Author Archives: Dawn

And the Winners Are . . .

Time to announce the winners of my Rotary Cutter Case giveaway. First, here’s a look at what’s up for grabs:

Rotary Cutter Cases
Rotary Cutter Coats: Free to Good Homes!

 

I used a Random Number Generator to draw three names. And the winners are:

          Bill Volckening

          Janet Boundy

          Jayne Emsdem

Congratulations, folks!

In their comments, Bill said he liked the rotary cutter coat in the middle best, Janet liked the one on the left, and Jayne said she would be happy with any one of them, so she will get the one on the right. How perfectly providential! Winners, please email me your mailing addresses and I will get them in the mail to you this week.

Didn’t win? Sorry! But you can make a rotary cutter coat for yourself or perhaps one for a friend. Directions are available as a one-page handout or as a full step-by-step tutorial with lots of pictures.

Thanks to everyone who checked out my Giveaway post and to those who left comments. Have a great week!

 

 

 

Posted in Giveaway, rotary cutter case, update | 2 Comments

Rotary Cutter Case Giveaway

Rotary Cutter Cases
One of These Could Be Yours!

 

Would you like to win one of these rotary cutter coats? I’m hosting a Giveaway and will send one of these cases to three lucky winners. To enter all you need to do is add a comment at the bottom of this post answering one of two questions:

1) which case do you like the best and why (fabric? buttons? color combo? something else)?

or

2) how did you find out about my website/blog?

The Giveaway will remain open through this week. I’ll draw three names using a random number generator and announce the winners early next week. I will mail anywhere in the world so international readers are welcome to enter.

A tutorial for making one of these rotary cutter coats can be found here.

Good luck, everyone, and thank you so much for visiting First Light Designs!

 

 

 

Posted in Giveaway, rotary cutter case, update | 29 Comments

Around the World Blog Hop

Today’s my day to post in the “Around the World Blog Hop.” It’s like a chain letter passed from one blogger to another. What a fun way to meet new quilters and discover new quilting blogs! My assignment is to respond to four questions and then tag another quilter who will post on the same questions a week later.

I was tagged by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted, LLC. Debbie is a local award-winning professional longarm quilter whose clients keep coming back because she does beautiful work. She takes care to bring out the best in every quilter’s project. I know this because she has quilted two quilts for me — and they will certainly not be the last. I’ve seen examples of quilting Debbie has done for other people as well as quilts she has made herself.  You’ll see for yourself when you click on the link above. And when you do, you’ll find a link to the blogger who tagged her. This blog hop takes you backward as well as forward.

Moving forward, you will hop from Oregon halfway across the North American continent to visit Jennifer Gwyn of Seams Crazy. Jennifer lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and two young children. Despite the demands of working and raising a family, she still manages to get a lot of quilting done. Jennifer’s fabric choices are always pleasing to the eye. I especially admire her ability to go scrappy when the quilt calls for it. I have Jennifer to thank for the project you see below. She wrote about it on her blog late last year and got me hooked.

On to the assignment at hand.

1. What am I working on?
Ah, the easy question first. I always have several projects underway. One is my series sampler quilt, Reach for the Stars:

2014-10-11 02.40.46
Reach for the Stars Border Puzzle

I’ve been working on this quilt since the beginning of the year, and the end is tantalizingly in sight. At the moment I’m trying to solve the puzzle of how to make the borders match in all four corners, something the original design does not do. The math doesn’t work out, and I’m trying to figure out a creative way to make it work.

Another work-in-progress is this Bow Tucks Tote, designed by Penny Sturges of quiltsillustrated.com:

2014-10-11 01.13.43
Tote Bag in Progress

I’m currently teaching a class on this bag at the Pine Needle and need to make a tote along with my students to demonstrate the steps. In the photo above, that’s the lining you see on the left. The green strip turns into pockets that go around the entire inside of the bag. Clever!

