I’ve enjoyed making quilts for all five of my grandchildren. Some of them were simple quilts made from a single piece of fabric surrounded by a border. Those gave me a wonderful place to practice my long-arm quilting skills as well as being a cozy little quilt suitable for small hands to snuggle. My first three grandchildren were the recipients of those quilts.
After they were finished I decided to make each grandchild their very own lap quilt. Using the same pattern Cathedral by Villa Rosa Designs I made five different quilts. These are the first four.
The fifth one was made for my youngest grandchild, Mr. B. With the help of Mr. B’s Mom we chose a color pallet of oranges, blues, white and black. Mr. B was born during the summer of 2016. Even though I started his quilt long before he was born, it wasn’t finished until many months later. Here’s how Mr. B’s very own lap quilt looked when it was finished.
Mr. B’s quilt was quilted with an off-white thread and a geometric stitch pattern. I’m so thrilled with how it turned out. I just love the fabric colors and how the stitch design helped to acentuate their patterns.
My goal of creating a lap size quilt for each of my grandchildren is now complete! Who knows what is next.
After months and months of work I’m happy to report that a quilt for Miss M. has also been finished. I’ve been busily applying finishing touches to as many of my own projects as possible. As is usually the case my things are set aside to make way for customer quilts. Miss M’s was one of those.
Delivery of this quilt took place on the same day and in the same fashion as Miss L’s. Miss M was of course over-the-top excited to receive her very own Nana quilt. After making the delivery her mother shared that she could be seen walking around the house with the quilt draped around her.
How special to have had the opportunity to make a quilt for her. I just know she will be thrilled with it for years to come.
I’m very happy to report that Miss L’s quilt has finally come to completion. Many, many hours, loads of stitches and lots of love went into the quilts creation. If you are curious about the journey it took from start to finish you may read about it here, here and here.
With the quilt finally finished it was time to decide when and how she would receive it. I tossed around various options; then ultimately decided to give it to her before setting out for my Creating Free-Form Quilts retreat.
Plans were made with her mother to meet at a park. The “aledged” purpose was to enlist the assistance of my grandchildren to photograph what they thought were quilts meant for other people.
When I arrived at the park they were actively playing on the playground equipment. Once they discovered I was there they came running over to greet me.
The quilts were safely packed inside plastic bags secured with a fabric bow. Each quilt was carefully removed from its bag and stretched out on a bed sheet that had been placed on the grass. The sheet would protect the quilts from getting dirty.
My grandchildren, at this point, still had no idea they were the lucky recipients. As I snapped photo after photo I turned over one of the corners revealing a quilt label. The expression on their faces, as reality began to sink in, was priceless.
Of course each one of them was very excited to receive a quilt. There was one child that overwhelmingly expressed her satisfaction, and that was Miss L. I know this because her mother shared with me the comment she made as they drove away. Miss L said,
I always hoped that Nana would make me a quilt. She makes such nice quilts. :o)
How special to hear those sweet words!
Pictured below are photos of Miss L’s quilt along with a pillow that I made from leftover fabric.
Last Fall we learned that we would once again be grandparents. We were overjoyed at the prospect of adding another grandchild to our family. Since I had made quilts for my other grandchildren it only seemed natural to plan and create a quilt for this child as well.
I chose the same pattern that I used for the other quilts, Cathedral by Villa Rosa Designs. The fabrics were a joint venture by my daughter and myself. This is what we selected.
My intention was to complete the project before the new grand-baby arrived. I did after all have, give or take, eight months to meet my goal. Unfortunately, as the saying goes
the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry
and go awry mine did. On July 6th our newest bundle of joy came into this world. While I am absolutely overjoyed that Mr. B has joined our family I am sad to report that his quilt hasn’t even been started. I’m certain though that the absence of a completed quilt from Nana has not even crossed his mind. He won’t even be able to acknowledge that one does or does not exist for quite some time.
Looks like I better get rolling!
Please give a warm welcome to my newest grandson Mr. B
How nice to finally be able to say that Mr. J’s quilt is finished! The journey began back in the summer of 2015. Who knew it would take so long? Links to the journey can be found here Part One, Part Two, Part Three
Here’s the final reveal:
After adding the last stitch to the binding and label I made it my mission to use up the remaining scraps and fabric by making a pillow. The fiberfill insert I had purchased several years ago. Rather than leave it sitting on my shelf I decided to let it determine the size of the final product.
