A finished quilt for ME!

I haven't finished a quilt that I intended to keep since.... 1997?   That was long, long before I found modern fabrics, flickr inspiration and my own design sense. 

Summer Quilt

I bought all of this Anna Maria Horner Little Folks voile a few years ago, but I didn't have the confidence yet to sew with voile.

Summer Quilt

I have never done hand stitching with perle cotton before and never used more than one color stitching in a quilt before.

Summer Quilt

I've never made anything so silky soft that I absolutely had to use it for naps and sleeping as soon as it was thread basted.  I really would leave the perle cotton thread in place, remove the needle, remove the Q snap frame and then go to sleep with it.  I would mentally carve out time in my day to take a nap with it.  

Summer Quilt

I've only splurged for bamboo batting for baby quilts...until now. 

Summer Quilt

The binding fabric is a denser weave quilter's cotton with a smoother but slightly heavier hand than Kona cotton.  I tried hand stitching the binding in back with invisible stitches and the voile just puckered like crazy.  So, I machine stitched it down and then added some accent hand stitching around the entire perimeter.

Summer Quilt

The backing is very tame compared to the front but all of the stitches show up nicely.  I really thought I'd be relieved to be done with all of the hand quilting.  Instead, I keep scanning the quilt with my eyes to make sure there isn't an excuse to haul out the perle cottons again. 

Summer Quilt

I had originally told Ben that this was my summer quilt and *only* mine.  He has since started a campaign of puppy dog eyes and not-so-subtle requests to share it "once in awhile."

(He has also dubbed the photo above as his "Hey Girl" picture.  As in, "Hey Girl, I'll hold your quilt up for pictures until my arms want to fall off and then I'll hug it close to me because it smells like you.  --R.G.")

Summer Quilt

(For size reference: my husband is standing on a chair in the backyard with his arms spread as wide and as high as he can manage without his noggin showing behind the quilt.  That's my lazy way of measuring a finished quilt.)

I really couldn't be happier with my summer quilt.  It is so dreamy that I am already considering another summer nap this afternoon.

Picnic Blanket

I finally have my first finished quilt for 2012!  (Yes, the end of July seems a bit late to brag about a first finish.)

This has vintage sheets, Moda solids, DS Quilts fabrics, Canning Day from Connecting Threads, Amy Butler Full Moon Dot, and some Pezzy prints.

picnic blanket

I've wanted to dig out some vintage fabrics and make one ever since my last picnic quilt.  For this version I used 72 ten inch squares of fabric for the top, a white thrifted sheet for the middle layer and a dark sheet from IKEA for the back.  The three layers of fabric give it a good solid weight and the sheets wash up really well in the laundry.

picnic blanket

This quilt is for a good friend who is getting married to her sweetheart this weekend.  Those two go on more picnics than anyone else I know (two to three times more than anyone I know).  They also go to the beach pretty often and picnic blanket is the perfect place to lay out on the beach.

picnic blanket

In the process of making the quilt, I trimmed about 4 inches of fabric from around the perimeter of the quilt.  Let's just say that there was an incident involving a basting pin and blood from my thumb which turned into a second incident of hydrogen peroxide to remove the blood making the purple dye from the backing bleed through to the front fabrics.  Grrr...

picnic blanket

I am pleased about the purple back.  It doesn't exactly match the front, but it doesn't clash.  It seemed like a nice dark color that wouldn't look muddy right after it was used for one picnic. 

picnic blanket

Of course, Henry thinks it belongs to him.  He tried to sit on it while Ben was trying to hold it up for pictures.  In fact, getting him to sit here and not roll around in the middle of it was quite a feat.

picnic blanket
I'm really happy with the binding and ties.  I was shopping for binding with Flaun and she talked me into the Flea Market Fancy green seeds instead of a solid that was kind of "eh".  But this green was just perfect with the green stitching I was using to quilt it.

If you've never made a picnic quilt I encourage you to try it.  I like to spread mine out in the shade on a hot summer day and then enjoy the feel of the cool, smooth sheet on my skin when I need a break from the sunshine.   The three layers are perfect for soaking up some of the moisture of a wet swimsuit without getting sand everywhere, too.  We put ours out for little babies at parties, we put toys and books on it for Henry to use when we are camping, and we use it for music nights at the park downtown.  I've even used it on the couch in summer for napping under and it was great for making a table fort for Henry.  If you have any other good ideas for uses for a picnic quilt, let me know.  I can pass on suggestions this weekend to the newlyweds.

Finding peace

I decided to hand quilt my voile quilt long before I had ever sewn any of the squares together.  Last summer I knew I wanted a quilt with voile for the front and back, bamboo blend for the batting and hand quilting to keep all of the layers soft and flowing.

And even though that decision had been made, I must admit that I dreaded the quilting part.  I have very weak wrists and thumbs and am limited in the handwork that I can do before I have too much pain and irritation to continue. 

hand quilting

Well, this story has a happy ending.  I have been so quiet here on the blog because I have been so so busy with this quilt.  I have been happily stitching away with relative ease.  I lay the quilt on the floor, and mark some lines with my 12" square ruler and Hera marker.  Then I click the quilt into my Q-Snap frame and sit on the floor with the frame propped up on my legs.  I use a leather sticky thimble on my right middle finger and right hand on top of the quilt with my left hand behind the quilt and I just stitch stitch stitch.  After I have one or two lines done, I start over again with the quilt on the floor to get a good look at what lines need to be done next.  Sure, it takes a lot of hours to complete.  But those hours are pretty lovely.  I get to admire some of the prettiest fabrics and the softest textures around and the needle slides through the fabric and batting like butter.  I now have a delightful rhythm and I rarely get tired of it.