Yet another project is this Rotary Cutter Coat, one of my own designs:

2014-10-11 02.49.42
Rotary Cutter Coat in the Works

Look closely at the fabrics in the unfinished project above: those are zipper pulls and zipper teeth on the front and straight pins on the back. So cute! (I posted a tutorial a few days ago that includes a link to the free pattern; perhaps you’d like to make a rotary cutter coat yourself.) As soon as the zipper pull coat above is finished, I’m going to give all three away. I hope you’ll come back later this week for my Giveaway.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I would be hard pressed even to identify what genre my work fits in. I’m all over the map in terms of the kinds of quilts I like — and the kinds of quilts I like to make. Am I a traditional quilter? Absolutely. Non-traditional quilter? Yes. Modern quilter? Yes. Art quilter? That too. I tend to make what pleases me, and most of the time my work pleases others. That’s satisfying on both fronts.

3. Why do I create what I do?
It’s all about the fabric. I love fabric! I love to make things with it. My mother taught me to sew when I was 12 years old, and I honestly can’t remember a time I didn’t have some kind of sewing project underway. I made all of my own clothes well into the 1980s (past the time when it was cheaper to make clothing than to buy it), along with pillows and curtains and other “soft furnishings.” By then I had also discovered quilting, which became a creative outlet and antidote to an intense work schedule. When I retired six years ago, quilting — and then teaching quilting — took over my life. Oh, and sewing for my sisters, who think I’m the Home Dec Queen.

4. How does my creative process work?
Often an element in a quilt — a block, perhaps, or a border — will catch my eye, and I will think about how I might incorporate it into a quilt of my own. Or I will look at a traditional block and ponder how it might be jazzed up a bit. I will look at a design element and think, “What if I did this or that to it?” Some of my best ideas have come from asking myself, “What if . . .?”

Some of my work is frankly derivative. Case in point: the rotary cutter coats pictured above. A couple of years ago I saw a pattern in a magazine for a quilted eyeglasses case. I was instantly transported back to the age of four, when I got my first pair of glasses. I came home from the optician with glasses on my nose and a faux-leather case to store them in when I wasn’t wearing them. The case was cut along the same lines as the one in the magazine. I examined the eyeglasses case in the photo and said to myself, “What if . . .?” The result was a case (or coat, as I like to call it) designed specifically for a rotary cutter, though it could certainly double as a case for a pair of large eyeglasses.

I find inspiration everywhere: not just in books and magazines but also in nature, the work of other quilters and crafters, designs in fabric, a sidewalk, a coffee cup. I study quilts I like — and quilts I don’t much care for — to understand what appeals to me and why. Straying from the familiar path and trying something new are parts of the creative process, so I take classes whenever I can.

***

Jennifer’s “Blog Hop Around the World” post is due Oct. 20, one week from today. But you don’t have to wait till then to visit her blog. Go there now and see what she’s working on. Not only will you get a glimpse of her Reach for the Stars fabrics, you’ll be able to check out the size of her stash. Oh my!

 

 

 

Posted in Giveaway, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, rotary cutter case, tote bags, tutorial, update | 2 Comments

It’s Tutorial Time! Rotary Cutter Coat

1
Rotary Cutter Coats

What quilter wouldn’t love one of these quilted cases to hold her rotary cutter? The buttons and contrast trim make the cases look like little coats — so that is what I am calling them. A finished coat measures about 3¾” x 8″.

This tutorial guides you step by step. You can also download a one-page handout.

Fabric and notions
One piece of fabric 9″ x 10½” for outside of coat
One piece of fabric 9″ x 10½” for inside (lining)
One piece of fabric 18″ square for bias binding
One piece of lightweight batting trimmed to 9″ x 10½”
One piece of freezer paper about 10″ x 11″
¼”-wide Steam-a-Seam 2 (double stick fusible web)
Two buttons 7/8″ – 1¼” in diameter

Supplies
Sewing machine with walking foot
Standard sewing supplies (scissors, pins, measuring tape, seam ripper, etc.)
Rotary cutting equipment (mat, rotary cutter, rulers)

The free pattern is available here as a pdf file: Dawn’s rotary cutter case pattern.

