Category Archives: Quilting

Picture Window Baby Quilt

I was inspired to make this quilt by a project from Blue Elephant Stitches, always a go-to source for inspiration.  I was sick with morning sickness and looking for something easy – and I wanted to make something for the baby.  She calls her quilt the “High Five Quilt,” and the source pattern is in a book called Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Nyberg and Cheryl Atkinson.  I didn’t end up following the pattern, however, just eyeballed it.  I cut squares of approximately 2.5 inches, then did one layer of a log cabin.  I didn’t measure precisely, and I often made the center squares a bit bigger if convenient to showcase whatever was in them.  After the block was done, I used a 6.5″ square ruler (which I bought for this project) to conveniently trim them to size.


I honestly can barely begin to say what the fabrics are.  I made the entire quilt from stash, which I’m rather proud of, including the binding and backing.  There’s a fair amount of Sarah Jane fabrics in there, as well as a lot of Heather Ross “Tiger Lily.”  I think there’s some Lotta Jansdottir fabric.  The binding is a Carolyb Friedlander fabric from her Euclid line, and I used a few other Carolyn Friedlander fabrics throughout, especially her greens.  Beyond that, it’s hard to say.  I’ve got at least two swan fabrics in there, because I love swans, and some stripes.  There’s some ballerina fabric I bought for Isla.  I’m not sure what else.


I had enough wool batting on hand to finish the project, so wool it was.  I get my wool batting from Quilter’s Dream.  I always like wool batting for a baby quilt, because I figure quilts are as much for sitting on as for covering yourself with, and wool makes them nice and soft and puffy.  And as a bonus, they’re nice and warm for covering yourself with.


Piecing, quilting, and hand-sewing the binding was done with Aurifil Mako 50 Wt in White (2024).


I was originally planning to quilt this on a 2-inch grid.  However, as I noted above, I didn’t measure precisely, which meant the quilting lines were just a little off.  Not cool.  It looked messy and like a mistake.  I ended up just stitching in the ditch at 6″ intervals.  I contemplated quilting the whole thing with wavy lines, and maybe I should have.  I did a lot of fussy cutting in this quilt, and I didn’t want to quilt over any of the fussy cut centers.  It’s OK.


I used a 50/50 linen/cotton blend from Carolyn Friendlander’s Euclid line for the binding.  I actually found this a bit hard to work with at the corners, especially in combination with the thick wool batting.  I was lazy and didn’t use a walking foot for the binding, which I think was a mistake.  My corners were not up to my usual standard.

I made much of this quilt while feeling like I was going to puke.  I’m not thrilled with the result, but I don’t hate it.  I think i could give it to someone in good conscience.  Something about the in-your-face combination of pink / blue / green fabrics just rubs me the wrong way.  However, I do love the fussy cutting that I did, and I think a little kid would definitely appreciate all the fussy cut pictures in the middle of the squares.

I updated the “quilting” page on this blog today, which had been very out-of-date, and it made me realize how much I was quilting in 2015 and 2016, and how little I quilted in 2017 and 2018.  In 2017 and 2018, I started running a lot and working a lot, and quilting got put a bit by the wayside.  I did do a lot of farmer’s wife blocks, but I still haven’t finished that quilt.  It’s nice to finish a quilt for the first time in a long time.  I did actually do a whole-cloth quilt recently, but I stupidly forgot to photograph it!  Finishing these two simple quilts is making me enthusiastic to do more quilting over the next three months.

high five quilt

Since I’ve been feeling like crap, I haven’t been doing much crafting.  I was determined to finish my cross stitch, but at I’m at probably 95% complete excluding edge stitching, and I need a break.  I’ve managed to muster up enough energy the last few days to spend about 10 minutes making a few really easy quilt blocks.  The intended recipient, obviously, is the new arrival.  I had been thinking of doing a Friedlander pattern next, but i’m basically just not up for it right now.  I need to do something easy.  This pattern is technically out of Sunday Morning Quilts, and i bought the book, but I haven’t really looked at the formal pattern yet.  My inspiration was Blue Elephant Stitches.

Anyway.  Blocks so far.  At this rate, it’ll take me a couple months to assemble enough for a baby quilt.

13 weeks 1 day today and still feeling lousy.  Every day I hope to wake up feeling better, but it hasn’t happened yet.

blue on blue

If I had a quilter-crush, it would definitely be Carolyn Friedlander.  Despite the fact that I haven’t quilted in a year (and am DETERMINED to finish the front of my Aran sweater before I resume), i still follow a fair few quilters on Insta.  But Friedlander is the one who stands above the rest.  Anyway, love the two-tone blue quilt here.  So. Much.  My blue-loving older daughter would also love it.  Maybe . . .   I also love the kids’ book Blue on Blue.  Also, so good.

I’ve been delving into easy reading lately.  I’m loving LIane Moriarty, and my old favorite Maeve Binchy.  Currently “reading” Week in Winter.

The Blues – Aerial Grove Quilt

The aerial grove design is by Carolyn Friedlander, undoubtedly my favorite quilt designer.  I’d had my eye on doing a version of this quilt ever since I got a copy of her book, Savor Each Stitch (not surprisingly, my favorite quilting book.)  Finally, I decided to give it a go.