I'm showing the back of this quilt after thread basting but before quilting.  This is just as a reference.  I have about four more hours of quilting left on this project and then it will be done!  I hope to post finished pictures tomorrow.

precious back

 I'm linking this post up with the My Precious QAL group and post at kelbysews

Four Corners Quilt Tutorial

square photo
The idea for this quilt tutorial came from one I made in February--the Four Corners Quilt.  I attempted a tutorial at that time, but it wasn't pretty. So, here I go again, aiming to do better.

First, I must point you to the link for jelly roll race quilt video.   That is where I started from.

Four Corners Quilt Tutorial   --   the quilt will finish at about 56" square.

  • Start with one jelly roll and one 8 inch square block of coordinating fabric.  Rearrange the jelly roll strips randomly.  Sew the strips end to end until you have one super super long strip.  

super long strip

  • Cut 15" off of one end of your crazy long strip of fabric. Place the two ends of the strip, right sides together and sew a 1/4" seam all the way down the length until you are 4" from the end. Snip your super long strip in half at this point and then continue your seam to the very end and cut your thread.


  • Now take your two-strips-wide piece and place the two ends together, right sides facing and, again, sew a 1/4" seam for the full length stopping 4" before the end to cut it in half again.  Complete the seam.


  • Keep sewing like this until you have a piece of sewn fabric that is 16 strips wide.  (The photo below is 8 strips wide.)  As you keep sewing the strips together, keep in mind that pooling color works well for this pattern. 


  • Press all seams until they lie flat on your 16 strip wide piece of fabric. 
  • Cut your 16 strip piece in four equal sections.  Trim the edges of each piece until you have four pieces that are 25" wide. 

cut in 4

  •  Now measure the length of your sections.  If you have perfect 1/4" seams for your 16 strips, your fabric piece will be 32 ½" wide.  Mine, however measures 32 inches.  This measurement is very important, so do this step carefully.


  • Since the center square is inset and we don't want to trim any fabric at the end, we have to carefully calculate the exact size of the square.  
          For a section measuring: 32 ½", cut an 8" square.
                                                   32 ¼", cut  a 7 ¾" square.
                                                   32", cut a 7 ½" square.
                                                   31 ¾", cut a 7 ¼" square.
                                                   31 ½", cut a 7" square.
                                                   31 ¼", cut a 6 ¾" square.
                                                   31", cut a 6 ½" square.
          My sections are 32" long, so my center square will be 7 ½".

  • Arrange your center square and your strip sections like this:


  • Sew the center block to section 1 leaving one inch open (see below).

center square

attach center square

  • Sew section 2 onto section 1 plus the center square.  Make sure this seam goes edge to edge.  I pinned before sewing.
2 on 1

  • Sew section 3 onto that and make sure this seam goes edge to edge.  Again, I pinned first.

  • Sew section 4 along the bottom edge of section 3 and the center square. 
4 on 3

  • Lastly, pin, pin, pin section 4 to the edge of section 1 and close up the seam along the edge of the center square.
      last seam 

  • Press your seams and you now have a finished quilt top!

Four Corners Quilt Tutorial

Four Corners Quilt

Let me know if you make a quilt using this tutorial. I'd love to see it!


Amy in the Cocorico Bee asked for blocks with an art studio theme for June.  

Art Studio Theme

Back before I quilted and before I knit, I was a potter.  In fact, I spent a good 16 years making pots.  I worked in a photo/wood/ceramics craft studio and I'd use the space after hours to throw to my heart's content.  I sold pottery at a few craft fairs and I taught some wheel throwing classes.  When I didn't teach or work in a studio, I took classes just to have access to a wheel and to glean any bits of knowledge that I could from the teacher.  I can't say that my skills grew very much that way.  But, it didn't matter to me.  I didn't need to make the biggest piece or fancy vase.  All I ever wanted to make was the perfect shaped bowl.  The amount of bowls I've thrown over the years is astronomical.  I was always searching for the perfect curve, just the right thickness, a good feel in two hands, and a strong earthiness while still being lifted and light.  I've gotten really close a few times, but I would still like to sit at a wheel to have a crack at it.  I still have a few pieces left.  Ones that weren't given away and didn't get broken.  But I miss throwing.  And as dusty and muddy and dirty pottery studios are, I miss the smell of it.  There is something very calming about physically centering a piece of clay that somehow centers the soul, too.  There is also something to making a big mess with a chunk of mud from the earth and then firing it until it glistens. 

Anyway, this block here is a representation of the pottery studio I used in my first year of college.  It was a long, narrow room with all of the wheels lined up along the wall and facing out over a big bank of windows.  I would stare at the beautiful trees on campus and the lake and the arboretum beyond.  I would be in there at all sorts of odd hours because I prefer to throw when no one else is around.  At the time I was super shy about showing any of the things I made  (that probably sounds hard to believe now).  Anyway, it is still my favorite studio I've ever worked in.  I hope you like the block, Amy.


I have not disappeared off the edge of the Earth.  It is just full-on summer here, complete with heat and visitors and water play.

must cool off with a good water fight

But there has been plenty of sewing, too.  Here is the landscape themed block for Lucinda in the Pastiche Bee.

landscape block

thread sketching detail

I have two more bee blocks in process as well as a tutorial coming up soon.  And, of course, there is lots of sandbox play, splashing in the pool and one person in the household is practicing his tricycle!  I hope you are enjoying the season no matter which hemisphere you are on.