Saturday, April 1, 2017

K's Quilt

You may have noticed I've been sort of absent on social media lately. When that happens, it usually means that I'm so wrapped up in a project that I just can't tear myself away. A couple of weeks ago I had a sudden need to make a quilt. My daughter sent me a heartbreaking message that a friend of hers (one of the first people she met when she started college) had been diagnosed with cancer and was anticipating chemotherapy after surgery. My daughter wondered whether I was up for making a quilt. I didn't need even a split second to answer that question and immediately went into overdrive to make it as quickly as possible.

About three years ago I had made another suddenly-needed quilt for someone. That quilt was much smaller to be used with a wheelchair, but I remembered that it only took a few days to make. I decided to make that pattern--All in a Row by Leni Levenson Wiener from her book 3-Fabric Quilts. I liked the modern simplicity of the design. Here's what that quilt looked like:

This quilt needed to be bigger--I thought roughly 60 inches square would work nicely. My daughter's only instruction was to make it pretty--cheerful. I spent a lot of time at a local fabric store taking pictures of fabric and consulting with my daughter by message (what did I ever do before I had a smartphone?!!) before settling on these two fabrics for the main part of the quilt:

I'm not sure what drew me to these, but I thought they had kind of a folkloric vibe. And later while I was sewing, I discovered that the brighter fabric actually has ghost images of the circles in the lighter fabric. Do you see them? (Look above the butterfly.) And they are from two different designers and fabric companies. 

That decision was pretty easy, but I got stuck when picking the accent fabric for the squares. I thought I wanted some kind of orange print but never found exactly what I was looking for. I ended up buying several orange and reddish fabrics as well as some yellow and then tried out lots of variations. None of the arrangements of orange alone, yellow alone, or a combination of the two seemed right. Finally after lots of experimenting with my Quiltography app (LOVE that app) I decided to combine the yellow and orange into a bordered square. Before cutting fabric I "made" the block with my app. (The yellow here is not what I ended up with, but it was what I had in my "stash" on my app at the time.)

I actually tried several widths of the border and laid them out as whole quilts on the app and then sent the various versions in a message to my daughter to see what she liked best. We settled on 2 1/2 inch yellow squares with 3/4 inch borders (finished). 

Did I say I LOVE this app? Oh, I did? Yes, I do. I could waste a lot of time just making virtual quilts. 

It took me a long time to settle on those squares, but once I did, sewing the quilt top was a snap. And then the back... I tried out several backs on my Quiltography app based on the amount of fabric I had left.

I settled on the third one, with some added orange borders on the yellow strip. The scale of the fabrics isn't right, but it did help me choose how I wanted to make the back. 

Inspired by the luscious wavy quilting that Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts does, I tried my own wavy quilting. Well maybe I should call mine wobble quilting. I have a long way to go to master the smooth curves of the technique, but it was fun and added a wonderful puffy texture. I decided to do a matched binding--well not matched. Maybe reverse matched? Fun! I'm pretty sure I'll make this quilt again someday. I keep thinking of different ways to do the fabric combinations--but I would also like to try the wavy quilting in the same direction as the strips instead of across them. In fact, I had second thoughts about doing the lines crosswise when I was halfway done, but it would have been REALLY dumb to pick out what I had done and start over!

Okay, how about some pictures? Of the real quilt.  A lot of pictures. It was raining all day yesterday and now there are big puddles at the base of the fence I usually use for photo shoots. So my husband came to the rescue with his long arms and held up the quilt on the front porch. Today is delightfully sunny with almost no breeze!! Yippee!

I also tried some photos in our crabapple tree sans leaves.

Some breeze back there and dappled sunlight, but still fun.

How about some close ups?

Did you catch that reverse-matched binding?

Super close-up. Do you see my initials and date in teeny tiny stitches?

Oh, why not a few more?

Here are the stats:
Design: Variation of All In A Row by Leni Levenson Wiener
Fabric: Faithfully Yours by Barb Tourtillotte for Clothworks; Roman Glass in Pastel by Kaffe Fassett for Free Spirit; Timeless Treasures of SoHo Studio C 3096 in Citrus (the yellow); Wild by Nature by Kathy Deggendorfer for Maywood Studio (orange). Plus two reddish orange fabrics that I don't have records of. 
Binding: Reverse matched to main fabrics on front. Cut 2 1/4 inches wide and folded for 3/8 inch width. 
Threads: Superior Masterpiece in Granite for piecing. Superior King Tut in Mint Julep for the quilting on the front and in Temple in the bobbin. (Same combination I used on the last quilt I made. I thought I would use up the Mint Julep, but it looks like there's enough for another quilt. Neverending thread cone!!) Superior Treasure Hand Quilting in Old Lace for the hand part of the binding. 
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Premium 80/20 Bleached Cotton
Size: 61 by 61 inches after piecing; 60 1/4 by 59 3/4 inches after quilting and binding; 58 inches square after machine washing on cold and drying on low.

