This quilt is particularly personal for me. I’ve loved the movie The Last Unicorn since I was a child. And when I was expecting my daughter, I got the chance to have a chat with the author of the original novel, Peter S. Beagle, at a convention. (We spoke about censorship and The Canterbury Tales, if you must know.) To say this story impacted my love of fantasy is putting it lightly. I owe so much to this film and to Mr. Beagle.
I made this wall quilt as a testament to my own childhood and all those who felt likewise. I used satin on the figures to ensure they stood out from the cotton fabric in the background. The unicorn was tough to cut out and harder to applique down because she had so many small, wavy details that are typical of the Rankin/Bass drawing style. The red bull looked fine, but when quilting I added red thread flames all over him and then went back and added a small layer of yellow thread flames along his back to be similar to the animated version. Overall, I was so happy with how it looked that I made a second one to possibly keep.
The film is much beloved in my house to this day as well. As an adult, I’ve shifted from thinking I’d be the magical Lady Amalthea in the story to identifying more with Molly Gru. In fact, when I heard Molly’s rant about the unicorn appearing to her when she was older and no longer innocent as an adult, I cried. So this story really does keep on giving.
A while back, I posted about my goals for this year. I figured I’d do a check in.
I want to use some second-hand folding shelves I bought online to make a checkout booth. I was thinking about myself as a customer and realized that I really liked it more when the sales person was at a checkout stand. I felt freer to walk around and look. So I’m taking a cue from myself and working on making one of those. Haven’t started this yet, but I AM looking at more steel grids for the booth. I love the triangle stand and want to put them around the legs of the canopy to also hide the tent weights.
2. I’d also like to get some padded roof pads, so I can place my grid walls there instead of scraping up the inside of my husband’s Explorer again. It would be nice to drive to shows without having grid walls blocking one side of my car. Done! This has also allowed me to look in to getting more.
3. I also need to get a new phone – if I’m being completely honest with myself here. Mine is old, but I’m stubborn when it comes to replacements. Not yet – I’m almost ready to cave.
4. Participate in some new shows for the fall 2021. Working on this. I’ve applied to one new one and am already registered for another new one. Will be returning to a third where I always do well.
From an artist standpoint, I have a LOT of quilts I want to make and have on hand for shows. Here’s a short list of some of my more creative ambitions.
Star Wars quilts – lightsaber duels, they just sell too well to not have one on hand. Not yet
2. Mandalorian wall quilt – I had the one I made get claimed before it was even finished! Not yet
3. Sloth quilt – that fabric is too cute to have gone this long without being made in to something. Yes! I’ve made 2 and a matching doll quilt.
4. Hocus Pocus quilt – the last one sold fairly quickly, and it was fun to make something in the “crazy quilt” style. I made 2 – one was claimed before they were finished. I’d like to have 2 on hand before hitting the Yellow Daisy Festival.
5. More doll quilts – they are really fun, and I like the satisfaction of experimenting within a smaller size. I’ve made some matching ones for bigger quilts, but I haven’t made any others besides those.
6. Christmas snow globe quilt – I saw some designs online and am wanting to try my own spin. Not yet
7. Potty Mouth Quilts – I wanted to make a small line of quilts with grown-up words on them. I like the contrast of a wholesome, traditional craft and a vulgar phrase. Maybe something is wrong with me here, but I won’t be happy until I’ve tried it at least once. Not yet
8. Bargello quilts – I made the rainbow and northern lights ones a while back, and I’m geared up to make more. Not yet
9. Mariner’s Compass – I just really like making these. They’re so satisfying. I have one on hand that I made at the beginning of quarantine.
10. I Spy quilt – I have been sorting little 2″ squares for a planned pattern for an I spy quilt with a geometric twist. It’s all bagged and sorted and ready to make.
11. Zombie girl Pin Up quilt – the first one I made was so much fun! I have the fabric, but that’s all.
12. Baseball girl Pin Up quilt – the other pin up girl quilt was so fun, I wanted to keep a good thing going. I have the fabric, but that’s it.
13. Crayon quilt – this was such a cute quilt, and I really want to make another one. They are also good scrap-busters. I have scraps pre-cut to the sizes I need, so it won’t take too long.
14. I’m also wanting to possibly make some adult bibs since there seems to be a need for them. I’d make some pretty, but I’d probably focus on making them silly. A little humor goes a long way. Can’t stop making quilts long enough to try, ha!
Other stuff I HAVE managed to do – Star Trek Quilt, I’m almost done with some Ruth Bader Ginsberg quilts, NASA quilts, mermaid quilt with matching doll quilt. I’ve also been focusing on several commissions.