From the scraps I was able to create a pillow cover using an envelope pattern. Here’s the final product.
Major progress was made on Mr. J’s quilt. As was mentioned in a previous post, the quilt’s backing and binding, both created from an orange fabric with cross hatching, were assembled. I’ve also had time to stitch together the quilt sandwich using a geometric meandering pattern, add the binding as well as a label.
Left to do are the hand stitching on the binding and label as well as the construction of a pillow with the quilt’s remaining scraps.
Here’s a sneak peek
As soon the remaining tasks have been wrapped up I will share the final details. In the meantime if you are interested in reading about the quilt’s history you may find more information here and here.
When I first decided 2016 was going to be my year to begin reducing my inventory (Smash My Stash), I felt it was necessary to make a list of everything I had, categorize it, establish a plan of attack and then return each of the items to storage. My next plan was to share the list with YOU. By the time I had my enormous list of UFPs (unfinished projects) written down I realized it was slightly too large and way to boring to share with anyone but myself. Nobody wants to read a list that extends beyond one hundred items.
One Hundred Weeks or More
With that volume of projects, if I successfully completed one each week, I would have enough to keep me going through all of 2016 and the better part of 2017. For some of the projects a week would be more than enough time to finish. For others a seven-day goal would be way too ambitious.
Even though it didn’t seem so at the time, making the list was much easier than the thought process I went through to prioritize it. Much contemplation went into separating out the things that must get done from the ones that could stand to be moved to the bottom of the list.
I recently finished assembling a quilt top for my one and only grandson Mr. J using the pattern called Cathedral by Villa Rosa Designs.
This was my second time using this pattern. The first was when I made a quilt for Miss A, my youngest granddaughter.
Now it was time to make a third version. This one would be for Miss L.
According to Miss L her favorite color is pink so it only seemed natural to use pink as the color palate for her new quilt. With the assistance of her mommy Gracie Girl, designed by Lori Holt for Riley Blake, was chosen for the fabrics. If you are at all up to date on which fabric lines are current and which ones are not then you know this one is not. According to the receipt I purchased it in the Fall of 2013 from the Fat Quarter Shop. Having had the fabric on my shelf for almost two years really isn’t too bad. I have some that’s been a part of my inventory for decades.
This line of fabric was sold in bundles of 20 2 1/2″ wide strips. The pattern instructions call for two 2 1/2″ strips of 20 different colors. This meant I needed a total of 40 strips. To have on hand the required amount of fabric I needed to purchase two bundles of the same fabric. As is always the case the strips were not the only fabric needed. I also needed to purchase fabric for the center of each of the rectangles, the filler pieces, backing and binding. Those items were acquired this Spring when I participated in a Sew Day at Bungalow Quilting & Yarn.
To assist me with the selection process I took along the Gracie Girl bundles of fabric. Having them with to make the color selections made things much easier. Choosing from memory would most certainly been a disaster. Playing the guessing game with fabric can be dangerous. Depending on how you think, choosing the wrong hues could either be expensive or another opportunity to build your inventory or stash, as some would refer to it. Chosen for the center and filler pieces were two different shades of pink.
Having made Mr J’s quilt top fairly recently, I was quite familiar with the pattern’s instructions. My acquaintance with the pattern meant the process of cutting out the pieces didn’t require a lot of brain power. I already had my cutting and pressing stations setup and ready to in my Little Cabin In The Woods so getting started on my project didn’t require much prep. I did first have to make time to carefully starch and press the pink fabrics. With those two ready to go it was time to start cutting.
This quilt top would be the last sewing project I would have the opportunity to work on before my husband, daughter and Miss A arrived to share my space. My goal was to get the blocks for Miss L’s quilt all cut out and assembled before my family arrived. It was Wednesday evening and I only had from then until Thursday afternoon to accomplish my goal. Since I had wanted to leave Thursday open to do a bit of cleaning and preparations for my guests arrival that left me with only Wednesday evening to meet my sewing challenge. Time definitely was not on my side. Conquering this item on my to-do-list would mean staying up into the wee hours.