The primary motif in the quilt is a series of columns of appliqued circles of different fabrics.  I did fewer circles than she’d recommended for a full-size quilt, since I was planning a baby quilt, though I wasn’t originally sure of the recipient.



For the appliqued circles, I used essentially every piece of blue fabric I owned.  For the rest of the quilt, I used predominantly neutral fabrics, with a few light blueish pieces thrown in for interest.  Most of the neutrals were Friedlander fabrics, as I think she makes the best neutrals in the business, while the blues were a wide assortment of fabrics.  I didn’t buy any new fabric for this quilt (a first, I think), and you can see scraps of nearly every quilt I’ve made somewhere in this one.


For the back, I used primarily a couple of Lotta Jansdotter fabrics.  (She is another of my favorite designers.)


The binding is a pink print from Carolyn’s Carkai collection.


Once again I used my favorite batting, 100% wool from Quilter’s Dream.  As always, it’s a bit harder to work with, but I love how light and warm the resulting quilt is.  For this particular quilt, it does a nice job showcasing the free-motion quilting.



I did the entire quilt in Aurifil Make 50 Wt in White (2024).  This includes both the machine piecing, hand-applique of the circles, hand-sewing the binding, and the quilting.


I copied the quilting that Carolyn did on her Aerial Grove quilt.  She did entirely straight-line quilting, vertical and horizontal, mostly alternating in direction and width from block to block.  The piecing beyond the middle is improvised, and I was definitely a little intimidated in try this approach for the first time, but I’m happy with how it worked out.  While this in theory could be done with a regular foot, I think you’d be mad with the turning by the time you were done, so I FMQed the entire thing.  The biggest challenge was going around the appliqued circles.



I did my usual double-fold binding hand-sewn to the back.  I also did a hand-appliqued label.


Right around the time I started this quilt, my brother and his wife became pregnant, after much waiting.  I can’t think of anyone I more wanted to make a quilt for than my brother’s first baby, Rita.  Anyway, hopefully the quilt will be well-beaten up by the next time I see it.



The year in review: Sewing and knitting

I did comparatively less crafting in 2016 as compared to 2015.  About halfway through, the exercise bug bit me, and I’ve found I really only have time for one serious hobby.  I can do more than one hobby half-heartedly, and I can do some reading, but I can’t really engage with both crafting and exercising.  Perhaps as the kids get older, that will change.  Nevertheless, I did finish a few projects last year.

I started with a baby quilt for a friend’s little girl.  This project was based on a Red Pepper Quilts pattern, and I had to learn how to sew curves.  That was definitely challenging.




My next project was a throw quilt for my uncle who is battling a recurrence of stage IV colon cancer.  He mentioned that chemo made him cold, so I made him a quilt with wool batting but all cotton on the outside.  It was quite an undertaking as it was quite large, and each square had to be cut out and individually placed.  I bought fabric for the recurring diamonds but otherwise used exclusively scraps.


Next up, I made a couple of fully lined tote bags for L’s  preschool teachers.


I also made progress on my Farmer’s Wife quilt.  I have between 40 and 50 blocks pieced now; that probably means I’m somewhere between a quarter and a third done with the project.  Ah well – I’ll finish it sometime.



I ventured into the world of garment sewing last year as well.  I have mixed feelings on it.  I was quite pleased with the outcome of my first project, a dress for L:


My second project was a lot more work.  I learned a lot making a princess dress.  I was frustrated, and had to rip out lots of stitches, and the finished product was far from perfect.  Nevertheless, it was overall fun, and I’m sure I’ll do better the next time.  The hardest part by far was the gathering.  The skirt and the bustles were extremely full and required very tight gathering which was quite hard.  My solution in the end was to use 18 weight thread for the gathering.  I have heard others recommend yarn.  50 weight thread just broke and broke and broke.


I didn’t sew much else that I can recall, and I had no “finished objects” knit.  However, I did start a new knitting project that I’m quite excited about.  St. Brigid has been on my bucket list for many years, and I finally decided to take a crack at it.  I obviously have a long way to go, but I’m excited about this project.  Hopefully I’ll finish it in a year or so.


I’m not sure where sewing will take me in 2017.  I’m working on an Aerial Grove quilt from Carolyn Friendlander’s awesome quilt book, Savor Each Stitch.  I’d love to do another Friendlander quilt, or maybe another Red Pepper Quilts design.  Hopefully I’ll manage at least a couple of quilts this year.  I’d like to do some knitting as well.  We’ll see where the mood takes me.

I’d also like to try some new type of crafting this year – maybe embroidery, or cross-stitch (which I’ve done before, but not for many years) or perhaps weaving.  Weaving would require a loom, which runs around $300 for a decent one.  I love wool, and I’m very intrigued by the possibilities of weaving.  My inspiration comes from photos from Virtual Yarns.


farmer’s wife quilt – 40 blocks down

After taking a break to make a baby quilt for a friend and a second quilt for my uncle, I returned to my somewhat neglected Farmer’s Wife Quilt.  I find making these blocks quite enjoyable, if a bit time-consuming.  The easiest ones probably take an hour or so, and the harder ones far longer.  I am shutting down any perfectionist notions and forging ahead despite imperfections, and I do think that in the context of a large quilt, mismatched points and the like will not be particularly noticeable.