The Yellow Daisy Festival Online Market begins on Tuesday, Sept 8th. In celebration of this, I’m making some posts about the quilts I have ready to go. Each day I’ll feature two or three quilts and tell about their process and what I like most about them. These and other quilts can be found in the Quest Quilts shop on this website or in my Etsy shop.
These four quilts are rounding out the kids’ quilts series. The firefighter quilts come in two sizes. One is 4′ x 5′ and the other is 4′ x 4′. I always thought they would make a great set for an older sibling and a new baby. They feature firefighters and fire engines that have a sort of vintage look. Again, I rather like the non-cartoon look, especially in quilts for younger kids because I feel like they’ll outgrow them slower. Of course, these would also be good quilts for…you know…actual fire fighters. I tried hard to make these fun without being overly childish.
I actually have two of the Boy Scout quilts as well. These are neat because they have smaller details in the fabric. Look closely at some and you’ll see the Oath. My favorite fabric on these quilts is the knot fabric, but the merit badges design is a close second. They have flannel on the back, and I thought they might make a great cover while on a camp out. I played around with the mosaic design here and ended up liking the effect.
I’ll admit something about this science quilt – I thought it would have sold long before now. I just love it. All the periodic table and elements and lab equipment and formulas are so neat and quirky. I love how it could be for a small child but just as easily for a chemistry major in college. I added a matching bib as well because a cute little STEM baby is perfect. The blue flannel backing makes is extra cozy.
This quilt falls under the “things I’ve been meaning to make” category. English paper piecing is a tedious technique. Each star is made from a wedge, and each wedge is made of two scalene triangles. The design I used for this quilt was a simplest mariner’s compass pattern in the book. The pattern comes from the book Mariner’s Compass Stars by Carol Doak. I’d bought it years ago to make a gift for my husband.
I had originally wanted to make all the stars with batik fabrics, but it didn’t take long to realize that I wasn’t going to have the effect I wanted with what I had on hand. The biggest goal of mine was to use 100% fabrics that I had at home in my stash already. I had the rainbow fabric for the backing and based my colors around it. This was definitely a “quarantine project.” In the end, the only thing that was purchased was some extra white thread. Not bad.
I did get to practice the colors and design on my new quilting software, so that was an extra bonus, and it helped me catch a mistake in my color placement. Can you see what I did?
I’ll admit that red fabric is notorious for running dye, even if one pre-washes like I do. This quilt had too much time and love put in to it to take any chances, so I pinned a color catcher sheet over the white sections of the red star. I did NOT come here to play.
The finished result is worth it, and I am in love!
A while back I made an Eagle Scout Quilt, and I had a fair amount of the Riley Blake Modern Scouting fabric leftover. I wanted to try something different, something a little more chaotic and less predictable. It’s been a while since I’d gone with a mosaic design. I also had varying amounts of the fabric samples left, so I added in some solids to balance out the patterns. Overall, it was fun and took very little work up front with the planning. I just cut out squares of 9″, 6″, and 3″ and arranged them as balanced within each square as I could.
It has a green flannel backing. And in the end, I had enough to make two!
This quilt was fun and a definite break from my usual mold. We divided the shirts into color families. I knew the some of them had rather big designs, and I wanted to make sure nothing “cool” was left out. For some of them, I just cut the central image in half and made sure each was still in. I rather like the crazy-quilt-shadow-box combo.
A fun bonus is that the white section is excellent for signatures! And can I begin to say how much I just LOVE the neat green and gold scroll design on the backing fabric?!
This is an article I wrote a while back for our community magazine last fall. I wanted to share it on the blog as well.
The holiday season is upon us, and people are already beginning to buy gifts to give – if they haven’t started already. Gift-giving is an art form in and of itself, and it takes many factors into consideration: age, cost, usefulness, etc. The best gifts can also remind the recipient about the giver as well, and this is where a unique group of gift-givers excel – the handmade gifts.
It’s a common misconception that handmade gifts are low cost or even “cheap.” But nothing could be further from the truth. When someone takes the time to buy/collect supplies and craft an item specifically for a loved one, that takes a personal investment that simply cannot be duplicated in an item purchased from a store. Not to say that bought items aren’t special because, of course, they can also be cherished. But there is something about a handmade gift that endures beyond its time and even beyond the item itself. Some of my favorite pieces of furniture, while not the most attractive, are special to me simply because my great-grandfather made them. And as of the last several years, they are also a lasting memory as the man himself is no longer with me. So what is it about a handmade item that gives it that lasting power? The explanation is more profound than one might first think.
