Posts Tagged ‘Fairytale Patchwork’

Oh my, how I’ve enjoyed hand quilting Aria’s Fairytale Patchwork quilt!  The entire process has been so relaxing and satisfying, especially experimenting with different quilting patterns.  Here are a few new ones.

Quilted Diamonds

This pattern, quilted diamonds, ended up being my favorite style for quilting on the Princess and the Pea blocks.  It looks especially nice on this Diamond Mine (from Anna Maria Horner’s Little Folks collection) block, which actually inspired the quilting pattern.

Quilted Star

Here’s another fun one.  I only used this star pattern on a few unicorn blocks, as I came to the idea a bit late in the game.  I like how it works with the layout of the print!

Quilted Frame

And, a simple pattern.  It creates a clean-lined, understated effect that works on almost any block.

I’ve been asked how long the hand quilting takes.  Let me start by saying that 95% of the time, I was stitching while watching a show with my husband.  So, given frequent breaks to watch the screen and an overall level of comfortable distraction, each block took me about 45 minutes to complete.  I would begin a block by marking my stitch lines with a chaco pen, and then carefully centering the block in my quilting frame.   On the few occasions that I stitched sans TV, the work came along much faster.

I have now completed all 26 blocks.   The overall effect is fairly random, since I varied the quilting patterns enough so that no 2 touching blocks share the same pattern.  So, now, at last the quilt is finished.  And, for some reason that makes me sad.  I think I’ll just so miss the hand quilting!  How can I watch Alias empty-handed?  It just won’t be the same.  I definitely need a new handwork project.

Although this quilt is a gift from my  mother and I for Aria’s November birthday, we’ve agreed to give it to her now.  She’ll be so excited!  I’m dreaming of making a pillowcase from extra fabric scraps for a  birthday surprise.  Shhhhh!


Today at home.

Today at home



And, a new book to read, thanks to my sweet mother in law.


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Has it really only been 4 days since I started hand quilting?  

Hand quilting - Princess Strips

My daughter’s Fairytale Patchwork quilt has turned out to be an ideal First in hand quilting.  I’m using Anna Maria Horner’s tutorial, “The Stitch” and her Q & A post “Anna Answers“.   Turns out that one of the hardest things about hand-quilting is getting your stitches to look as nice on the back as they do on the front.  Since Aria’s quilt is designed for her bed, the back of it will only be seen when hung on the line to dry!    I’m not giving myself much pressure to make the back look good.  I am paying attention to those stitches, but mostly as a way of working on my technique, you know?

Hand quilting - Diamond Mine

I’ve really enjoyed trying out different quilting patterns on different blocks.  Such freedom!  My first and possibly favorite block was this Diamond Mine block (Little Folks Voile by Anna Maria Horner).  I stitched a simple white running line in a diamond shape.

Hand quilting - Princess & the Frog

For this Princess & the Pea/Frog Prince block (Far Far Away by Heather Ross), I had dreamed up this criss-cross pattern along the seam lines. I didn’t realize that hand quilting this design would be so difficult and time-consuming. It looks rather wonky from the back, with the x’s bigger than they are on the front. Do you think it was worth it? I’m trying to decide if I should do another Princess block in this design. Would love to hear your ideas for alternative quilting designs on this style block!

Hand quilting - around the flowers

This block is Small Gathering from Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks collection (LOVE!).  I stitched some white lines around some of the yellow flowers, but it didn’t “pop” as much as I had hoped for. I’m thinking of adding some pink stitching around a few more flowers. What do you think? One disadvantage of this pattern for hand quilting is all the starting and stopping of threads. It’s stronger and faster to quilt a continuous line.

Hand quilting - along the stem

So, that’s what I tried here, on a different Small Gathering block. I stitched along the stem line, which was quite fun. Do you think this is prettier than the flowers, or should I do it in addition to the flower outlines? Hmm….

Hand quilting - Dobby Dots

Here’s my latest block. Oooh, I like how this one turned out. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, right? I adore Anna Maria Horner’s dobby dot line! The texture, the colors… swoon! This is the only shade I’ve had the pleasure of owning. And, sadly, they’re getting scarce.