I pieced K's Quilt on my Singer Featherweight and quilted it with a walking foot on my Singer 115 treadle. 

With the two-colored squares, the quilt has lost the graphic punch of the original design, and maybe it's a little more traditional than folkloric, but I like it. I love the pretty prints and cheerful colors.

One more picture of the yummy texture after washing:

It was fun sharing this quilt with you. But I haven't lost site of the serious need to make it. K's Quilt will soon be on it's way to her with hopes that it will be a comforting hug during therapy and with prayers for healing. God knows she's been on my mind throughout this whole project.

Because I made this quilt feverishly on the spur of the moment, I'm linking to mmm! quilts for the DrEAMi party, even though it's not the kind of DrEAMi project we should ever have to make. Isn't that the way it is so often with quilts that suddenly need to be made? I'm glad I could do it, though. I'm also linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Sew Fresh Quilts for their next weekly linky parties. 


  1. What a comforting quilt. She will love it and every time she uses it, she will feel the love and caring that went into it.

  2. When I saw that one of the main fabrics was "Faithfully Yours", I thought that was just perfect. What more can we give someone in a situation like this than the assurance that they can count on a circle of friends and family who will stand with them, wrapping them in love and quilts?

    1. Beautifully said, Beth. I agree-- this quilt will give your daughter's friend hope and strength.

  3. What a great quilt! The layout is simple but the fabrics really make it look complex. I'm sorry that you had to make this, though! Best wishes to the patient.

  4. Not all Dreami moments can be exhilarating, some are sobering. I would have said Yes too. This is what we do. You made a beautiful quilt - very cheerful. So much love and thought went into the quilt - fabric choices, back and forth messages, design changes and I love the pieced back. I am sure it will bring the much-needed comfort to K.
    Hugs to you.

  5. Oh, JanineMarie! This is so beautiful, so thoughtful, so comforting! I teared up a little reading your post. I love these fabrics together, and how you bordered the little squares. K will love this quilt, I just know it! I'll hold her in my thoughts for a full and speedy recovery.

    Thank you for sharing all this goodness from your heart today.

  6. Love your quilt for your daughters friend I'm sure it will give her a lot of comfort . I'm a fan of the wobbly quilting myself . And ... there's quilting apps ... for smart phones ....

  7. I love the look of this quilt Janine. Great colors and sort of a Bohemian feel to it, which is one of my favorites. I'm very sorry to hear about your family friend and hope she has the best possible outcome. The process getting there is rough and I know this quilt will provide comfort during the process of healing.

  8. So sad about your daughter's friend but the quilt is the perfect accompaniment for chemo. I made two of my nieces quilts for that very thing, and they were both just thrilled. I think the fact you had fun while making it - that makes it a kind of prayer quilt. I feel that any joy that is put into our creations transfers to the recipient.

    I love so many things about this quilt - your color and fabric combos, the quilting, and the reverse binding is brilliant!

    After all these months of intending to buy Quiltography, reading your post gave me the final push to purchase the app! Now I'll look forward to teaching myself to use it. So thanks!

  9. It's such a beautiful quilt. I'm sure it will bring her comfort when she goes to therapy.
    Some times life is just so tough.

  10. A wonderful quilt, love your colour combos! Your quilting looks great, am tempted to give 'wobbily' quilting a go too!

  11. This is a fabulous quilt for your daughter's friend and will no doubt cheer and comfort her tremendously. What a sweet gift for her and an inspiration for the rest of us.

  12. This should bring some sunshine to your daughter's friend. Very nice

  13. A sad but lovely story and a beautiful quilt for someone facing such a big challenge. It will give her comfort to know that her friend, your daughter, collaborated in making something so special in her time of need.

  14. I just love it! I received a quilt when I was undergoing chemo and it made a world of difference. I felt so special and loved. A beautiful quilt!

  15. Can you share your technique for matching exactly where the seams for the reverse binding land, so they match the quilt? I struggle with getting my seams of binding in the corners, so a new hint may be in order. Thanks!

  16. So sad that there is a need for this, but it is a beautiful quilt. I love your fabric choices and it is so sunny and cheerful; perfect to offer comfort and lift the spirits.