In 1992 Gary Chapman released his book The Five Love Languages. He identifies five areas where people express their love for others as well as how they feel the most loved. These areas include Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, and Physical Touch. As a quick review, Acts of Service translate to doing nice things for a person, like washing their dishes or mowing the lawn. Words of Affirmation simply mean a person likes to be told how much they matter. Quality time can mean a date or any one-on-one time. My eight-year-old daughter feels most loved when we spend time together, so a trip alone with her to the grocery store can help her feel connected and loved. Receiving Gifts doesn’t mean that a person is greedy – just that a gift, no matter how small, is a gesture that means more than just the item itself. My sister showed her love to her friends every year as a child by spending her birthday money on Christmas gifts for them. And she is so very proud when she knows she has found THE perfect gift for someone. And Physical Touch doesn’t have to be overly dramatic. It could be as simple as hand holding. My six year old son feels loved if we are sitting beside one another while watching a movie. As long as some knee or foot is touching me, he feels loved. And while it is possible that some gestures can fall across multiple areas, I can only think of one thing that combines all five.
A handmade gift is unique in that it covers multiple Love Languages. The act of making it with a specific person in mind, the time spent on designing and crafting it, and even a sweet note accompanying it all touch on multiple routes wherein people feel loved. It says over and over again, “I love you.” A person made this item specifically for that person, spent time on it, made it with their own touch, gave it freely to that person, and it often includes an explanation or sweet note with it. A handmade gift has the potential to say “I love you” in all five Love Languages. And in that, it is no small feat.
So if you are lucky enough to receive a handmade gift this holiday season, take a moment and realize exactly what you have been given. It isn’t a mere item or token. It certainly isn’t cheap. It is the ultimate expression of what it means to love another person from every conceivable angle. Honor the handmade gift for it was made with love.
I’ve been sitting on this project for a while because it would give away a surprise. However, I learned that the gift has been bestowed and was given permission to post away!
I played around with the notion of doll quilts for 18″ dolls and came up with these after finding some diamond cuts left over from a previous project. I’m thrilled they’re being put to use, and I can’t wait to see what all I can come up with on down the road!
I am loving the central star design, but I don’t think I’m ready to make a quilt bigger than this using it. I’ve enjoyed the more traditional look of them, though. They’ve been posted on Etsy already. You can find them by clicking here.
I’ve had a wine-themed jelly roll for a while now and finally figured out how I wanted to approach it. I’m proud to say I free-handed the wine bottle and the wine glass. I added a burgundy border around them to make them more lap quilt size instead of wall quilt size. One of them was claimed pretty quickly, but the other one is still up for grabs.
A friend from church messaged me earlier in December and asked if I might be up for possibly fixing her long-loved quilt that her grandmother made her. I’m friends with the grandmother, and we talk shop about quilts all the time.
She sent me a picture of the original top before the quilt was finished. It was made of bright 2″ squares and was scrappy in design. Cute as could be.
Then she sent me pictures of the back and the damage that had come from pretty constant use. Once I had my hands on it, I noticed that many of the squares in the front were also shredding. In fact, the quilt itself had almost been loved to death – the ultimate compliment for any quilter.
The first step was to disassemble the quilt. This was actually easier than anticipated because it was a tied quilt. I actually brought a seam ripper with me to my grandmother’s and got to work while she and I were chatting after Christmas. I separated the front from the back and batting and removed any squares beyond repair.
When I returned home, I used squares already cut from my own scrap stash that would blend in easily color-wise. Then I added a layer of white fabric underneath the top. This gave the thin top layer something to “hold on” to and to take the stress of the thread off of that thinner fabric. I found out from a previous reconstruction that it can also help revive some of those faded colors. It did result in a heavier quilt, though, especially since I’d changed it from the original polyester batting to cotton.
From there, I had to pick a different backing as the store didn’t sell that same pattern anymore. I found one pattern that was closer in color, but it was thinner, and I didn’t want to be right back where we were again so soon. So in the end, I chose a brighter green pattern that was a bit thicker and would last longer.
The quilting on this one needed to be closer, especially on the squares that still had some damage. I went with a stipple pattern because it would help when some squares needed extra quilting, and it would even out any misalignment from the top being pulled into shape and the old fabric stretching more. Pretty much every square has at least two lines of quilting running through it.
In the end, I’m pretty proud of it, but I’ll admit I held my breath a bit when I put it in my washer and dryer. But it turned out fine, and I am confident that it will stand up to many more uses to come.