So, hand quilting = fun!  I’m glad to be serenely stitching on the couch while watching Alias with Hubby, rather than wrestling with this quilt at the sewing machine (and picking out countless stitches, no doubt). 

Looking forward to your ideas on these quilting patterns…

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Two weeks ago I bombarded you with pictures of my daughter’s Fairytale Patchwork finished quilt top.  If you think that the quilt finished by now, think again.

First off, I decided to try a bias-free finish for this laaaarge quilt (finished measurements are 76 x 89.5″).  In I Heart Patchwork, Rashida Coleman-Hane finished a quilt by sewing right sides together with a 1/4″ seam, turning and stitching closed.  Because binding is not my friend and because I decided that the linen sashing was a fitting edge,  I was game to try something new.

Fairytale Basting

I taped down my batting, laid out my quilt bottom and top and basted the edges.

All in a row

Don’t the basting pins look sweet?  They’re like happy little soldiers fighting for a straight edge.  I slip them all in at once and then close them with a size 3 knitting needle.  Saves the fingers.

I am happy to report that this was a snap.  Not only was it fast and easy – it looks great!  I don’t think a binding would have looked better in this case.  Woohoo!

Now for the not as good.  After consulting with my mom and co-designer, we settled on a quilting pattern that has turned out to be rather difficult, at least for me.  I always admire the large diagonal grid quilting design used often by Ashley of Film in the Fridge.  My mom suggested a double row (two lines 2″ apart) diagonal grid spaced just right so that it frames each large 12″ block.  Essentially the design would mimic the piecing layout, but on point and with continuous lines.  I especially loved that this design would create little diamonds at the intersection points in the sashing, one on each side of each block.

But how to achieve it?  I’ve had bad luck with disappearing fabric ink markers, so I thought I could mark this quilt with the much-touted Clover Chaco marker.  After a week I finally got to the fabric store to purchase the gadget.  Yes, it’s cool.  I’m glad to have it!  But, it so won’t work for marking this quilt.  Some trial proved that the white chalk too easily brushes away, leaving me without a clear guide.

Next my husband suggested using masking tape to mark my grid lines.  Brilliant!  I laboriously taped the pattern in one direction and set off to sew tonight.

Masking Tape for Marking

Ugh!  The tape won’t stay on!  I just bought it and it wasn’t cheap stuff.  It particularly won’t stick to the Little Folks voile.  So, I went back and moved pins that were causing problems, and even pined the tape on over each voile block.  Back on the machine I had mild success with a few short lines at the edges.  So…. I went for one of the longest lines in the middle to see what would happen.  Ladies, it wasn’t pretty.  It seems I can’t sew a straight line when juggling a large quilt, shifting tape and bias pin bombs.

I refuse to allow the quilting to ruin this quilt.  At the moment I plan to rip out the quilting I’ve done so far and either A.  settle on a MUCH easier quilting pattern or B. don’t quilt at all.  Because I used a cotton blanket for batting and because the edges are already lovely, stopping at this point is tempting.  Or maybe I should tie it instead?

(Sigh)  I just don’t know.

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How do you photograph a ginormous quilt top all by yourself… when the only good light left is outside?  Hmm…

Spread it out on a grassy slope?

Fairytale Quilt Top from the grass

Climb a tree?

Fairytale Quilt Top from a Tree

Ok, there it is.

Fairytale Quilt Top

Well, now you can see it all.  I didn’t finish the corners, because after 3 hours of stitching, I was ready to be done.  I plan to miter them like so.  But I’m not sure how I’m going to bind this quilt, so that’s my excuse for not finishing.  I think I want a low-key linen edge finish.  I’m thinking about how I could use the edges I already have.  They’re straight!

Woa, don’t fall!

Fairytale Quilt Top

Let’s get down out of the tree and try something a little more interesting.  Over a branch perhaps?

Fairytale Quilt Over a branch

Aaaah, pretty!

Pretty closeup

Wait!  Folded?

Fairytale Quilt Folded on a Branch

Does she look bored?

