Teal and Grey Quilt – Part II

Hi habibis! Welcome to part II of the teal and grey quilt I made for my friend M and her husband H.  I forgot to name the quilt so I’ve just been calling it the teal and grey quilt.

I had to go fabric shopping again for the back and binding. (I know! I was going to do a scrappy back but then I worried – at my guild we had just had a speaker talk about how she doesn’t like when the seams of a darker scrappy backing show through on the lighter top, and I got worried that it would mar the look if there were dark pieces splitting up some of my lighter blocks on the front. So I went shopping.) I bought this grey crosshatch – extra wide! – for the backing.


I got two fabrics for the binding, one teal and one grey, because I didn’t have the quilt with me and I wasn’t sure the teal would work. It was actually perfect, so I’ll save the grey for something else.

For the quilting my initial plan was straight line quilting in which through all the rows. I got bored about two thirds through the first row. So I decided I could change it up. I quilted some of the fabrics following the print. I did some of the end pieces with vertical straight line quilting. I used grey and blue threads.  It took longer but it was more interesting and I think it made for a much more interesting quilt. Every row is different.  In the pictures below you can see glimpses of the binding.





I did a little bit of hand quilting – the bride and groom’s names, in English in one block and in Persian in another. I reached out to the bride’s sister, since although Arabic and Persian use the same basic alphabet there are some differences, and I wanted to make sure I wrote their names properly. She sent me a sample in different styles, some simpler and others more elaborate, and I picked one that I liked and knew I could do justice to. I think it came out great. I did a better job spacing the Persian than I had the English!


Shots of the quilting from the back:





Thanks to my dad, for being such a great quilt model!

Here’s the finished quilt. Isn’t it gorgeous?



Recent presents

Hi habibis!  I wanted to share a few presents I made recently:

I made this quilted bookmark for a cousin for her birthday, using leftover Air Force fabric.  I quilted it with white thread.

These sashiko coasters are from the Handstitched class.  (Yes!  I finally finished a project from the class.)  I didn’t follow the instructions 100% when it came to the design because I couldn’t figure out how to replicate it properly, but I’m very happy with the design.  I made them as a birthday/apartment warming gift for my friend R.  I love the geometric print, and I think I matched it up nicely with the solid.  I used variegated thread.  I swear I took pictures but I can’t find them, so here’s a picture R took.  Isn’t she a great hand model?

This shoe bag is for my friend A.  I let her pick from a few different fabrics, all of them blue/purple-y. (She loves cool tones.)  I wish I’d made it bigger – it should fit most shoes, but I would have liked something larger.  I love the butterfly print.

Present for my grandma

My grandmother has pretty much everything she needs, and probably most of what she wants as well, so when it comes to presents for her I try to make things.  She always appreciates something handmade.  I decided to make her a mat for her tray table.

I used scraps leftover from my brother R’s wedding quilt – the forest green and the cream – and I added some gold and the green on white print from my Aunt D’s stash.  (Did I mention last time I used this fabric that it reminds me of an ivy print my grandmother used in her mountain house when I was a little girl?  It makes me really happy just to look at it.)  My grandpa’s favorite color was green, and my grandma has had a fondness for green since he passed away.  Her couch is dark green and the mat will match the pillow I made her for Christmas, too.

I made small blocks with scraps – do they count as courthouse steps blocks?  Then I took the cream squares and squared everything up (as best I could – everything is 6″-ish, emphasis on the ‘ish’).

The back is just a large piece of cream and a long piece of cream.  I layered them with a leftover piece of batting, sewed around the edge, and turned it right side out.

For the machine quilting I used cream thread.  I did geometric quilting in the blocks.  Each block is slightly different, but they’re all quilted in concentric squares of some style.  Then I drew hearts freehand and quilted them with a running stitch in forest green.

My grandma really liked it.  I wonder if I should have used more dark colors to hide stains, but it can always go in the wash.

Throwback Thursday: Moose Quilt for my sister N

Here’s the quilt I made for my sister N for her birthday several years ago.

