Category Archives: Uncategorized

And Now For Something Completely Different! -April 2012

…Or maybe I should call this blog ‘from the sublime to the ridiculous’!  Not that my hand quilting is so sublime but sometimes my reaching for ways to use scraps is close to ridiculous!  Well, all self deprecation behind: I did finish a few other quilts in this first quarter of 2012 and I thought I’d share some quick tricks that I stumbled upon .

My husband and I were going to visit his niece, her husband and their two wonderful children !   Sara’s kids are 2.5 and 1 years of age and of course at the last-minute I decided I needed to make them quilts.  So I looked in my stash of ‘Kids’ tops.  This top immediately jumped out as a good fit for the 1-year-old.  But what to do for the 2.5year old?!

Years ago when my younger son was about 6, I made him a quilt with all these cute car and truck fabrics.  I had  some strips and patches left over from that project but not really enough to do anything real fancy.  But  I know how much 2.5 year old boys love trucks and I wanted to use up those patches so  I put the patches together to make this  bar quilt.

It was easy to assemble all the patches ’cause they were already the same width  and the varying heights just added interest to the appearance of the bars so I did not have to cut or trim any of the patches.  Since all the fabrics were unidirectional, setting the patches from top to bottom as bars seemed the logical choice and it was QUICK!!!

Adding some semi solids in between the patchy bars to calm down all the patterns was and easy choice and then the geometric checkerboard seemed a good medium pattern to frame the sides.

Since our grand nephews live in a very warm climate I picked out some nice flannel for backing and quick turned the quilts without batting so the quilts would be cuddly but not to bulky or hot ( and no binding, another quick quilt technique!!!) A little stitch -in -the- ditch quilting to tie everything down and away we went!

Well the quilts were a big hit!  And when prompted CZ ( the 2.5 year old) can tell you his ‘aunt Claire’ gave him his truck quilt!  It was fun and it was easy and Oh what joy it brings to me!  cheers, Claire W.

Hand Quilting – The Perfect Rainy Day Activity- March 20012

I did pretty well by my New Years Resolution.  I  quilted almost everyday in the month of January and I was down to the last row on the frame when I went on vacation.  The vacation was great but when I got back my hand quilting was at a complete stand still.  It has taken me a while to get back into the swing of things, but;  the week before last it rained almost all week and rainy days are just perfect for siting inside all snug and warm and sewing!  With the help of the wet weather not only did I jump start my hand quilting but….I finished, I finished, I finished!!!!!!!!!!!!    (to be sung not spoken)

Here’s the quilt fresh off the frame.

Here it is on the design wall, where you can really see the great impact of this old quilt.

This detail shows the batting.

I used a wool blend naturally gray bat from Matilda Bat Co. out of Australia.  It needled really well and had enough loft to help conceal some of the wonky parts of the quilt.  Suffice it to say I am very pleased with the end product and glad that at long last it is finished.  Cheers, CW

Happy V- day All Month Long

I made this quilt for my husband about 12 Valentine Days ago.  I always bring it out for my bed for the whole month of February. The crazy ’50’s fabric is so much fun and most of the blocks are from a valentine day block swap which also makes it special to me.  Happy V-Day everyone!

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Hand Quilting my New Years Resolution


I’ve been trying to finish hand quilting this quilt for ohhhh maybe three years?!#*@!!!  So I decided to make one of my New Years resolutions to work a little bit on it every day until it is done.   As you can see I have a pretty sweet set up for hand quilting.  I have a really nice view of my patio and the indirect Eastern light is great for actually seeing where I’m quilting.

I use painter's tape as a guide for my straight lines

The top I’m working on is a great old vintage top  made from a variety of indigoes and Mourning fabrics arranged in a very striking snail trail display.  Some vintage collectors might say finishing such tops is a mistake.  But I think old tops without any documentation might as well be finished and enjoyed.  I take lots of pictures of the front and back before I start so details of construction are recorded.

When I look at old quilts or tops to buy I am often attracted to the ‘odd ducks’.  Wonky blocks, off colors or patterns etc. despite the fantastic visual impact of this quilt top it had structural problems, which may be the reason that it was never finished.

Snail’s trail blocks have a lot of bias edges in their construction and that can lead to some pretty wonky blocks.   In the case of this quilt: while the blocks were all hand pieced the seams between the blocks were machine sewn. All that hand pieced bias fabric trapped in tight machine stitching made for some blocks being pretty ‘poochy’ in the middle.

detail of the pucker before quilting

No amount of stretching would ever get that completely flat.  My remedy was to choose a fairly fluffy , mostly wool blend batting.  Also I think quilting on a big frame helps keep fairly even tension over the whole surface of the quilt thus spreading or easing the  puckers in as you quilt.

same block after quilting

It’s not perfect by any means but it lays more less flat.   When the quilt is relaxed off the frame the fluffy wool batting helps to camouflage a multitude if sins!

I have hand quilted a few tops of my own construction but I find finishing these orphan tops is much more gratifying.  I find machine piecing  my own tops is much more efficient (and appropriate). I am not a great hand quilter so I try to match my quilting with the construction level of the top.

As to my New Years resolution… I’ve done pretty well.  I have quilted a little everyday since the new year and I have already quilted almost an entire row of blocks.  Just one more roll of the frame and I will be on my last row!!! Yahooooo!  Happy New Year! CW