I’m on a roll!

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Not only am I on a roll with posting but with finishing up all the pending quilt projects. I’m been a great starter – tons of idea, loads of fabric to play with – and a terrible finisher.

One reason is I’ll stall on a project because I ran out of materials. This really hit home when I looked at the pile of quilt tops waiting. Last year I even went through and chose backing fabrics. Then recently I realized I had so many tops, it would use an enormous amount of batting to finish them off.

So I waited for a batting sale to come up.

While I waiting, it dawned on me that batting comes on a roll as well. Our local fabric chain carries it (not my LQS) and the price? $25-30 a METER. That’s… not good. Especially since I’m increasingly unhappy with batting in bags. It just gets so wrinkled and pulled out of shape and I wind up with a lot of scraps.

I cleaned out my batting scraps as well and tossed a bag full of nothing but stringy bits only good for tote bag handles. I’d have to make 50 totes to use those up so out they went. I will piece some batting, but I don’t like to have more than a couple seams of batting in a quilt.

Eventually I researched buying a whole roll of batting. The husband had enough of my fretting about it and he said “order some already!”.

Just before ordering I went through my entire stash of pending quilts and realized I would use up an ENTIRE ROLL right away.

So hubby said order two rolls.

And I did.

Guys! I ordered some batting. 60 yards of it. O.o

They were here within a week and I was SUPER HAPPY. That’s 60 total yards.

A few days ago, we cracked open the roll and basted two quilts in an hour, together.

I’m much happier with the roll – not only with the minimal folds and wrinkling in it, but it is also a 50/50 blend in a poplar brand that I hadn’t used before. It;s true – it really is the best of both worlds (cotton and poly).

Can’t wait to actually quilt on it now! I have two more basted quilts to go before I start on the ones we basted with this batting.

Then it’s maybe a dozen more quilt tops waiting. Why yes, I AM asking myself what the heck I was thinking…

Grey Tula Pink Parisville quilt

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When I went to hunt down previous posts about this quilt, I shocked myself in realizing it’s been over two years since I started this one.


At any rate, the top was done, or so I thought. Then I decided to use up all the jelly roll and make it bigger. All but 4 pieces, which I used as an ipad cozy. (Then I took it apart because I never actually USED it with my ipad. Those bits went in the scrap bin).

So. Then the top was done and waiting for batting and I FINALLY got around to quilting it.

Again inspired heavily by Angela Walters, not to copy it completely but to really learn from her techniques and example, I did a different design in each strip. I also did pebbling in all the grey negative spaces around the strips.

While I emphasized the print strips, for the grey parts I just went all out as if it were one piece. Because it is – the background.

FYI pebbling takes a LOT of thread. I think I used up 5 bobbins, easy. I’m starting to write this stuff down and take notes too.

This quilt wound up around a lap / twin size. I debated back and forth, and eventually listed it in my Etsy shop.

The Bee Quilt

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I took on my first real commissioned quilt. It may have even started this time last year. A friend in far away California wanted a special and very specific quilt made.

It needed to be linen.
It needed a shield design with bees.
It was for someone in the SCA, which has very specific rules. (basically historical re-enactors)

Now, up until then, I hadn’t worked with linen in a quilt and I have said in the past I didn’t really like applique. The image I was given for the shield was roughly 4″ high. The finished quilt needed to be queen/king/as large as possible.

Plus, this was for a friend, so I wanted it to be as perfect as possible, right?

Work on this really started in earnest back in October / November. the recipient finally got it last week. That is how long it took me. It might have taken less time without the creative angst.


I had to do a lot of manual figuring out of things. The natural linen I managed to find at an incredible price online and bought all of what they had left – it was either 8.5 or 10 yards. Just barely enough. The purple and yellow were bought locally at a chain store, 1 meter of yellow, 2 of purple.


The shield part I figured out by laying out on my own queen sized bed and draping the fabric. The width of the shield is the full 45″ width of the fabric. I drew the rest of the shield according to historical direction. I had to do the curves with a pencil and string compass.


For the bees, again I had to go by my best guesstimate. I took the image I was given, enlarged it significantly and cleaned it up in Photoshop the best I could, then I printed it out, traced it out while cleaning up and smoothing out the lines and checked the fit.


The yellow part of the shield was tricky and I did have to ask the client if the bee in this section needed to be bigger or not. Technically it should have been for greater accuracy but we decided this was good enough. I appliqued the contrast areas to each bee first, then applied them to the shield itself.


I then pinned the shield super carefully on the pieced top and sewed that on with a zig zag applique stitch like the rest.


When it came time to baste, some of the top and back was actually larger than the queen sized piece of batting. I did use 100% cotton batting. Lots of careful pinning and trimming here. This living / dining room of ours is a huge room, but we still had to push back one loveseat and the dining room table in order to baste the whole thing.


My design for quilting the shield area was all stippling and outlining the bees. This was for movement to mimic how bees seem to meander everywhere. in the main quilt background, I decided a simple crosshatch grid would not only look great but be reminiscent of medieval quilted armour padding. Especially good since it was this era the client re-enacted, so it would be close to historical. While I did machine quilt it, I also used 100% cotton thread here too. I have a super huge cone of beige thread that I’m still not sure when i might ever see the end of. I think it’s 10,000 yards.

I used my 18″ by 3″ wide ruler to help create the gird and marked it with tailor’s chalk in a rust color. It was slow going and I did get off course a bit but managed to correct it when I met in the middle.  I started at one side, then moved to the other to join up at the bottom front where I could work out any misalignments in a low visibility area.

Next time i Need to use a yardstick or something longer.


Back of the quilt showing some piecing.


Back of the shield area showing the bees.


The quilt after washing. YES I tossed it in my washer and dryer to see how it held up and to repair anything that needed to be resewn. Nothing came undone. I wanted this quilt to be able to handle the rigours of use. If you think a cotton quilt looks amazing after washing a linen one is fantastic. This is so warm feeling and heavy – not to mention soft. I had just barely enough linen left with some trimming to do the single fold binding. I think I cut 2″ strips, so it was quite narrow. I machine stitched it on.


The client is absolutely over the moon and I am super happy.

I did a few small projects after this one though. 😉 While working on this I think I went through two whole seasons of the X Files on Netflix.

From my notes, I used:
3 bobbins purple thread
7 bobbins beige thread

And spent 9 hours, 40 mins quilting, marking and making / applying binding. Does not include piecing or design time. That was at least another 3 hours.