I wanted to show you the quilt that I made for the daughter of a very dear friend two years ago. I’d made Jade a baby quilt when she was small, but she was turning 12 in 2018. Not a little girl anymore. It was time to make her a quilt that would carry her through her teens.
I don’t know what took me so long to post these photographs. This quilt is two years old, now!
Jade loves to read, if you haven’t guessed already.
I had so much fun choosing all the fabrics for the book spines and making things to put on the shelves! Everywhere I went, I had my eye out for just the right scrap or piece of trim.
There are a lot of things to look at in this quilt.
As I created each shelf, I imagined Jade laying on her bed with a book, or examining the quilt and discovering all the treasures I’d sewn into it.
I even tried some techniques I’d never done before. Broderie Perce, anyone? Broderie perce is a technique where each flower is cut out separately, laid out as you please, then sewn together to create a picture. In this case, a bowl of roses.
I put the bowl of roses on the shelf for a very specific reason. When I first told Jade I was making her a new quilt, she asked me for a “roses” quilt. Which she obviously didn’t get. This little bowl is a nod to that request.
The conditions weren’t the best the day we set out to photograph it. The light was all wrong, it was windy, the browns of early spring hadn’t yet given way to the colours of summer…
I hate to be a complainer, but I just have to tell you:
Too much hand quilting, knitting, typing, and gripping heavy weights at the gym have given me tennis elbow in both arms and caused the arthritis in my hands to flare up.
It’s my own fault. I let it go too far. I let it get away from me. I let it get to the point where it hurts to even pick up a cup of tea.
And that’s not all. Poor ergonomics in my sewing and writing life are affecting my shoulders, neck and back, which (not surprisingly) has worked it’s way down into the knees.
Because I’m a writer, I’m often at my laptop for several hours a day. If I want to continue, it’s imperative that I address the ergonomics problem.
Fortunately, I know what I have to do to fix it.
Yesterday I went to Staples and bought myself a properly adjustable office chair. My lower half notices the improved sitting situation already, but my shoulders are still complaining because the keyboard is too high.
In a perfect world, I’d buy a properly adjustable computer desk. But the reality is, we all have to work with what we’ve got. And what I’ve got is pretty small. My neighbour’s chicken coop is bigger!
Whatever modifications I make to my writing space cannot infringe on the rest of my very small house, and they also have to fall within my fixed-income budget.
Installing a sliding, adjustable keyboard tray (and new keyboard) under my sewing table and using my laptop like a desk computer may be the best solution.
The laptop can easily share real estate with the sewing machine. Both are lightweight & portable, and can easily be unplugged and set it aside to make room for the other. Mr. C will have the final say on whether or not the sewing table can be modified.
It may take a month or more, but getting back to my home yoga practice, doing physio & massage therapy for the elbows, and making these ergonomic fixes will hopefully take care of the worst of the problems.
Have you ever suffered repetitive strain injuries or dealt with ergonomic issues when sitting for long periods at the keyboard or sewing machine? Has knitting or hand quilting ever given you tennis elbow?
I wanted to make a quilt for my aunt, who has always been a very special person in my life. But time passes and things don’t get done and you know how it goes. (sigh)
So one day last spring I was sorting my sewing room and I came upon an unfinished quilt top. It’s one I started way back when. Before I had (mostly) mastered the art of matching corners, lol.
I’m not sure why I put it away and didn’t finish it. I think maybe I felt (at the time) that the colours were too bright, or maybe I didn’t like using grey for the background neutral. I really have no idea.
Anyway, it was spring when I pulled it out and all the spring flowers were in full bloom. I carried it out and took some pictures with the tulips. And oh my gosh…the quilt just sang!
Suddenly, every spring colour just jumped out at me, and I realized that every single colour was in the quilt. It screamed Spring!
That’s one of the things I love about Kate Spain’s fabrics. She really captures the colours in nature. 🙂
I looked at the grey background and thought of the soft spring rain that comes and melts all the snow, and makes the flowers bloom.
And I thought to myself, this quilt belongs to my aunt, whose favourite season just happens to be spring.
This is a lap-sized quilt made from the Cuzco collection by Kate Spain. The backing is cream flannel and it was hand quilted in a clam shell pattern. I didn’t wash and dry it before I sent it, but when she does, it will shrink a wee bit and pull around the stitches, creating that wonderful crinkly look that makes a quilt so soft and snuggly.
Since I put the first draft of the novel aside to simmer for awhile, I’ve been spending my time catching up on a few quilt projects.
I jumped on The Splendid Sampler quilt-along. The patterns for two 6-inch blocks are posted each week. At the end of the year, I will have 100 of the little buggers and one tremendously splendid quilt top!
I’m using mostly Kaffe Fasset scraps. Aren’t they beautiful? 🙂
It’s a fabulous learning experience. Each block is different, and each one seems to challenge me in a different way. The designer of today’s block says: “Try new techniques and crafts without judgement.” Excellent advice! Too often we stop ourselves from trying something new because we make a negative judgement about it…or about ourselves…without thinking it through. So what we’ve never done it before? So what it looks difficult? Why not try anyway? What’s the worst that could happen…it’s only thread and cloth, after.
I’ve also made up this little quilt for a soon-to-be-born baby girl. My god-daughter is having a baby! It’s all washed and crinkly and ready to snuggle the wee bairn. Lea – if you’re reading this, I just realized I don’t have your mailing address! Aaak! Send ASAP, lol!
30×40″…perfect for the car seat or stroller.
