poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘quilting

a quilting story: lemons and lemonade

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I am going to share the long, twisty story of my poppy quilt.


First, I am not a great quilter, but I have made many quilts. To illustrate, a friend once asked if I was ‘basting’ the quilt together first. I was not; I just quilt with long, uneven stitches.


The story begins last Christmas when I ordered, on-line, a draft-stopper made from a row of stuffed sheep. It was adorable, well-constructed and perfect.


So this Christmas I decided a cute lap-quilt with a sheep motif would be nice for the easy chair near the draft-stopper. So I looked on-line and ordered this cute little quilt.



Something went wrong with the order (I think I ordered from a knock-off site) and when the quilt arrived I was beyond disappointed. Someone had taken a photo of the above quilt or one like it, had it printed on rayon fabric and sewed the ‘quilt’ together with a machine stitch.



Meanwhile, I was planning to make a small quilt for our bedroom which is decorated with a poppy motif. I had some of the fabric, left over from other projects. I looked on- line and found the perfect fabric, in ready-to-quilt 5″ by 5″ squares. 42 squares, just enough for my quilt. Disappointment number 2. The fabric, when it arrived was beautiful. But, only 8 of the 42 squares were in the poppy motif! Grrrrr.


So I said, dang the price and sent for another 42 (that is 8) squares. Now I still had to purchase a padding for the quilt. Hmmm. I have that ugly sheep quilt.


So I used the sheep quilt for the backing, sewing individual poppy squares over the sheep in rows. Very pretty although the colours are probably the result of my flower-child years.



Once I had the top completed, I sent for some fabric to do the underside. The first order was cancelled because the fabric did not print correctly, but, frustration aside, the final fabric is soft and beautiful. You can see my ‘basting’ stitches if you look closely!



Now I will do a wide band for the edges, this time in a bright California poppy fabric. My quilt will be colourful and warm, and, somewhere within the layers of fabric, sleep 25 ugly sheep!



All my best and may your quilting projects be without frustration!


Written by jane tims

March 20, 2020 at 7:00 am

making a quilt

with 11 comments

One of the things I love to do as winter approaches is to make a quilt.  My quilts are not the beautiful, hand-stitched, carefully patterned quilts I admire.  My quilts are usually patchwork and often machine sewed, although some I quilt by hand, with long, uneven stitches.

a few of the quilts I’ve made, mostly lap-sized quilts for winter evenings

This fall, I am working on a quilt for our bed, in the theme of ferns and poppies.  I have used an old blanket covered in blue roses as the batting, given to me years ago by my uncle.  It has a large tea stain in one corner and is not as warm as our modern bedding, but I would like to keep it for sentimental reasons, so I am using it as the base for my new quilt.

For the fabric, I am using various bits and pieces I have collected over the years.  I can’t resist fabrics and when I visit the store, I often leave with a half meter of a fabric I love, even if I have no planned project.

I am planning to make the quilt entirely by machine, following a method my Dad told me his mother used.  She would take an old blanket and sew the patches on by hand, one at a time, covering the adjacent seams as she went.

First, I chose a width for the patches and cut a piece of sturdy cardboard for the template.  I marked the fabric with bands in the width of the template, to use as an inked guideline to keep my fabrics straight…

Then I cut my fabrics the width of the template and arrange them, right sides together and pin them to the blanket, making sure the edges of my fabric follow the inked guidelines…

Then I sew a seam…

When each piece is sewn, I open it to the right side to reveal a neatly attached patch…

Once I have worked my way around the blanket, attaching one row of patches, I will add another row, leaving one inked guideline row empty.

After I have finished the rows of patches, I will add long strips of fabric to fill in the empty rows and to cover the rough edges left by the first rows of patches.

I will have to pin and top-sew the other edge of this strip of fabric, to cover all the raw edges.

Then, when all the edges are hidden or turned in, I will top-quilt all of the patches with the machine.

The last step will be to select a fabric to cover the other side of the blanket.  I think I will attach this layer with ties, another old-fashioned method of making a quilt.

I’ll show you the quilt when it is completed, probably next year!!!

Do you make quilts and what is your method???




Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

October 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

from the pages of an old diary – making a quilt

with 8 comments

My great-aunt’s diary often records her activities as part of her Red Cross group.  In the years from 1954 to 1957, and beyond, this group of 4 to 9 women met every Friday to work together on a community project.   They worked quickly.  On September 17, 1957 they put on two crib quilts and finished them by October 1, 1957  (three meetings).

Sometimes they worked on a layette for a new mother and her baby (February 8, 1957).  Most often, they worked on a quilt (for example, March 22, 1957), doing the piecing and quilting as a group.  In addition, my great-aunt often took a quilt home ‘to bind’ (for example, March 29, 1957). 

Sometimes the group made money for a local cause by selling quilt ‘squares’.  On April 12, 1957, my great-aunt wrote: ‘…we took a quilt out. we are going to make one to sell. money for hosp [hospital]. to work on its 10¢ a name.’  The next evening, she called at a neighbour’s house and sold 5 squares.  On May 3, 1957, she wrote, ‘…we worked on our quilt blocks – working the names. I took three blocks home.’

More often they made a quilt for someone in the community.  On February 8, 1957, she wrote, ‘I took a quilt up to Mrs. C. from R. Cross.’ 

In 1954, the group worked on a ‘flower garden quilt’, and the story of the quilt can be followed in the diary. 

The first step was to piece the quilt.  My great-aunt worked on this stage at home, from March 15, 1954 to March 23, 1954, sometimes with a friend.  On March 19, she even missed the Red Cross meeting to work on the quilt.  On March 23, she wrote, ‘I worked on R.C. flower garden quilt all day.  J.B. here in eve. we finished it.  ready to be quilted. very pretty quilt…’  

'flower garden quilt' made by my grandmother, my great-aunt's sister

The group began quilting the flower garden quilt on June 4, and finished it at a meeting three weeks later (June 25, 1954). My great-aunt brought the quilted quilt home to bind and had help with the binding from another woman (June 28, 1954).  On July 12, 1954, she wrote, ‘J. [and] M.D. called to see the flower garden quilt.’  Unfortunately, there is no record of who received the finished quilt. 

The ‘flower garden’ is a well-known heritage quilt pattern.  It is made up of many hexagonal pieces, laid out in a pattern of concentric circles.  I have two quilts made by my grandmother (my great-aunt’s sister) and one of these is a flower garden quilt.  The quilt is well-named since the final pattern resembles a garden full of bright and colourful flowers.  The individual pieces in my grandmother’s quilt are from diverse fabrics, likely recycled from remnants and old clothes. 

In 1957, the women made another flower garden quilt.  My great-aunt must have loved working on it, since on March 27, she records going down to the Red Cross rooms after a funeral and working on the quilt by herself.  On March 29, 1957, she wrote, ‘…I went to R.C. brought home the hosp. [hospital] flower garden quilt to bind.’   She finished the binding on April 3.

 Women still make quilts today, of course, either alone or as a group.  I have made lots of lap-sized quilts, best for me due to my short interest span! 

Have you ever made a quilt and did you work alone or with others?

my grandmother’s flower garden quilt – I love the variety of fabrics used

©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

February 24, 2012 at 6:47 am

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