1. Download and print the pattern. The bottom edge of the pattern should measure 9½”. If the measurement is less than that, enlarge the pattern slightly. (If the bottom edge measures 9¼”, the pattern will still work just fine. All you need to do is alter the flap measurement in Step 10 to 2-5/8″.)

2. Trace the pattern onto the flat (not shiny) side of the freezer paper. Cut around the outside edges of the pattern. Set pattern aside.

2
Paper Pattern at Left, Freezer Paper Pattern at Right

Are you wondering what that blue and white plate is doing in the picture above? I thought it would amuse you to know that’s what gave me the shape for the rounded part of the pattern.

3. Lay the lining fabric wrong side up on a flat surface. Lay the batting fabric on top. Lay the outside fabric right side up on top of the batting. You now have a quilt sandwich. Baste and quilt as desired.

You can quilt any motif you desire. Free-motion quilting is an option but I usually take the easy route and quilt straight lines or random curved lines using my walking foot. With straight lines I often stitch on the diagonal about 1″ apart. In the example below I used straight lines at right angles to form a chevron design:

2014-08-25 16.53.57
Straight Line Quilting (on the Diagonal)

In the two rotary cutter coats pictured at the top of my post, I quilted random wavy lines horizontally in both, although vertical lines would look good too. In the one with the black background I used a 40-wt thread in a contrasting color. Here’s a close-up of that one (after I had cut the pattern out):

2014-10-07 02.07.38
Random Wavy Quilted Lines

In the other one (pictured in the rest of this post), I wanted the thread to blend so I used a 50-wt thread in pale grey.

4. Center the freezer paper pattern (shiny side down) on the right side of the quilt sandwich and press with a dry iron:

3
Pattern Ironed to Quilt Sandwich

 

5. You could cut the pattern out with scissors but using your rotary cutter is faster and more accurate. Align the rotary cutter and ruler along the bottom and sides of the pattern and cut. Use the rotary cutter and ruler to cut the beginning of the curves as shown below:

4
Five Straight Cuts with the Rotary Cutter

Use scissors to cut the rest of the curve:

5
Remainder of Curve Cut and Sides Rounded Off with Scissors

Peel off freezer paper pattern for repeated use. Use scissors to round off the side edges on the quilt sandwich.

6. Cut 18″ square of binding fabric corner to corner on the diagonal. From each piece cut a strip 2-1/8″ wide along the bias edge. Sew strips together using an angled seam. You need a length about 34″ long. Fold strip in half lengthwise and press.

7. With the walking foot still on your machine, attach binding to the right side of the case as you would for a quilt, starting and ending along the bottom edge. Leave a tail 5-6″ long and begin stitching 1-1/4″ away from the first corner:

6
Binding Has Begun!

Gently guide the bias binding around the curve of the quilt sandwich, stitching a scant 1/4″ seam. When you get to the other side of the bottom, end your stitching 1″ in from the edge.

8. Use your favorite method of joining the ends of the binding. This is the method I use:

7
Joining the Ends of the Binding Strip

See the red vertical line marked on the binding strip? When I trim the strip there, the two edges of the binding will overlap 2-1/8″, the exact measurement of the binding strip width. (That’s a scrap of the binding fabric at the bottom of the photo, placed there to show you that it’s the same width as the overlap of the two strips.)

Open up the binding strips and join them right sides together at a 90 ° angle, being careful not to twist the strips. See the red line? That’s my stitching line. I’ve got the ends pinned to the ironing board to give you a good look:

8
Joining the Binding Strips

Stitch the binding seam, trim to 1/4″, press open, and finish stitching the seam along the bottom edge, beginning and ending a few stitches beyond the original stitching lines:

9
Binding is Stitched in Place

9. Turn the binding toward the inside (lining) of the case — it will cup nicely around the curve — and press in place. If the folded edge of the binding doesn’t completely cover the stitching line, trim the seam a bit. I find I usually have to do this around the curved edge.

