Sunday, August 21, 2011


Amy and Tim open the quilt!
I've been wanting to make this quilt called "Shimmer" from the February 2004 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting for a long time (since the magazine debuted). Ben and I decided that it would be a good pattern to make as a wedding gift for Tim and Amy, and with a bit of a last-minute push, I was able to finish it in time.  Their wedding yesterday was beautiful (at least what I saw of it, when I wasn't rushing out with a screaming Jonah), and we gave them the quilt this morning. I hope they enjoy it for many, many years to come!
The full quilt (queen).

Close-up view of the quilt.
While I personally liked the pattern, I didn't much care for the color palette used in the magazine and decided to make it entirely out of batiks for a more contemporary look and feel.  I was able to make the entire quilt (except backing) from my stash, which was an added bonus and probably attests to my need to continue my fabric "diet."  The pattern itself was well written as it appeared in the magazine, though had I actually purchased fabrics following their materials list, I think I would have been a bit put off by the excess they wrote into the pattern (I was able to get nearly twice as many stars from the yardage they suggested).

I did my best to work within a color palette of blues, purples, blue-greens, and burgundies, and I'm guessing there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 or more different fabrics in the quilt, as most of the fabrics I used were fat quarter cuts.  I realized later on that I could have used some left over jelly roll strips, as some of the units were based on a 2.5" grid.

The label, using a bit of leftover fabric to tie to the design of the front.
While I normally choose a cotton batting, I opted to use wool this time and may be a convert, as the loft and feel is nice.  In this case, there wasn't a huge difference in price due to the size of the quilt and the widths in which the battings are sold.

I have four extra blocks left over (they are large, at 19" square) that I plan to sew up into a separate project, perhaps for one of the handmade gifts I promised in a Facebook challenge earlier this year. We'll see whether I can bear to part with them.

Wishing Tim and Amy many, many years of happiness!

Friday, August 5, 2011


The full quilt.  Isn't Ben doing a great job holding it up?
My nephew Grant turned two late last month and I made him Convoy as a new "big boy" quilt (I made one at the time he was born too).  The pattern is from The Buggy Barn book "Those Crazy Kids" and when I saw Lisa Garms' completed quilt, I'd known it would make a great quilt for one of my nephews. I picked up the supplies and pattern not long after Grant was born, using gift certificates that Mom and I received from a quilt shop hop to help offset the costs of the supplies.
Given that I have much less time to quilt these days, I began work on the top during the Door County quilt retreat I attended in March. I liked the pattern a lot in that it involved a fair amount of piecing, and the Buggy Barn instructions were excellent, as usual.  It was a bit down to the wire, but I dropped off the top to have it quilted at the end of June (I had made a reservation for the quilting; I'd wanted to have a fun pantograph used on it and I'm only up to meandering on my own frame). I sewed the binding down while on the drive to Ohio for Grant's birthday party and the label was applied at Mom and Dad's house after we arrived there.
Detail view #1.

Detail view #2

The label Ben designed.

Those who know me well might have been surprised that I chose to make this pattern, as applique of any sort really isn't my thing. That being said, there are an awful lot of really cute patterns for kids that feature applique, so I figure I'm going to continue to work on my skills in that area and push myself to the limits of my comfort zone. I don't intend to become an expert needle-turn appliquer, but hope to at least be somewhat competent at machine applique.

Happy birthday, Grant! I hope you love your quilt!  (And I'd best think about getting your big brother a "big boy" quilt lest he become too jealous!)

The birthday boy with his quilt.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Slide Show

Slide Show quilt, completed for West Suburban
Quilters' Guild charity challenge.
I was undecided about completing a charity quilt for this month's quilt guild meeting.  We've been given a fat quarter of fabric at the September meeting and were told to incorporate it in our finished product. I wasn't particularly fond of mine and also was afraid to commit myself to completing a project because it's more difficult to calculate how much free time I might have these days. 

Around about the 2nd, I decided to fiddle around in my stash and patterns to see what I could come up with. I figured if I chose something simple and worked with what I had, I might be able to get it done in time.  I told myself I wouldn't stress myself out about getting it done, but would do my best (more on that later).

I opted to use Atkinson Designs' pattern, Slide Show because it was simple and I was able to pull everything but the backing and border from my stash. The top went together really quickly and I ran into the quilt shop on a weeknight after work to pick out the border and backing fabric. I wasn't totally in love with it, but it was the best I could do in the time I'd allotted and with a husband and infant in tow! I loaded it on my frame last Saturday night and thought I was pretty good to go, but suffered a bit of a setback when I discovered I had to rip out the majority of a row of quilting due to tension problems.

At that point, I didn't think there would be any way that I could finish a charity quilt in time for last night's guild meeting.  I had a number of other commitments and didn't want to stress myself out too badly.  However, I was so close to being able to finish that I couldn't stand it.  I stayed up just a bit later, had Ben watch Jonah himself a bit longer, washed the quilt to try to hide some of the needle holes from the stitching I had to rip out, etc. and was able to drop the quilt off with Kelli on Tuesday night because I wasn't able to go to the guild meeting last night myself.  I'm sad I wasn't able to see what others did with the challenge fabrics (mine was the multicolored print in the lower left hand of the photo below), but am hopeful that images will be posted to the guild site.

My challenge fabric was the multicolored print in the lower left.
As usual, the Atkinson Designs pattern was well-written, easy to follow, and a pleasure to sew.  It was a great way to do a bit of stash busting too! Hopefully the recipient loves this quilt and feels its warmth in more ways than one.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I'm beginning to figure out how to manage time for sewing in addition to caring for little Jonah, working, and doing all of the other things adults have to do.  I have a number of works in progress that I should be able to blog about soon, but I'm very excited to share this quilt because it is one that I pretty much began (and finished!) this year and it's also the first non-practice quilt that I quilted on my own quilting machine!  Granted, I just quilted it with a meander, but still, it's a learning curve to switch from the domestic sewing machine to the midarm (plus, I had to sew the darned leaders for the machine, which definitely did not motivate me)!

The full quilt.  I really love white quilts and bright colored bindings!

The quilt I just finished is called Confetti, from the book Four Patch Frolic by Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson of Me and My Sister Designs.  The pattern was sized a bit larger than what I wanted for a baby quilt, so I just bought two charm packs and sized it to a more baby-ish size (44"x53"), using their fabric line, Dilly Dally.  I quilted it with white thread on top and bottom.

Close up showing some of the quilting.

This quilt is set to go out in tomorrow's mail to a new baby, born Jan. 3 (only 2 months late, but better late than never, right??).  Hopefully she enjoys it!!!

Here's some video Ben captured when I first tried the quilting machine on a test quilt sandwich. Looking forward to doing more soon!