I think I like the back better than the front!
And then there’s this mess that I’ve been trying to force through my little machine. I started doing wavy lines and then changed my mind. I want straight lines instead. Good thing I have a skookum seam ripper!So that’s it for me. What’s up in your work room?
You must have guessed that I did some quilting during my recent 2 months visit in the Yukon, right?
Well, of course I did…and I took some pictures, too. Enjoy!
I know what food will taste like when I get to heaven…it will taste like Dee’s trifle. So when the Moda Trifle Dish sew-along happened, I knew who I was going to make this for.
Each row was designed by a different Moda Bakeshop guest blogger. I found that to be a bit of a challenge…
…because I had trouble getting them to all go together smoothly. I ended up adding or subtracting spacers between blocks, jigging things to get them to fit. But in the end, they did fit and I was pleased with the result.
Trifle is a sweet, old-fashioned dessert, so I decided to use sweet, old-fashioned 1930’s reproduction print fabrics, along with a variety of whites and a little bit of grey for the background. Everything came from my stash.
And speaking of sweet, old-fashioned, this truck belonged to Dee’s grandfather-in-law. Yes, this truck – the one right here in the picture! I think she’ll be surprised when she sees this photo, don’t you?
I added a row of decorator trim to the top edge to simulate whipped cream. Because, you know…trifle.
The backing is adorable! Look, it’s all baking items in lime green and bright pink! Dee is going to looooove it!!!
Trifle Dish was hand quilted with a #10 John James needle and 40-weight ecru-coloured hand-quilting thread in a shell pattern. I did actually start to do it by machine, but then picked it all out and did it by hand instead. Crazy. I know.
I wanted the photos of this quilt to be meaningful to Dee, so some of the pictures were taken in Carcross, Yukon, where Dee’s in-laws hail from (Hi George! Hi Millie! Hi Donna & Heather!)
And guess what…so do mine! (Hi Cal & Norma!). Now you know it’s a small world when your good friend’s in-laws and your in-laws all come from the same place that has a population of under 300.
Carcross is the sweetest little teeny tiny town about an hour from Whitehorse, on the shore of the spectacular Bennett Lake. Keep going further down the South Klondike Highway and you’ll find yourself in Skagway, Alaska in about an hour.
I had some help, of course.
Other pictures were taken at the Robinson Roadhouse…a historic site on the South Klondike Highway, half-way between Whitehorse and Carcross. A convenient place to stop and use the outhouse (because I take pride in knowing where all the outhouses are… Hello! Yukoner!)
Pictures were also taken at our cabin on Fox Lake, because that is where Dee’s and my friendship takes place.
I mean, we’re friends wherever we are, of course. But here at Fox Lake is where the magic happens for us. Back in the day when we were full-time Yukoners, she and George used to come out on a Saturday afternoon. Dee would always bring her knitting or her sewing along, and would sit on the deck and have a good old-fashioned stitch & bitch while our guys fished off the dock or did whatever guys do together when they’re at the lake.
All those good times were stitched into this quilt along with every delicious yummy bite of Dee’s trifle I ever ate.
I have a quilt finish to show off today! This is the quilt I recently made for my second-youngest nephew, Tyler.
A quilt is never finished until it has had its official photo shoot, and this quilt had two photography sessions! First, we took it on a beautiful nature walk to Margaret Falls. This was the perfect place to photograph this quilt.
Look at how the shapes in the landscape compliment the shapes in the quilt. It makes my little quilt-photographers heart sing!
The second photo shoot was just up the road. I really wanted to have the quilt photographed with horses (don’t ask me why, I really have no idea. Well…maybe because my nephew lives in Montana. And you know, Montana…horses…)
Sadly, the horses weren’t as interested in the quilt as I thought they should be. Actually, they were afraid of it. Big piece of fabric – boo, scary!
Happily, two girls came riding by and consented to help. So I did get a shot of the quilt with a horse after all.
And of course who could resist this shot? Love, love, love the long view down the valley.
Every quilt has a story. Including this quilt. Keep reading, here it comes.
Tyler turned 18 last week and is graduating from high school this year.
While I am happy that I finished the quilt in time for his birthday and graduation, I actually was inspired to make him this quilt because I wanted to honour his accomplishments in in Taekwondo.
This young man has two black belts and is working on his third. I am so proud because I know how much focus and dedication and practice that goes into mastering a craft at any age.
Each of the coloured blocks represents one of the belts he had to master. The quilt is backed with simple white cotton to represent the outfit the practitioner wears.
I chose the wonky cross-hatch block for this quilt because the shapes of the lines reminded me of the shapes drawn in the air and the shapes that the body makes when doing martial arts.
…and also because it’s just a fun and funky pattern that is uber-suitable for a young man of 18.
I named the quilt Indomitable Spirit, which is one of the tenets in the Taekwondo code. I don’t think I could have chosen a better name.
Indomitable Spirit measures 50 x 74 inches and is hand quilted. I quilted it free-hand, without a frame and without marking. The first time I’ve ever done either.
My stitches are what I prefer to call “organic,” (meaning they’re uneven, being the first time I tried quilting that way). I like to try something new whenever I can, and I wanted to try free hand quilting. So it was a bit of a learning curve for me. Appropriate, too, since this quilt honours accomplishment, which requires taking a first step and giving it your best.
Nothing you accomplish in life comes without practice, right? Like a black belt. Like learning to hand quilt free-style.
Congratulations, Tyler – your spirit is truly indomitable.