Quilt Gift

Last weekend, I finished one of my first “commissioned” quilts.  This quilt was for a husband and dad’s 40th birthday present.  The quilt design and color was centered around the high school letter that never made it onto a jacket.  So, this inspiration guided the selection of the fabrics and the style of the quilt.  Here’s the journey from drawing to fabric to quilt:

I pencilled this quilt out a few weeks prior to get the approval of the customer.  It is always hard to get my ideas on to paper, but once I do it moves the creative process along quite quickly.  My initial design is below which I changed slightly as I purchased the fabric, worked the blocks and figured out the sizing.  I ended up going five blocks down rather than four because it just looked better to the eye.

Initial Design

One of my favorite things to add to add quilt is a border and stripes.  I never know exactly what border will look right until I get the main part of the quilt complete and have the fabrics all in front of me.  The final design with the stripes changed slightly, but they are still there.


I decided to start this quilt with 4 1/2″ squares when sewn together in blocks of 9 would make a full 12″ block.  You can see my ever present companion (Baja) below the table.

The Beginning...4 1/2" Squares Sewn Together

Sewing the blocks together and creating the main portion of the quilt.  Once these blocks come together, the quilt gets pretty large and a little hard to manage.  The key in getting the corners and lines to match up is pinning.  Yes, it pays off to pin things.  I used to skip this step, but would always regret it!  PIN IT!

Sewing Blocks Together

The addition of the personal touches like this high school letter is when the quilt design really started to take shape.  It is when the concept on paper and the reality of what is sitting in front of you starts to move into what looks right now that you can see it right in front of you.  I used a blanket stitch with green matching thread to stick the letter on the quilt top.

High School Letter

So, here’s my secret to getting the perfect letters.  It is probably not a secret to many, but I discovered it a few years ago when trying to figure out how to get perfect quilt letters.  I just use Microsoft Word to locate the type of font I want and the size.  I print out the letters that I want to use in the correct size.  I then use these letters to trace onto the fabric adhesive.  There are several different products out there to use:  Steam A Seam, Heat and Bond, Pellon, etc.  They all work well, but try different types out and use what you like the best.  Make sure it is two sided adhesive and not one sided.  Otherwise, you will be unhappy!

Font for Lettering - My Trick

Once the letters are all cut out and ready to go, I sew them on to the base fabric using my favorite blanket stitch with matching thread.  This is something that you will get better at over time.  One thing that you will want to play with is the size of the stitch and the tension in your bobbin.  If you see your thread from below peaking through, your tension is too tight.  I first attached these letters with a blanket stitch and then went back over the letters after the quilt was complete and washed with a decorative stitch.  It created a nice effect on the letters that allowed them to standout.  Oh, and make sure you change presser feet before you start the blanket stitch….or, you will break a needle.  Trust me…I know.  I broke two last weekend.

Sewing on the Letters

Here is the actual quilting in progress (after the back of the quilt and batting have been assembled with my preferred method of spray glue basting).  One of my favorite parts…the part that makes a quilt A QUILT!  I used just a meandering stipple pattern done freehand.  I drop the feed dogs, adjust the tension, change the foot and go for it.  Check the back of the quilt occasionally to make sure your tension is correct; you will have to adjust if you start sewing fast as it will pull a bit.  Just keep an eye on it and adjust as needed.


Here is the final quilt.  You will notice that the stripes made it to the binding on the quilt.  I love the effect.  I debated whether adding another border, but liked this look so much that I kept it like this.  I quilted using a silver grey thread on front and a black thread on back.  The back of the quilt has a brushed cotton flannel which will be super cozy and warm.  I love to wash my quilts right after they are finished so that they shrink up, become cuddly and are nice and soft.  Also, if you have done some applique, you can check to make sure you don’t have any places where you need to go back and touch up.

Quilt Front

Here is a close up of the letters.  Notice the decorative stitch that I used on the blocks that the letters sit on.  And, how the letters puff out a bit.  That is a result of coming back after washing the quilt and sewing around the letters a second time.  You can also notice how the quilt shrinks up and gets a little “wrinkly” after washed.  I like this look…

Quilt Detail...Lettering

Close up of the message on the back of the quilt…I should have gotten a better picture.  I had embroidered this on the back of the quilt with cotton thread.

Quilt Back - Message

I used left over binding to tie up the quilt into a perfect package.

Quilt Package - Ready to Give

The quilt was delivered the next day and I hear that it was well received.  In fact, it was given a few days in advance to the birthday boy because they couldn’t wait!  Always, good to hear.

If you are interested in a custom quilt, go to my etsy page to see the options.

Happy Day!


Finally…A Quilt

With the football game on and whole lot of procrastination at play (laundry, house cleaning, work, etc), I entered my sewing room.  I had no idea what was on the agenda.  I organized some fabric and a small stack of fabric caught my eye.  With no particular plan in mind, I just started sewing pieces together.  And, here’s how it went:

Bliss by Camille Roskelley

Looking at the Colors


Putting it All Together

The Addition of an Aqua Border

So, a few hours and an assembled quilt top.  I will leave the back, quilting and binding for an another day.  Look for it soon in my etsy shop.

In the next few weeks, I will be working on a 40th Birthday commemorative quilt that should be exciting.  The design has been sketched up and approved.  Just hunting for the right fabric and will get started in the next week.  More to come on that quilt.  And, after that, a sweet memory quilt for my niece with all of her baby clothes.  I am really looking forward to that quilt.  It should be fun to put together.

The week ahead will be very busy.  My scheduled is filled every single day already.  I am thankful for a few hours this afternoon to create.  Taking the time to do those things always makes the stress and intensity of the week more palpable.  I enjoy my job every day, but am very mindful of the need to refuel what I call my “love cup.”  I do that by creating and when I don’t, everyone knows it!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.

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From Inspiration to Creation - New Fabric Lines

Last year at this time, I was headed to Houston for the International Quilt Festival.  It was an amazing experience and overwhelmed me with inspiration.  It is almost sensory overload.  Now is the time of year when the fabric designers roll out their best for the show.  Even though I won’t be going this year, there are plenty of places online to see the new lines and to check out the happenings at the quilt festival.  I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite lines that I came across in the last few days while surfing the web.

First up is Terrain by Kate Spain.  If you don’t know Kate Spain by name, you probably know her by seeing many of her prints and patterns on housewares and stationary at Target.  She has a great eye and I am personally inspired by how she translates her photographs into imagery and then into sketches which finally make their way to fabric.  It is truly beautiful.

Below, you actually can see the photos that inspired her line and the hand sketches that resulted.  I am fascinated by how the original inspiration changes and evolves until the final product.  I have not quite connected these things in my head for my own creativity.  But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible!!

Kate Spain Terrain - Fall Line

You can find out more about Kate Spain on her website and blog.  In addition, there is a great interview with Kate Spain at Ryan Walsh Quilts which you might find interesting.  This line is at the top of my list right now for my next fabric order…..

Another great new line that I am in love with is Daisy Cottage by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet (fabric by Riley Blake Designs).  This fabric is adorable and so are the quilts to accompany the line.  I love the mix of the grey, yellow and pink in the line.

Daisy Cottage by Riley Blake Designs

Riley Blake has some of the most talented fabric designers and the most amazing booth at the quilt festival.  I couldn’t stay away last year and this sneak peak proves that it will be just as good as last year.  I just want to buy the kit right now and start sewing.  I am personally in love the with chandelier fabric…it is adorable.

There will be more to come as I become inspired from the comfy chair behind my computer.  Until later….I will continue to daydream in my pajamas.