Tag Archives: quilt

Finish: Friendship star quilt

Quilt outside

TA DAAAAAAHHH! This is a finish from late 2014 of which I am very proud. Over the last couple of years, I’ve shared my progress with you all, from the completion of the quilt top, to lessons learned, to its basting. That basting was my first attempt at pin-basting (previously, I only hand-quilted, so I used thread-basting) and after starting to quilt with my sewing machine, I realised that my pins were spaced too far apart! This resulted in ugly puckers on the back of the quilt (and not little ones that I could turn a blind eye to, either!). So, I had to unpick all the teeny tiny quilting stitches I had done, and remove the pins, then re-baste. I was quite discouraged, so I left the quilt aside for several months until I was motivated enough again to finish it. This time, with the pins MUCH closer together, quilting ran a lot smoother – there are now NO puckers on the back of the quilt! It’s heavy work to pull a king-sized quilt through a domestic machine, I can tell you.


For binding, I decided to have a scrappy binding using Pezzy prints from Moda that I had in my stash.


I also added a label which I hand-embroidered myself.


Here are the specs for the quilt:

Quilt size: 250cm x 220cm

Quilt top: English paper pieced diamonds, quilting cotton, poly thread. Fabric: solid white, various cotton prints. Border: Solid white cotton

Batting: Quilter’s dream poly.

Quilt back: Pearl Bracelet in Anchor by Lizzy House for Andover fabrics.

Quilting: Machine quilted with white thread.

Binding: Double-fold bias binding, using 12 different fabrics from the Pezzy line by American Jane for Moda Fabrics.

WIP – Friendship Star Quilt – Basting


My Friendship Star Quilt top has been finished for so long (since last March!) but I’ve been putting off basting and quilting it. This is for several reasons, mostly I’ve been intimidated by it’s size, and by the fact that it will be the first quilt I’ll machine quilt!

It has been niggling at me for a while, and so I made a sort of New Year’s Resolution to finish it in the first half of 2014. I needed a free day when I had nothing else on, and had my son in day care, for basting. The reason? Well, I baste on the floor of my apartment, it takes several hours to do, and basting and toddlers running around don’t mix! 🙂

Anyway, I decided to pin baste, because that’s what my Quiltmaking for Beginners book advises if you’re machine quilting. I’ve always thread basted previously, so this was much quicker because I didn’t have to pin first. I still ended up with sore muscles, but the finished quilt will be worth it! I plan to quilt it in the next fortnight.

One question, how far apart do you put your safety pins when basting? I’m not sure I used enough.

WIP – Grandmother’s Garden progress


In the last few months, I’ve posted about my new hand-sewing project (here and here, if you are interested!). I’ve put the flowers I’ve made so far together, with a white hexie border, and some mini yellow flowers between the big flowers to cut the white space a bit. I think they brighten the quilt, don’t you?

I’m happy with how it looks so far, and maybe I’ve gone a bit crazy, but I’ve been having so much fun that I’ve decided to make it into a full king size quilt! 🙂

Retrospective: My first baby quilt

Today I’m going to tell you about the third quilt I ever made. It’s a baby quilt that I made for my nephew who was born in 2011. I followed the Moda Bake Shop “Stacked Coins” tutorial with a couple of changes (I only used four columns of coins) and used the “Happy” line of fabric designed by My Sister and Me.


This was made completely by hand, all the piecing, quilting and binding so it really was a labour of love! For the quilting, I stitched in the ditched around each “coin”, and filled the white space with wavy quilting.


As with every project I do, I learned a lot. On the negative side, I learned that you don’t pre-wash pre-cut fabrics as this changes the size, so it was a bit more tricky that it should have been to sew the coins together. On the positive side, I learned how to do continuous binding as well as how to properly mitre my corners!

The toddler I gave this to still uses it so I’m happy! 🙂


Retrospective – Trip Around the World Quilt

The second quilt I ever made was this “Trip Around the World” quilt, which I made for my sister’s birthday back in 2011. Her favourite colour is purple, and I wanted to work with solids so this was an easy choice to make!

It’s lap-quilt size, made with cotton solids, and Aborigine Dots fabric on the back. It was completely hand-pieced and hand quilted, and I JUST finished it in time for my sister’s birthday. I found this a lot easier to make than the first quilt I made, I had learned a lot with that process and was able to side-step some of the problems I had there.

I think this may actually be my favourite quilt project, I really wanted to keep it for myself! Do you have trouble giving away the things you make?