10
The Bottom Edge Awaits Pressing

At this point you could stitch the binding down by hand — but if you can find Steam-a-Seam 2, why not give it a try? It’s a double-stick fusible webbing product made by the Warm Company that makes fast work of finishing a binding. It’s sold by the yard but also comes in rolls ¼” and ½” wide. If you can’t find it on a roll, buy about a half yard and simply cut off ¼” strips as needed.

Using the ¼” wide roll, cut off a strip about 4″ long and peel off the release paper:

11
Steam-a-Seam 2, Up Close and Personal

The Steam-a-Seam 2 is sticky on both sides but not so sticky that you can’t manipulate it. It goes around curved seams beautifully. Lay the strip of Steam-a-Seam 2 along the seam line, with the edge right next to the stitching:

12
Putting the Fusible Webbing in Place

Draw the binding over the seam allowance so that the folded edge just covers the webbing. Hold in place on the ironing board with pins:

13
Pinning Webbing in Place Before Steam Basting

After you have two or three lengths of webbing in place, press the binding briefly to baste the webbing to the fabrics. Leave about an inch of webbing unpressed so that you can lift up the binding and see where the next strip needs to go. When you have worked all the way around, sandwich the rotary cutter coat between a press cloth and steam fully, following the directions on the package of Steam-a-Seam 2. In a very few minutes, your rotary cutter coat will look like this from the front and back:

Camera Uploads36
Front and Back, Binding Done

 

10. Fold case along fold lines, lapping one side over the other in front. (It doesn’t matter which side you lap first.) Both flaps should measure 2¾” from fold to outside edges of binding. Adjust this measurement slightly if necessary so that the finished case measures 3¾” wide. Cut a strip of Steam-a-Seam 2 the same measurement and insert it along the inside bottom edge. Fuse flap in place.

16
First Flap, Ready to Fuse

Fold second flap in place, making sure it also measures 2¾” from the fold to the outside edge:

17
Second Flap, Ready to Fuse

Use another strip of Steam-a-Seam 2 to fuse the bottom of the case completely closed (or whipstitch securely by hand).

11. Now it’s time to sew on the buttons, which serve no function other than to look beautiful. And they are what makes this little rotary case a coat, so do add them. The bottom of the lower button should be 1-1/8″ or so from the bottom of the case:

18
Buttoning Up Your Overcoat

Let your eye and the size of the buttons guide you.

The last step: tacking the binding in place about 1″ down from the point where the bound edges meet:

19
Tacking Binding in Place Near the Top

 

Now tuck your rotary cutter into its elegant new coat:

20
What the Well Dressed Rotary Cutter Wears

 

Have fun with this tutorial! If you have any questions or run into a problem, let me know, and I’ll do my best to help you out.

 

 

 

Posted in Giveaway, rotary cutter case, update | 6 Comments

Reach for the Stars: All but the Border!

The setting triangles and corners have been added to my Reach for the Stars series sampler quilt. Do take a look:

2014-10, RFTS before borders
Reach for the Stars — Borders to Come

 

In my last post about Reach for the Stars, I was debating whether to set the hourglass blocks in the setting triangles vertically or horizontally along the long sides of the quilt. To refresh your memory, here’s another look at my two choices:

RFTS setting triangle options
Vertical (Left) or Horizontal (Right)?

 

I was leaning strongly toward the horizontal placement and asked for feedback. Thanks to all of you who responded! The vast majority liked the hourglass blocks set horizontally. If you scroll up and look at the first photo again, you’ll see that I wound up setting them vertically along the sides.

Oddly enough, it was a nonquilter who helped me make up my mind. My nephew Gary suggested I rotate the photo 90 degrees and view the quilt along the long sides. When I did that, I realized I wanted the hourglass blocks to be horizontal when viewed that way — exactly the way they would look if the quilt were on a queen-size bed.

