Finished Mom’s mini quilt

If you couldn’t tell by some of my previous posts, I was pretty unenthusiastic about this quilt. I had such lofty goals for this quilt. It was for my mom, and when I picked the fabrics out, I looooved them and couldn’t imagine how they would go together in a way that didn’t look beautiful. I was mistaken, and lost all enthusiasm for a while.

But, I needed to actually finish the thing  because I didn’t want to waste a fabric, and after I decided on a layout for a large sized mini quilt, I thought I could, if nothing else, use it as an opportunity to practice some pretty free motion quilting. As the quilt isn’t modern at all, and seemed a bit, well, I’m not sure how to describe it. Classical? Traditional batik? I don’t know, I thought some more traditional quilting would work on it.

And you know, now that isn’t quilted and finished, I actually really like it. It’s quite pretty, delicate, and  I think it still shows off my own developing quilt style. Plus I learned how to quilt paisleys!


I did cream thread on the cream fabric, and a dark purple on the purple areas. I quilted paisleys everywhere except the middle purple, where I did straight lines to break up the paisleys and frame the center, and the center purple where I did a freehand flower-ish thing with bubbles, which were a PAIN, but look okay.

15778049882_6567863814_oHere is a closeup of the center. These were my first attempt pebbling or bubbling, and there are some mistakes, but I don’t think anyone is going to look that closely.

15157056963_f32a598227_oA closeup of the paisleys in progress. The purple thread was not as forgiving as the cream, and so I had to rip out some a few times and quilt more carefully, but overall, for a first quilt with this particular filler, I’m pretty happy.

15870425975_0eb38d59a5_oThis quilt is my first quilt where the spray basting totally failed me. Whatever brand I used this time just didn’t hold anything together, so I have some serious pucker issues. I just sewed right over them to flatten them and hope no one holds it against me. By the time I realized how bad it was it was far too late.

15677140917_281eb5979c_oThe really good thing about this quilt, and a pleasant surprise considering all of my ups and downs with it is that for the first time, I have produced a quilt where I think the back is really just about as pretty as the front. I just love the differences of textures on top of the Kaffe Fassett fabric.

The stats
Size: 36″x36″
Fabric: various batiks on the front. Backing and binding is this purple striped Kaffe Fassett.
Thread: pieced and quilted with gutermann. ditched with superior threads bottom line.
Started/Completed: June 2014/November 2014


linking back to Q4 finish


When things don’t turn out as planned

A long while ago, I promised my mom I’d make a quilt for her. Now, lots of people have asked me to make a quilt for them, and I try to stress to cost and time it takes to do that, and usually this gets me out of it (I promise I do love making quilts, and making quilts for specific people, but gosh golly it can be a huge time commitment and is surprisingly costly – like in the hundreds of dollars range), but mom is a special exception. Like, duh. She said she wanted something simple and in just two colors – lavender and gray. Every pattern we looked at that she liked ended up being a pretty classic, traditional pattern like Jacob’s Ladder or a simple nine patch, so that’s what I figured I would make. But then the Downton Abbey line of fabric came out, specifically, the Dowager Countess line (this is no reflection on my mother, teehee). and I thought those would work perfectly.

For a while, at least. Then, in March, I went to the Dallas Quilt Show with my cousin and found this adorable bundle of lilac and cream batiks and my original idea went out the window. I collected a few more fabrics and slowly my idea evolved to where instead of gray, I was going to use cream, and in my head I had this beautiful watercolor-ish quilt planned, using the Carpenter’s Star pattern.



Even though I’m rather “meh” about most batiks, I thought these looked lovely.

So I got them all pressed and starched, and tried several different pairings to make sure that the fabrics would look nice next to each other, and then started cutting away.

Finally getting around to cutting the fabric for my mom's quilt. She said she wanted lavender and gray, which after being translated in my head and many, many fabric auditions, turned into a range of purple and cream #batiks. #quilt #quilting #quiltplanni

So far so good. I even tried a new technique where to get a 6.5″ square made of two HST, I cut two pieces 10″, sewed all along the outside, and then cut the 10″ block diagonally each way, like this –

Then I laid then all out in the Carpenter’s Square pattern, and it was awful. Just… horrible. I could have cried I was so disappointed. There was no way, with what I had cut, I could salvage it to my liking. But I liked this fabric, even if some of my fabric combinations weren’t working, and I thought I could salvage this in some way, by trying a different arrangement.

So here are a few different layouts I’m considering. I may need to cut some more fabrics to get it perfect, but I have plenty and this is a start.

Idea 1

Idea 2, which I like more and will probably go with (extending the borders out a bit, since this only uses about a quarter of my cut fabric)

I didn’t even take a picture of my original, the Carpenter’s Square. It was terrible. I couldn’t commit it to camera because it was so bad I never wanted anyone to know I actually thought it might turn out well. (Seriously, Bria. What were you thinking?!?)

Still, neither of these new configurations are screaming “This is a beautiful quilt!” My SIL saw them and said they’d look amazing in 1987, which is a little harsh (only a little though), because there is a part of me I suppose that’s perfectly at home in 1987. Just kidding.

Anyway, the most important thing is going to be whether or not my mom likes it, because if she does, it doesn’t matter one bit whether or not I feel like these represent my artistic direction or nonsense like that. It’s my MOM.

In fact, this may turn out okay in the end. With a simple, even plain piecing configuration, I now have a great canvas to try some really lovely quilting. I thought I might grab some big medallion stencils for this to try something new.

And if mom hates it, she can use it as a table runner for a while or something, and I’ll make her a proper quilt in the fabric scheme she originally asked for.

What I’m currently working on

Now that I’ve finished ONE project that’s been in the works for a few years, I’m able to start on a few others.

Two of them I’ve gotten no further than just making fabric choices. One is for my mother. She requested something simple and traditional, using only lavender and gray. I had originally thought I’d use the purples from the Downton Abbey line from Andover, but a few months ago at a quilt show in Dallas I found a bundle of cream, gray and lilac batiks that just spoke to me. Since I couldn’t find any prints that went with the batiks I opted to go totally batik and picked up a few more from The pattern I’ve decided on is an oversized Carpenter’s Star.


I’m not a big fan of really saturated and bright batiks, but these more muted colors are lovely, and I’m really looking forward to getting started on this. I *hope* to have this done for Christmas, but that’s just six months away and I have two other gift quilts that have to be done in that time, as well as making several small projects for gifts.

Another project that I’ve got to get started on is a baby quilt for my dear friend at Lattes and Rainy Days for baby #3, their second son. I “met” Kirsten in October of 2010, after she called into a radio show on EWTN (Catholic radio station) to ask for prayers for her first son, Ewan, who was born with some complex heart defects. I followed her blog, and came to know her through that and other social media. My heart broke into a million pieces when Ewan passed, and ever since then she and I have shared letters and texts and emails and I so want to give her something to share in the joy of this new baby. I don’t have the talent for words like she does to tell her how special I think her family is, so hopefully this quilt will convey a part of my feelings.

I haven’t ironed out the final plan, but I’ve decided on this color scheme, and I think I want to attempt something much more modern than I’ve ever done, with lots of negative space and very simple straight line quilting.
14440173676_5e03779d1b_bThat’s Kona Espresso in the background, with various blue prints I’ve got in my stash (you’ll see some solids in the stack, but I don’t think I will use those).

I’m all linked up here!

Molli Sparkles