Retrospective – My first ever patchwork quilt

The last week or so, I’ve been pretty busy with non-crafty things (job hunting, spring cleaning, tackling the pile of mending I have to do!) so I thought I’d do a bit of a retrospective. This is my very first patchwork quilt! When I was doing my doctoral thesis (back in 2007/2008, I was pretty stressed out, and I wanted something that would release my creative energy, as well as relaxing me. I remember seeing a photo of a lovely nine-patch quilt a friend had made, and that spurred me into making something  patchwork myself. I bought a beginners quiltmaking book (Quiltmaking for Beginners by Lynn Kough), and I liked it because it deals with hand- and machine- piecing and quilting. I picked the first project in the book, which is the log cabin quilt.


I hand-pieced the blocks and arranged them in a “fields and furrows” pattern (if I’m honest, that’s because when I made the blocks, I didn’t realise I would need to do “left” and “right” handed blocks to make different arrangements. Ah, you live and learn!).


I also hand-quilted this, doing stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. I really enjoyed the handquilting process. I finally finished it in 2009, so it was a real labour of love! Initially, it was used as a lap quilt while watching tv, but my boyfriend thought it was so nice that he hung it on the wall in our living room (isn’t that cute? 🙂 )

I learned a lot during this process and it really got me into making things myself. I know it’s not perfect but I am proud of it and of me!

A lesson learned…

Sigh. I can be terrible for rushing headlong into time-saving or “handy” things while crafting that turn out not to be such good ideas when push comes to shove. I have learned this week that I have got to focus on thinking these ideas through before putting them into practice.

A few weeks ago, I posted about my Friendship Star Quilt Top. Well, this week I was all set for doing the final little preparations before basting and quilting. Then I had a proper look at the back of my quilt top:

Can you see the problem

Can you see the problem? That dark thread…basting a white diamond…looks like this on the front:

Here it is!

It’s hard to see in this photo, but you can see dark marks in the corners of the diamonds where I made some backstitches behind. This will look worse once I put the dark background fabric on the quilt. I’ve spent all of my crafting time this week unpicking the dark thread, it’s not particularly interesting work, and it doesn’t feel too creative to me! How did this happen? Well, I used plastic “quilt patti” templates for my diamonds (they are GREAT), and one of the advantages is that you don’t have to remove your basting stitches. Of course, my bright idea was to use up some of my poorer quality thread for the basting (it uses a LOT of thread). And I never thought that dark thread on white fabric was not a good idea.

I’m definitely going to take more time to think about what I do in a craft project before I do it. Even if this seems slow to me, it will save time in the long run.

So have any of you fellow bloggers ever made a silly mistake like this? If you have, would you talk about it on your blog?



Quilted book cover

My OH (“other half”) is a botanist by profession. In his free time he also likes to go out into the countryside and look at the plants that are growing and in flower around the place. I’m no botanist, but I also enjoying taking advantage of the lovely weather we get here in the South of France to go for walks with the OH and our baby and see some nice flowers and scenery.

Sometimes when he is out of one of his botanical “sorties”, he sees a plant he doesn’t know. He likes to have a book with him to help he identifying these UFOs (unidentified flowering object!). The only problem is, some of the best “flores” are very expensive (150 euro for the Flore de Coste, which is the definitive flore for plants in France!) but have soft covers! These can get pretty roughed up from being dragged in and out of backpacks. So the OH asked me to use my sewing skills to make some book covers for him. It took me a while to find a tutorial that I liked and that I felt would be easy enough for my skills! Finally I settled on this tutorial from sewing.com.

Book cover 1

I picked a fabric from my stash that had a plant theme for the front of the cover, and a solid green fabric for the inside of the cover. The tutorial mentions that you can used pre-quilted fabric but as I have plenty of batting remnants lying around, I did the quilting myself, just plain straight-line quilt. I tried to finish the edge of the flaps with bias tape but I made a bit of a mess (Note to self: learn how to make and sew on bias tape!) so instead I finished the edge with a sort of blanket stitch.

Book cover 3

For the closure, instead of using a button, I decided to use some velcro, as I have a lot left over from making bibs for the baby. The velcro is supposed to be self adhesive, but from experience, the adhesive doesn’t hold up to much use, so to be on the safe side, I sewed it down.

Book cover 2

For the top and bottom edges, I just had stitched them down. I’ll need to think about this step for any further book covers I make as I’m not really happy with this part of the process.

So what was the verdict? Well I got a very positive review, and I have been asked to cover all the other books the OH is likely to need in the field! Success!