If I knew for sure I would be displaying the quilt on a wall, I would probably have left them all horizontal. Alas, I have no wall in my 1913 Craftsman house large enough for a quilt that will measure about 86″ x 106″ when finished. I do, however, have a queen-size bed.

Right now my version of Reach for the Stars measures about 60″ x 80″. How exciting to be at this point! I started this quilt at the beginning of the year after seeing Terri Krysan’s original design on the cover of the Oct./Nov. 2013 issue of Quilter’s Newsletter magazine. Directions for the quilt began with that issue and continued for the next six issues. Starting with the center medallion and then making 14 blocks over the better part of a year allowed for a somewhat relaxed sewing schedule — a boon for someone like me who likes to work on multiple projects at the same time.

Now all that’s left are the borders. I say “all that’s left” but in fact there’s much more to the border than four strips of fabric. You’ll see what I mean when you look at Terri’s beautiful quilt:

RFTS by Terri Krysan
Terri Krysan’s Quilt, 2012
 (Copyright Quilter’s Newsletter. Used with permission. Photo by Melissa Karlin Mahoney.)

Viewed from afar, the border design looks almost like lace, doesn’t it? That effect is cleverly achieved by setting nine-patch units on point. For some reason, though, the lacy design is not the same in all four corners. The upper right and lower left corners are the same, and the upper left and lower right corners are the same. To me this quilt is all about symmetry. That means I have to figure out a way to make all four corners on my border the same while maintaining the lacelike effect. Just the kind of challenge I relish!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, update | 8 Comments

NW Quilting Expo: Bridges of Portland Challenge Quilts

Last Friday four friends and I spent the entire day at the 14th Annual Northwest Quilting Expo. It’s a three-day event, and we could easily have gone back and spent another full day. What a great show! More than 600 quilts were on display, along with a half dozen special exhibits and, of course, an enticing vendor mall.

One of the eagerly anticipated displays was the Portland Bridges NOW exhibit sponsored by the WestSide Modern Club. The club was started in 2012 by Geri Grasvik, owner of the Pine Needle Quilt Shop in Lake Oswego. At a meeting of WestSide Modern last year, Geri issued a challenge for quilters to create modern quilts inspired by the 12 bridges of Portland. The quilts had to include one or more fabrics from the Waterfront Park line designed for Michael Miller Fabrics by Portland’s own Violet Craft.

By the time the deadline arrived, 42 quilts had been submitted. Some of the makers are friends and guild mates. Others I know of by reputation. I am completely in awe of their imagination, creativity, and talent.

Here, in no particular order, are a few of the quilts on display:

Bridge Challenge, Matching Expectations! by Virginia Hammon
Matching Expectations! by Virginia Hammon

 

Bridge Challenge, Sunset Under the Morrison Bridge by Judy Liebo
Sunset Under the Morrison Bridge by Judy Liebo

 

Bridge Challenge, Gothic Beauty by Gerri Thompson
Gothic Beauty by Gerri Thompson

 

Bridge Challenge, Somewhere Over the Fremont by Peggy Friedl-Yee
Somewhere Over the Fremont by Peggy Friedl-Yee

 

Bridge Challenge, A Path to St Johns, Carol Wilborn
A Path to St Johns by Carol Wilborn

 

Bridge Challenge, Fremont Modern by Sally Mayer
Fremont Modern by Sally Mayer

 

Bridge Challenge, Morrison Bridge at Night by Lisa Crnich
Morrison Bridge at Night by Lisa Crnich

 

Bridge Challenge, Stumptown Steel, Beth Wells
Stumptown Steel by Beth Wells

 

Bridge Challenge, Tilikum Crossing by Jolene Knight
Tilikum Crossing by Jolene Knight

 

Bridge Challenge, The Latest and Greatest by Valri Chiapetta
The Latest and Greatest by Valri Chiapetta

 

