Friday, January 31, 2014

long strips in happy spring colors

For my granddaughter, due March 12.

First photo below is the pieced quilt top before layering it with batting and backing. I was inspired by this quilt by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts to sew strips of fabric. I knew I wanted olive green, turquoise and other lively colors, and I wanted them to seem random and eclectic, though cohesive. It took me quite a while to study Rita's quilt to understand that the reason the spectrum of colors and fabrics works together is that each fabric is analogous to the one next to it. In mine, except for the solid olive green and turquoise in the bottom half, each fabric also has a color that is in the fabric next to it, the way Rita designed hers.

You can see that the quilt is not as small as a baby size, but not as large as a twin.

quilt front;
finished size 40" x 63", a little long I think;
I took a nap under it a few days ago, and I fit.

A couple decades ago I made quilts, piecing on the machine and quilting by hand. I gave up the craft when carpal tunnel kept me from quilting those little stitches, which can take weeks to finish. Now I have arthritis, making hand stitching even less likely. But I decided I can machine quilt, something I was dead set against back then! I added one line of hand stitching to this quilt, with thread from Grandma Olive's sewing box. It must be at least 75 years old. I wanted to use silk from that box, but it disintegrated as I handled it. The thread I used (in the top row of stitching) feels like flax or linen.

Below is the back. The problem with machine quilting for a novice like me is 1) there are puckers and gathers on the front, and 2) it's even worse on the back, oh and 3) my lines aren't straight. (One could argue that these make it look homemade.) I'm reading up on machine quilting and have now ordered a walking foot for the machine, which is supposed to feed all layers evenly for straight line stitching like this and helps prevent puckering.

back, with puckers

back bottom corner; this would be cute in a girl's dress, too
front top corner, with one row (top) hand stitched with Grandma Olive's thread;
I think the top fabric with green and pink is my favorite
front with cute animal print; Andrea likes owls and Peter likes foxes;
what will baby like?
I'm happy with all these fabrics together

I could have gone with any color from the quilt for the binding;
but I ended up wanting to emphasize the olive green;
I chose a fabric not in the quilt;
next quilt I will make the binding strips a little wider
so that it doesn't feel so stiff;
I love making continuous bias tape binding,
instructions here


  1. Ruth-I love your quilt. New babies in our family are welcomed with a crib quilt. I have made quilts for the grandchildren as they mature and it's such fun tailoring the designs and pattern to their individual interests and personalities. You will LOVE your walking foot-it makes machine quilting very gratifying. I'm enjoying your new sites. Ingrid.

    1. Ingrid! I love hearing from you (and I love that you follow me to these places). Your family's babies are so very fortunate to have you making quilts. And of course you and I know that we are very fortunate to have this love of family in our lives, and this special way to express it. Thank you for affirming the walking foot. I can't wait to use it! I wonder if you have used a free motion foot? The header quilt is James's, one I only got halfway through because of my hands. I'd like to finish it with curvy lines on the machine, and I'm hoping the free motion foot will make that easier!

  2. I have experimented unsuccessfully with a free motion foot. My samples are a mess. However, my Mother is a master at free motion quilting and she loves it. I think I just need to practice more. I wanted to tell you that your color and print choices make me think of Scandinavian design-so light and airy.

    I'm really enjoying learning from 'Nomadic Days and Nights'. When I was newly graduated from college, my family went with a group of Social Studies teachers to Central Asia and Outer Mongolia. We spent several days each in Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent and traveled to Ulaanbaatar on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. We still reminisce and laugh about that adventure! Ingrid

    1. Well then I will practice, practice, practice first before trying free motion on James's. I'm glad you like the colors and design, and you're right about Scandinavian, which I had not thought of. This is all the more special because this baby is very connected with my Grandma Olive, who was Swedish (born in Chicago though).

      And with a name like Ingrid, are you Scandinavian? :)

      But wow wow double wow that you and your family traveled to those cities, and on the railroad. Goodness gracious my eyes are popping out of my head!! Of all the places to go, very unusual! I'd love to know more ...

  3. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I hope Olive keeps this the rest of her life, however long it may be. Wouldn't that be just divine...G'ma Ruth's quilt forever alive! This is just wonderful, Sister. I'm so very proud of you!!

    1. Boots, thank you for your enthusiasm! And I have added the follow button finally, after finding it. :)

  4. BTW, are you going to add a Subscribe option to this blog? I'd love it....because I don't want to miss anything.