N’s favorite animal is the moose. You may have noticed that if you’ve viewed my posts on the moose ornament, pot holders, and apron I’ve made her. This is the original moose present – you’ll recognize a lot of the fabrics. I spent several years buying up every moose print I could find, and by the time I got around to making her a lap quilt I had more than enough fabric to do it. I’ve still got leftovers!

The design of this quilt is pretty simple. It’s just a layout of 25 squares, five by five.  The center moose is from a woodland animals panel I bought specifically for the moose.  (It also had a bear, an elk, and a deer. I still had the rest of the panel in my stash last month and it went to my guild’s charity committee with some coordinating green solids – because I wasn’t a fan on those shades. I had thought to myself that maybe I could make something with the panel for charity but I decided I was better off donating it. Everyone has a different aesthetic and I thought maybe other people in my guild could make something awesome, whereas I would just be making “something” because the rest of the panel doesn’t inspire me at all.)

The cream print with the brown on the bottom row is actually coffee beans, but it reminded me of hoof prints so I pretended that’s what it was.

I quilted a very large meander in green thread, meant to resemble an animal’s wandering path.


I hand quilted the outline of the center moose and around the circle in the top and bottom center squares.

The quilt isn’t bound because I hadn’t learned how to bind.

I had completely forgotten what the backing fabric is; luckily, I took pictures of the quilting from the back.  I pieced a back using all sorts of woodland fabrics.  I think that bottom one with the snow came from a panel kit that I bought and took apart.  There’s some trees and leaves, wood grain, and non-moose animals (bears, deer, ducks, etc.).

How awesome does the back of the moose look?

I love how the quilt came out.  It’s very versatile, too – because of the color palette and the woodsy/animal theme, it’s not the kind of quilt that screams “GIRL.”

“What So Proudly We Hail” Part IV

Yesterday I showed you the rest of the hand quilting. Today let’s talk about the finished quilt.

I knew I wanted to do a scrappy red, white, and blue binding.

I pulled out leftover pieces from the quilt and other red, white, and blue fabrics, looking particularly for graphic/geometric and nautical prints. I also used this Pledge of Allegiance fabric I got from my guild. (Everyone who made a charity quilt with the shirting fabric – see mine here – got to pick a fat quarter of fabric as a prize back in June. They were all patriotic  and I chose the pledge fabric thinking that I might use it for this quilt as part of a pieced back. I ended up not piecing the back but I knew I wanted to incorporate the pledge fabric regardless.)

I also used this anchor fabric leftover from Z’s storm at sea quilt from last year, some blue polka dots, and more of the fabric leftover from my grandpa’s train quilt. Most of the white fabric is leftover from my drunkards path quilt.

The binding is all done red, white, and blue in that order. I love it. I wish I’d made the binding pieces shorter, actually, to have a greater variety, but this is my first scrappy binding for a big quilt and I’m still learning.

I cut my binding at three inches and sewed an extra seam 1/2 inch to the right of my seam so I’d end up with scrappy  half square triangles. I don’t know what I’ll use them for, but they’ll make something cute! (That’s why I used three inch strips – specifically to get the HSTs. I thought if I used 2.5″ strips the leftovers would be too tiny.)

Here’s the final quilt! (The picture was taken before I finished quilting all the red stars, but they blend in so well that you can’t tell.)

I made a quilt tag using more scraps and more of the pledge fabric. It has the name of the quilt, the date of our anniversary, and a message from me to Z. Normally I iron the edges under and the hand see the tag down with a running or a blanket stitch, but I didn’t have a lot of leeway for the edges so I sewed the turned-under edges on my machine and then hand sewed it to the quilt. From this distance you can’t tell; if you look up close you can see the two sets of red stitches, but that doesn’t bother me.

The quilt took me approximately 115 hours to complete, give or take 10 minutes. That’s the longest I’ve ever spent on a quilt. And I’m not done! I want to enter it in my guild’s show in spring. I’ll need to add a sleeve and I didn’t quilt as many stars as I wanted to. The two topmost and bottommost stripes are blank. I want to quilt more stars (white ones this time) in the two red stripes and blue stars in the two white stripes. I think that’ll make a really cool border. I just didn’t have time for another 48 stars.  I’ll need to make a second tag with actual quilt information on it, too.  Lastly I need to make sure I can get all the pencil marks out of it, and wash it.