To entertain myself I turned on my television and tuned it to an educational channel. I figured if I was going to be up late sewing and watching television at the same time I might as well learn something. One by one each of the 480 2 1/2″ x 6″ segments were cut and neatly stacked. Next I cut the 2 1/2″ x 6″ center pieces. Those too were stacked in a pile. I saved the cutting of the filler pieces for later because time was of the essence and they would not be needed until the blocks were assembled and stitched into rows. That part of the quilt top would have to wait until a later date.
Time to start sewing. I chain-stitched a strip to the right edge of the pink rectangles. Once I reached the last center I snipped the threads attaching the chain-pieced strips and pulled the it back across the throat of my machine, neatly arranging the pieces in a pile. I carried the pile to my pressing board. After waking up my iron I first “set” pressed each of the seams then pressed them open. On to the left, top and bottom edges repeating the same steps. When the very last block was completely finished it was midnight and way past my bedtime. Not to worry though because I could sleep in the next morning.
Before retiring I paused to admire my accomplishment. While time had not allowed me to get the entire quilt top completed I was still very proud. Over the past four days I had managed to assemble a quilt back for my
First Year Quilt
the quilt top for Mr. J (see above) and now finally the sixty blocks for Miss L.
As proud as I was I had to admit I was totally exhausted! The past four days could be compared to that of the exertion made while running a half marathon. I know this to be a fair comparison because I have indeed ran one.
With company arriving the next day it would be necessary to pack up my sewing station. As tired as I was I declared tomorrow as the day to tackle that task. The stack of quilt blocks were left resting on my pressing board overnight. Before turning off the lights I took enough time to record a few pictures.
The following day I carefully tucked the stack of Gracie Girl quilt blocks into a plastic container with my other carefully placed fabrics, then snapped the blue lid securely closed. All of my supplies were also packed away. By the time I was finished the only remaining hint of my last four days of activity were the stray threads scattered about on the floor and furniture. I did my best to remove them as well, then declared this session of my sewing retreat officially closed.
All of my projects as well as my portable sewing room would be transported home for a few weeks. My next available sewing session might not happen for several weeks. Miss L’s quilt would have to wait until then.
Have any thoughts on my progress? Leave a comment if you do. :o)
Are you a pinner? I’m not referring to the online program. I’m wondering if you pin your seams before you sew? I’m a neat freak when it comes to most things and neat seams falls into that obsession. On this quilt, as with many others that I work with, I pressed all of the seams open. Typically when working with seams pressed this way it’s not really that big of a deal to keep them open when sewing rows together. With this pattern all of the seams are staggered which means you can’t simply match up the seams on the top strip with those on the bottom, pin it then stitch away.
When pinning this project I had to be alert for seams both on the top strip and on the bottom. After very carefully inserting an insane number of pins, and stitching the first three rows together I got extremely frustrated! No matter how careful I was the seams on the bottom flipped! I got so tired of opening up my stitching and coaxing the misbehaving nubs into place then stitching them again.
Finally I got the idea of running a basting stitch along the raw edges to temporarily limit the movement of those little buggers. I know it seemed like a lot of extra sewing but it’s either that or messing around with the other way. I figured what the heck! Let’s try it. I cranked the stitch length up to 4 and put the petal to the metal. There was no need to be careful in where the stitching line fell as long as it was between the outer raw edge and the normal 1/4″ stitching line. Mind you, I was somewhat careful not to make it super wavy.
Once again I pinned the two rows together but this time I didn’t obsess about pinning each and every seam. This time I used a much more reasonable quantity of pins; enough to help keep the edges stable while gliding them under my presser foot. I couldn’t wait to sew my first seam using this new process. When I finally made it to the end of the strips I quickly clipped the threads and flipped the strips over. EUREKA!!! It worked! Every single seam stayed just as it should be; neatly pressed open with absolutely NO flippers! :o) Yay! This meant the remaining seams should fly by much quicker which would mean I would finish Mr J’s quilt top much quicker.
One by one the remaining rows were stitched together. With that process finally complete the only thing left to do was to make one final pass with my iron over the seams. Within no time I had the pressing complete.
I stretched the quilt out on the floor for one last chance to admire my handiwork and take a few photos. As I stood there scanning past all sixty blocks I was so pleased with the outcome and so amazed at how quickly this quilt top went from start to finish.
Well, that’s as far as I can go on the quilt for now. Time to add it to my pile of quilts to be finished.