Bridge Challenge, Cathedral Park, AnnMarie Cowley
Cathedral Park by AnnMarie Cowley

 

Bridge Challenge Burnside Bridge by Connie Brown
Burnside Bridge by Connie Brown

 

Bridge Challenge, Celery Green Crossing, Barbara Isom (Fremont)
Celery Green Crossing by Barbara Isom

 

Bridge Challenge, Linda Dyer's quilt
Bridge Lift by Linda Dyer

The label on the back of the quilt is part of Linda’s bridge story:

Bridge Challenge, Linda Dyer's label
Linda’s Label

 

What’s more, Linda made a second version of her quilt — in stained glass:

Bridge Challenge, Linda Dyer's stained glass
Bridge Lift by Linda Dyer (Stained Glass)

 

Here are her two creations, side by side:

Bridge Challenge, Linda Dyer's side by side
The Hawthorne Bridge in Glass and Fabric

 

All in all, a terrific show. And guess what? The quilts will be seen by an even bigger audience! The exhibit will be on display in December at Portland International Airport.

 

 

 

Posted in update | 8 Comments

Rotary Cutter Case

A couple weeks ago the Pine Needle Quilt Shop, where I teach, held its annual fall Open House. I was on hand to promote my upcoming classes and share a sewing project or two. It’s always fun to talk to customers, fondle the newest fabrics in the shop, and visit with the other teachers. Local luminaries Violet Craft, Christina Cameli, and Rachel Kerley are joining the ranks of Pine Needle teachers this fall. I’m in good company!

One of the sewing projects I showed off at Open House was a rotary cutter case I designed a couple of years ago. I made up a few samples, which we gave away as door prizes:

Rotary Cutter Cases

These cases are also good for eyeglasses but I prefer them for rotary cutters. Don’t they look like little coats?

They make great gifts. And the holiday season is fast approaching. Hmmm . . . I’m thinking a tutorial is in order (and maybe even a giveaway!). What do you think, readers? Would you like to know how to make an eyeglasses case or rotary cutter coat?

 

 

 

Posted in Giveaway, rotary cutter case, tutorial, update | 17 Comments

Susan Elinor’s Quilt

We did it! My neighbor Janice and I completed the alphabet quilt started by Janice’s good friend Susan, who did not live long enough to finish it herself. Susan was making this quilt for her baby granddaughter, also named Susan. She had all the letters of the alphabet appliquéd by hand onto 6″ squares of muslin but, sadly, died of ovarian cancer before she could sew the blocks together and finish the quilt. That labor of love fell to Janice, who enlisted my help.

Over the last couple of weeks Janice and I got together to determine a layout for the blocks and to choose sashing and binding fabrics. I wrote about the process in this post and this one.

Allow us to present Susan Elinor’s quilt:

Susan's quilt, front
Susan Elinor’s Quilt, 39″ x 50

Don’t you love how the red binding frames the quilt and draws your eye to the red letters?

In this close-up you can see the simple free-motion design quilted in the border:

Susan's quilt, detail
Quilting and Binding Detail

 

The back of the quilt features a print from the Dick and Jane early reader books — a playful nod to the alphabet letters on the front and very much in keeping with the vintage calicos Susan had chosen for her appliquéd blocks:

Susan's quilt,back
Back of Susan’s Quilt

 

The last step was sewing on the label:

Susan's quilt, label
The Label on Susan’s Quilt

 

Actually, there was one more step. Janice bought some little finger puppets and toys to put in the four blocks on the quilt containing pockets made from clothes Susan’s daughter Lea wore as a little girl. Look how cute these are!

Susan's quilt pockets filled
A Fun Surprise in Every Pocket

This is how the quilt looks with the pockets filled:

r
Susan Elinor’s Quilt is Extra Special

 

Susan Elinor is one year old. She will miss the joy of growing up knowing her grandmother but she will have the joy of wrapping herself in a quilt hand-stitched with love by her grandmother. This quilt will be presented tomorrow to Lea and little Susan at the memorial service celebrating Susan’s life.

