Posts tagged ‘free-motion quilting’

October 28, 2014

Show Off

by Decemberbaby

It’s been a while since I showed you any of my creative work. I did some sewing last year, while I was off the blog, and have finally gotten around to uploading the photos from my camera. So, without further ado, I give you:

Gumdrops Quilt for K

K moved to a big-kid bed last year, and she needed a quilt or blanket for it. Setting a precedent for the rest of my children, I went ahead and made her a quilt to keep her warm and to mark this big step for her. She requested pink and purple, and so I gleefully dug into my scraps (I have WAY too much fabric) and found enough of them to make this:


It’s a design called Gumdrops from the book Sunday Morning Quilts. The background is Kona White, the colours are scraps from previous projects, and the backing is…


Well, it’s not anything quilters would recognize. You see, when we were vacationing on our island in the sun last winter, I discovered that a decent number of people on the island still sew their own clothes, sheets, and everything else. The fabric store I happened to walk into (a chain store with a presence in the nearby mall) had tons of fabrics at very low prices. They even had zippers for $1.25 U.S. each, which any seamstress up here will tell you is crazy cheap. I actually came back with a suitcase full of fabric. But I digress.

The backing is 100% cotton sheeting, which in practical terms means that it’s wide enough to make sheets for a double bed without having to make seams. K fell in love with the colours and the design and although her quilt was not on my design board yet, I agreed it would make a great quilt backing. As you can see from the photo above, both K and her stuffed cheetah agree.


As you can see from the binding, once I got started using scraps I couldn’t stop. There are about 10 different fabrics that make up the binding, and I’m very pleased with how it looks.

As for quilting, I had some fun with my sewing machine’s embroidery foot and free-motion quilted the whole thing. At this point I realized that this quilt is a great design to “quilt as you go.” I’ll remember that for next time. Anyhow, I did a stippling pattern on the white background and quilted just inside the edge of each gumdrop shape for a raw-edge applique look. After repeated washings, I can tell you that the quilting has held up beautifully and the gumdrops’ edges are very attractively frayed. But I digress. Here’s the quilting from the back, which gives you a much better view:


CIMG3433 CIMG3434

Of course, no quilt would be complete without a label. It’s the last thing I sew on every quilt.









The quilt now resides on K’s big-girl bed. She takes great pride in spreading it flat in the mornings, and snuggles under it every night. A few nights ago at bedtime she hugged me and said, “‘Night, Eema. Thank you for my snuggly quilt.”

November 18, 2012

Polaroid Pictures… a baby quilt

by Decemberbaby

I’ve finally finished this quilt that I’ve been working on for two months. I’m thrilled with how it turned out, but oy, what a headache it was to make. It just occurred to me that the baby whose quilt this is might not understand why the pictures are surrounded by a white border that’s just a tad thicker on the bottom… do kids even know what a Polaroid picture is these days?

Do you see why it gave me a headache? No? Well, with the exception of two pictures, all of the polaroids are sewn in as part of the quilt – not added on top. Have a closer look:

All the random angles made the whole thing impossible to plan – the placement of the seams was completely improvised. I’m mostly pleased with how it turned out, though.

I chose images that would appeal to both the baby and his parents (his dad is a longtime friend and former roommate of Mr. December.) For the child, vehicles and animals and storybook characters. For the parents, Yoda and Chewbacca, a tie fighter, and a dragon. Oh, and a tent – a nod to the extensive canoe trips we used to take together.

I personally love the dinosaurs, both of which are hamming it up for the camera. My favourite, though, is the hippo.

I’m especially in love with the quilt back. It’s one of those things born of necessity (I didn’t have quite enough blue minky) that turns out really, really cool. I’m thinking I should use this design as a quilt front next time.

See? It’s a giant Polaroid! Do you like it as much as I do?

The back view also gives you a good view of the free-motion quilting I did. I quilted with primary-coloured variegated thread to add some colour and pop to the solid grey. I also chose a bright primary-striped fabric for the binding:

Yup, there’s the binding, the free-motion quilting, Chewbacca, and – yes! – one of my snazzy new labels!

It won’t be hard to say goodbye to this quilt. As much as I love it, it gave me some real grief. It’s a very good thing it’s destined for a good friend of ours; it makes all the effort and frustration feel worthwhile.

ETA: I’m linking this up with Sew Modern Monday.

September 20, 2012

What I did on my summer “vacation”: Butterfly Sunset quilt

by Decemberbaby

It all started with this fabric:

I thought it could be part of a very sophisticated quilt for a baby girl. The fabric isn’t too babyish, and I could see a teenage girl liking it every bit as much as a child would.

To match the intensity of the black-and-white fabric, I decided to go with bright colours. At first I was thinking of colourful geometric prints, but then I saw some batik fabrics and realized that their softness and low-contrast patterns would be a lovely foil for the sharpness of the butterflies. And so a quilt was born.

The centre is what’s called a disappearing nine-patch. The placement of the blocks is semi-random, which to my mind means that I didn’t want it to look like an orderly repeating pattern. I created the black appliqued butterflies by scanning and enlarging the inspiration fabric, tracing it onto the black cotton, and then cutting out the shape.

The coolest part of this quilt (for me) is the quilting itself. Have a look:

See those meandering lines? That’s my first attempt at free-motion quilting. I used a variegated thread so that the stitching changes colour every so often. I quilted the entire centre panel except for the butterflies, and then I quilted the butterflies separately. You can see it very well from the back:

I have to say that I absolutely love using Minky as a quilt backing. It’s so soft and cuddly, and it also shows off the quilting very nicely.

I made a pieced binding for the quilt out of leftover batik fabric. Early on someone questioned my choice to do a colourful binding instead of just letting the black butterfly fabric fade into a black binding, but I stand by my decision. I think it frames the whole quilt and makes it feel cohesive. Don’t you?

And, of course, I finished it off with a label:

I find it hard to part with a finished quilt. I really wanted to keep this one, maybe hang it in the living room to admire for a while, and then use it as a throw for the couch. In the end I gave myself a stern talking-to, wrapped it up, and delivered it to the intended recipient. It helped that she loved the quilt and made a big fuss over it. I couldn’t help but give the quilt a loving stroke and a quick cuddle before handing it over for good and driving off into the sunset… and noticing that the sunset wasn’t quite as exciting as the one I’d quilted.