different colorways of Heather Ross’s Mendocino play together. The end result is a beautiful quilt for a little girl that isn’t *too* girly. I especially love the pop from the orange and mustard prints.

Garden Under the Sea

Once again, this block is a great pattern from Hyacinth Quilts. I scaled it up to better accommodate the scale of the larger prints (finished block is 13″), and also omitted the sashing between the blocks. After looking at the blocks right next to each other for so long on my design wall, I just liked them better that way.

Garden Under the Sea

My husband’s funny face is legit this time… little bugs were divebombing while he held up the quilt. Thanks for being a trooper, honey!

Bothered by Pesky Bugs...

The things we do for love.