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, update | 11 Comments

An Update on Susan’s Quilt

The baby quilt that my neighbor Janice and I are finishing on behalf of her late friend Susan is coming along nicely. The quilt will go to Susan’s granddaughter and namesake, Susan Elinor, who just turned one.

In my last post I showed you the blocks that Susan appliquéd by hand onto muslin squares. Here are those squares set off with simple muslin sashing:

Susan's quilt blocks with sashing
Susan’s blocks, sewn together

In addition to the 26 alphabet blocks, four blocks contain embroidered pockets made from clothing worn by Susan’s daughter Lea (baby Susan’s mother) when she was a little girl.

I pulled several pieces of fabric from my stash so that Janice and I could audition the border fabric together:

Susan's blocks with border possibilities
Auditioning the Border Fabric

We both liked the same fabric best — the aqua print on the middle left side (Sew Stitchy by Aneela Hoey for Moda Fabrics).

Here’s the quilt top with the border strips added in that fabric:

Susan's blocks with borders
The Winning Border Fabric

 

Next we looked at fabrics for the back. The print we chose is absolutely perfect for an alphabet quilt: it’s based on the Dick and Jane early reader books from the last century. It’s a directional design printed across the width of fabric so I inserted some strips of the aqua print border fabric to make the back long enough. Take a look:

Backing Fabric
Fun with Dick and Jane

Oh dear, that picture is not in focus. Here’s a better look at the fabrics:

close up of backing fabrics
Dick and Jane (and Spot!)

According to the selvage, the fabric above was released in 1999. It’s called “go! with dick and jane” by Nicole de Leon for Alexander Henry Fabrics. It’s obviously been in my stash for a while.

Next up: quilting. I’m going to stitch-in-the-ditch around the alphabet blocks and free-motion quilt a loop-de-loop design in the borders. Janice and I both like the idea of finishing the quilt with red binding. She is going to do the handwork on the quilt (binding and label), and our plan is to have our project completed by the end of the week.

I hope you’ll check back in a few days to see it!

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, update | 7 Comments

A Labor of Love

My neighbor Janice asked me to help her finish a quilt started by her dear friend Susan. Susan was working on an alphabet quilt for her baby granddaughter when she lost her battle with ovarian cancer last month. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to complete the quilt in the time she had left, Susan asked Janice to finish it.

Susan had hand-appliquéd the 26 letters of the alphabet onto 6″ squares of muslin. She had also appliquèed four pockets onto print squares; the pockets came from clothes that belonged to her daughter when she was a little girl.

The first thing Janice and I did was lay the blocks out in a 5 x 6 grid, with the four pocket blocks interspersed among the 26 alphabet blocks. We’re pretty sure that’s what Susan had in mind because she had already sewn the first row together:

Susan's blocks
Susan’s Blocks

 

The fabrics in the alphabet blocks are vintage calicos. The letters seem to have been randomly placed in the muslin squares, rather than centered, giving the blocks a delightfully whimsical appearance. Janice and I decided to separate the rows with sashing strips made from muslin, add muslin sashing strips all around the quilt, then finish it with a 3″ or 4″ border made from calico prints similar to the ones Susan used in her blocks. With a 4″ border, the quilt should finish at about 36″ x 51″.

A couple of the letters — j and m — were really too close to one edge of the squares they were attached to so I added strips of muslin and trimmed the blocks. Here is the m block, before and after:

Susan's m block, before and after
Repositioning the Letter

 

Susan had hand-stitched the first row together with ½” seams. Her stitches were so even I had to look closely to confirm that they were indeed done by hand! I opted to take the stitching out so that all the blocks can be sewn with ¼” seams. That will really help with the letters that are close to the edges of the muslin squares.

Here is the first row with its muslin sashing added:

Susan's quilt, first row
The First Row

 

This quilt will help tie three generations of women together. I feel honored that Janice has asked me to help her finish it.

 

 

 

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