Fairytale Quilt

I think it’s time to call it a night.  You tell me, how do you photograph a ginormous quilt all by yourself?


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At last I’ve begun piecing my daughter’s  Fairytale Patchwork twin-sized quilt.  I can’t tell you how heavenly it’s been to work with this giant bouquet of gardenias on the table, fresh cut from my yard (and a new discovery!) this weekend.

Since the linen sashing has finally arrived, it’s been coming along nicely.  Cutting all that 3″ sashing was a good bit of work, but now that everything’s cut, you’d think it’d be smooth sailing from here.

Fairytale Piecing

Yep, things are lining up all right. And, I’ve only had to rip out one seam. But….

Fairytale Piecing up close

Liam cut the cord – the IRON cord! This is not typical behavoir for my 3-year-old. And, of course, this was like the ONE time I left the thread scizzors in full view. I was shocked.

SNIP! - He cut my cord

Thankfully, Liam was not. Everyone is ok… except for the iron. And, now pieced fabric is backing up with no pressed seams in sight.

No more iron...

I was going to finish piecing the quilt top tonight, but I guess I’ll have to settle for making some progress. The good news is that this iron was about to hit the bucket. It had started turning itself off every 10 or so seconds. You can imagine the fun of using it that way. My new iron just shipped today. Coincidence?

Fairytale Piecing in progress

P.S.  Sorry for the wrinkles!

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So, not much stitching this weekend.  I gardened on Saturday (and actually enjoyed thinning the carrots – shhh… don’t tell anyone!) and Sunday we went to Mayfair!  Here’s my little Mayfair maiden:

Skipping, ribbons, flowers, painting, garlands, flutists, singing, sunshine and fresh squeezed lemonade!  The children all enjoyed their turn (x3) to skip around the Maypole… and I got in on the action too.

I’m not one to miss a chance to dance! 

My Fairytale Patchwork quilt is coming along, but I’ve got to order sashing.  I have settled on natural linen sashing (surprise, surprise) because I think it will give the quilt more of a modern, big-girl vibe that I hope Aria will love for years to come.  She is absolutely smitten with the unicorn fabrics.  And, she’s agreed that the linen is not a bit gray (because, we don’t want to repeat that scenario). 

Here are some test layouts.  The blocks are 12″ square with 2.5″ sashing:

Testing the Layout

12" blocks, 2.5" sashing

I really like the way the little princess looks sandwiched in Little Folks voile:

Princess Block layout

Poor little princess. Life must be rough.  Luckily, us peasants can frolick at Mayfairs and enjoy the lasting pleasure of good, old-fashioned work!

Princess & the Pea

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Months ago I made these curtains for my daughter’s room, inspired by a project in Meg McElwee’s “Sew Liberated“:

Love them!  But, as soon as I hung them up I was dying to complete the look with a custom quilt for her bed.  Aria had one request:  add some purple.  OK, but how to do that and still make the quilt match the curtains.  Hmmm…

A little browsing and we fell in love with the Far, Far Away collection by Heather Ross.  Princesses, wildflowers, frog prince and unicorns… a dream come true for little (and big) girls.  Here’s a collage of swatches from Heather’s blog that helped me see how her collection would work with the bold reds and oranges of the curtains, while bringing in the purple.  Sadly, they’re, um a little pricey.  At $17 a yard I didn’t see how I was going to get my hands on enough fabric for a twin sized quilt.

And, my friends, that’s where grandma comes in!  I mentioned my idea to make Aria a twin quilt and she was instantly interested in getting involved.  Not surprisingly, she fell in love with Far, Far Away too.  Surprisingly, she offered to buy the fabric if I would make the quilt!  It’s going to be a joint birthday gift from the two of us.  Hurray!

Last night I started cutting!  These fabrics are so soft and plush.  The Far, Far Away’s remind me of soft cotton gauze you’d use to wrap a wound.  Is that weird?  I’m quite frankly blown away by the silky soft hand of the Little Folks fabrics I also added to the mix.  Anna Maria Horner is the bomb, as always.  Aaaaaah… heaven.  Back to work now.

Far, Far Away - Purple Unicorn

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