Butterfly quilt

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I took on a quilting job that was not for my mom. One of my remote co-workers had seen pictures of my quilts and loved them. She was working on a baby quilt of her own and was not happy with the quilting she had started.

So, she asked if I would quilt it for her – for PAY even!


This is how the quilt arrived – basted and some preliminary lines done. She said she wasn’t sure she liked what she had already done, so if I had other ideas, it was totally okay to take them out if I wanted.


So I did. Honestly, this was the bulk of the work.


I pressed the top and the backing quite throughly and basted it again to new batting, replacing the 100% poly with a 50/50 blend.


And boy howdy did I have ideas! I thought it would be best to have Mctavishing in the white blocks, and a feathery design on the pink triangles.

I settled on a heart & feather combo. I did use a template for this and stitched over tracing paper to have a design to follow.

I did also stitch in the ditch on the seam lines, but only the pink ones – not inner ones on white blocks. These were mostly diagonal and just to divide the quilt into sections for quilting.


Back view – you can see I just went around the butterflies and left them unquilted.


The finished quilt! I machine bound it with strips cut off the backing when I trimmed it after quilting.


Here’s a close up of the crinkly goodness after I washed and dried it. I always do this for quilts I know that will be used.


Overall back view.

When Corinne received her quilt back in the mail she was SO HAPPY.

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.

Appliqued baby name quilt

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When I heard I was going to be a grandmother for the third time in four years, well of course my first thought was what quilt I was going to make.

Okay, maybe that was my second thought.

After I made this baby quilt, I figured you would love to have this free baby quilt pattern. It was super fast and easy to make.

I had a yard or two of a lovely fabric with dancing bunnies in pretty pastel Easter gowns. It was perfect after we knew we would be expecting another girl. I pulled some somewhat matching tiny prints for the letters for the front of the quilt.

baby quilt letter placement

For the front piece of the baby quilt, I used about a yard of a tone on tone off-white print. It’s about 30-36″ by the 42″ width of the fabric. Then I cut the letters freehand from the fat quarters I had chosen to complement the print on the back.

The letters could also be done with a large thick font. My size was about as big as a regular sheet of printer paper, so you could draw them out on paper first and then cut them from the fabric.

It would be smarter as well, to fuse some fusible web to the back of the fabric before cutting out the letters. I didn’t, and it made my work a bit harder.

Also if you have a name with a lot more letters, you will need to make the letters smaller so they all fit. If you’re not sure, do a test with paper letters first.

baby quilt testing fabric placement


You can see here how I didn’t like the original fabric for the letter A and swapped it for a yellow instead.

fusing letters in place on baby quilt


Here’s the quilt on my design board with the letters pinned in place to test placement. You can go vertically in a straight line – mark a guide line if you like – or go all funky and wonky.

Fuse the letters in place. This is mostly to hold them down before appliquéing.  I used a blanket stitch that came on my Bernina Aurora 440 Quilter’s Edition. A zig zag will also work perfectly fine.

back of baby quilt


Baste the top and bottom together with your favourite batting and quilt away! I used an allover paisley design, and went around the letters entirely, adjusting the design to fit. This is great practise for any allover design you want to try. And a baby quilt is a great size to practise on.

I also used a pretty Sulky variegated thread in pink / green / yellow. It matched perfectly.

easy fast baby quilt


You can see here how puffy the letters look. The only thing I would do different now is to outline quilt the letters.



I bound the quilt in a jade green dot that was actually from a line of Christmas fabric. It works though!

I always pre-wash my quilt, so after coming out of the washer and dryer, the cotton fabrics and cotton batting crinkled up so nicely. It looks like a family heirloom already.

This is a super easy and fast quilt to through together. Just make sure the parents don’t change the name before birth, if you are making one ahead of time. 😉

Too much on the go

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I did not get a lot of quilting or sewing time in this week, just a bit here and there.

For Ayla, the teeniest grandbaby, I did start to whip up some much needed pants from some clothes I was tossing anyway. Mini yoga pants made out of my old yoga pants, and another pair made from long sleeves cut off a too-large tshirt from one of my daughters.

I worked on the back of Ayla’s quilt as well, slicing the back fabric in two and inserting a strip out white. It was just a teeny bit too short for the back, so I had to do something. In the strip I fused on some letters for her name. I will applique around then, and even though I’m not a fan of doing applique I will do it for her. 😀 I haven’t yet done much applique on my Bernina so maybe that will change my mind. Currently trying to decide between regular satin stitch or something fancier. (leaning towards buttonhole stitching – or maybe a different one on each letter?)

I also did some work on the two purses I have to make, one for my mom, one for my BFF Rebecca. And darn it, I realized I had enough leftover fabric to make matching wallets. And I can’t find the pattern I had, but the idea won’t leave me. I also thought I mis-cute some fabric for one purse, cut new pieces, then realized I was right the first time. That’s when I knew maybe I was too tired to concentrate.

And I still have to repair a purse for my aunt, for her birthday. That was in April. (oops)

Too much to do! Not just in my sewing spot. :-/

Jemseg Dahlia

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This is a really old quilt block that I canot even find on the Internet. It’s apparently a local variation, hence the name “Jemseg” Dahlia.

They are big blocks – 18″ square and since there is some hand gathering and hand applique I am making one whole block for a wall hanging.

I’m considering making a pattern if there’s interest.

Click through the images to see notations for each.