I actually did seven blocks sometime earlier this year that I never blogged about.  It’s been so long since I made them, I don’t remember much about them.

#24 Country Path

I like the way the colors worked out on this one – dark and medium brown with subtle purple and pinkish orange.

#25 Cups and Saucers

I think I recall this one being harder than it looked, but again, I’m happy with the outcome and the colors.

#26 Cut Glass Dish

This block is arguably one of the harder blocks in the quilt with a total of 51 pieces, many of them small, and triangles are always more troublesome than rectangles.  I’m not thrilled with how it came out, but it’ll do.  The photos is appropriately a bit blurry as well.

#27 Darting Birds

I’m not wild about the colors here.  I seem to recall having a bit of trouble with this one.

#28 Duck and Ducklings

#29 Economy

I always find fussy cutting a huge pain and often don’t manage it well, so I’m pleased that I managed to center the buck in the square and not chop off feet or antlers.

#30 End of Day

A nice mix of purple and peach

That ends the older batch.  The most recent batch I did over the last couple of weeks and consists of blocks #31 to #40.

#31 Evening Star

This one was an easy one.

#32 Farmer’s Daughter

Very similar to #31, though with a few more pieces.

#33 Farmer’s Puzzle

The original Farmer’s Puzzle is a swastika with a cross through it.  I am blown away by the number of people who make the quilt block as is.  I flipped two of the arms, turning it into a bow.  I don’t know how much I love the block, but better than a swastika on my quilt.

#34 Flock

#35 Flower Basket

I used water to curve a straight rectangular piece into the handle and appliqued it on.  I’m not thrilled with how it turned out, as I would have liked it to be more curved, especially at the ends.  I forgot that using an iron with lots of steam can make the handle a lot easier.

#36 Flower Garden Path

This was a tough one.  The way the paper piecing was done required sewing Y-seams in order to assemble it.  I think with adjustments to the paper piecing layout this could be avoided, but it worked out OK in the end.

#37 Flower Pot

This one also required sewing Y-seams on the flower bud.  I think it’s a pretty block.


This block took forever, with a total of about 65 pieces.  It wasn’t really hard, just long.

#39 Friendship Block

A pretty and easy block and a nice break after the one before it.

#40 Friendship Block

Another easy block, and I like the colors.

That’s 40 blocks down and about 70 to go.  I’ve been working on this about 5 months now, off and on.  It’s definitely not a quick project, especially considering adding sashing to these blocks and assembling the quilt will be a ton of work, and probably a bit monotonous.  I’m hoping to make the blocks into a kind-sized quilt for either our bedroom or our guest room, probably the latter, so it doesn’t suffer as much wear but is primarily decorative.

I’m taking a break now to sew a little dress for L, and then I’ll come back and do another ten blocks.


Scrappy Irish chain quilt

I created my scrappy Irish chain quilt using the Red Pepper Quilts tutorial.   The tutorial was easy to follow, and I’m quite pleased with the result.  I made mine with twenty blocks rather than twenty-five, resulting in a finished quilt 56″ by 70″.  Each block is 7 by 7 squares (49 squares total) and each square is 2×2 inches.


The main motif was made using three four fabrics:

Grid Bits in Gold from Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander

Dentals in Pepper from Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander

Breeze in Sky from Doe by Carolyn Friedlander

Essex in White by Robert Kaufmann

The rest of the quilt was done using scraps left over from previous projects.  I didn’t purchase any new fabric for the 55 to 60% of the quilt that wasn’t part of the main motif.  It was definitely good to thin down my scrap storage a bit, though I still have plenty left.

The binding was done with Essex in Ivory by Robert Kaufmann.

The back was done with some extra Friedlander and Lotta Jansdottir fabric, as well as a large piece of green and white fabric I don’t know the origin of.


Once again I used my favorite batting, 100% wool from Quilter’s Dream.  As always, it’s a bit harder to work with, but I love how light and warm the resulting quilt is.  I had it draped over me as I was sewing the binding, and it felt lovely.


Piecing and hand-sewing the binding was done with Aurifil Mako 50 Wt in White (2024).  Quilting was done with Aurifil Mako 40 Wt in Natural White (2021).  I also used 2021 to sew the binding to the front of the quilt.


I straight-line quilted the whole thing in a 4-inch grid, just like the last quilt I did.  A four inch grid should be plenty to make it sturdy and robust to heavy use, but it’s light enough quilting to keep the quilt nice and soft.


As usual, I did a double fold binding and hand-sewed it to the back.  I also did my usual hand-appliqued label on the back as well.

The quilt is intended for my uncle who is fighting a recurrence of Stage 4 colon cancer.  The chemo makes him so sensitive to the cold, he has to use gloves to get things out of the freezer.  I’m hoping a wooly quilt will be useful even though the weather is warming.