When I told Z I wanted to enter it in the show, he immediately handed it back to me. (So sweet!) I assured him he could keep it in the interim. When the show gets closer I’ll take it to work on.  (I’m going to feel so bad taking it back from him!)  Z really loves the quilt. I knew he would. I put so much love into it and spent so much time thinking about what he’d like and making it special and personal for him.

I don’t think my piecing or my quilting are technically perfect by any sense of the word, but I think my design is really special. I’m planning to enter it for judging and see how creativity counts vs. technical skill.

“What So Proudly We Hail” Part III

On Monday I showed you the hand quilting of patriotic phrases on my flag quilt. Today I’ll show you the rest of the quilting.

The rest of the quilting – appropriately, I think – is stars. First, fifty stars for the fifty states. I quilted stars with a running stitch in white thread.

I did my math wrong initially and I wasn’t going to have enough stars. I had to redraw some of them to hit 50. (I don’t know how I thought I’d have enough! The rules of math do not change!)

I quilted stars using a running stitch with red thread in between the patriotic quotes. One at the top of the flag and one after each quote. At the end of the quilt I had enough space for three stars. I decided to do one red, one white, and one blue. I knew the white wouldn’t show up on the white fabric, though, so I did a whip stitch going around it – once in red and once in blue. I thought that came out really nicely.

All of my quilting was on the white stripes. I decided to quilt stars on the red stripes too. I chose red thread so it wouldn’t distract from the phrases. (Although I think a running stitch in white thread would also look great.)


For reasons I can’t understand, I had a problem with fuzz catching on the thread and showing when I quilted but only with the red stars. I can’t figure it out. It helped if I kept the thread short and pulled the needle straight up through the fabric rather than at an angle but other than that I have no idea what caused the problem. I’m not happy with how that worked out.  There are 8 stars on the short stripes and 12 on the long stripes.  That’s 64 total.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the binding and the finished quilt!

“What So Proudly We Hail” Part II

Happy Monday!  I had a busy week and I finished three more Christmas presents (including this quilt, actually), so I’m making progress.

Today I’m going to show you the assembly for my magnum opus, “What so proudly we hail,” and talk about some of the quilting.

I bought fabric for the backing from Keepsake Quilting.  I’m not sure what fabric collection it’s part of, but it’s called “Freedom Rings,” and it’s perfect. It has circles of gold stars on a cream background, giving it a nice patriotic feel. I used twin sized batting and it was just large enough.

I had to assemble the quilt on my floor. Normally I go to my parents’ house, but this was a surprise for Z and the only time I would have been at my parents’ house to do it, he was with me.

I knew I wanted to make the quilt all hand-quilted. Remember how quick the piecing came together? If I had machine quilted it – think wavy lines all along the stripes to give it movement – I’d have been done months ago. However, I wanted to quilt patriotic quotes on the flag- and, of course, fifty stars for the fifty states.

I told one of my guild friends that I was going to quilt patriotic sayings into every stripe and she told me I’d never have time for that.  I took that into consideration and decided to only quilt sayings on the white stripes and to leave out the top and bottommost white stripes (in case I had to cut into them when it came time to square up the quilt.

Then I started planning what sayings I wanted. I made myself a list. I already had some ideas: patriotic song lyrics, John F. Kennedy’s famous “ask what you can do for your country,” and a New England hymn that dates back to revolutionary War times, but I researched quotes by our founding fathers and important presidents, paying particular attention to Z’s favorites. John Adams is his favorite founding father but I also read quotes by Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, etc.  I had a specific idea for the tone of the quilt and I also wanted sayings that would be meaningful for Z.

I ended up with a long list that I then had to cut down for space reasons. Here’s the final list (and an explanation for each quote and why I chose it).

1.  “For what avail the plough or sail, Or land or life, if freedom fail?” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (from his poem “Boston”)
I found this quote online and it just struck me.  I thought z would like it too. J saw it and commented that the quilt would be very serious, and it is. It’s about the freedom and sacrifice and the values america is built on. It’s about how we don’t always live up to our values but we strive to improve because we believe in them. America isn’t a perfect country but we were founded on the principles of freedom and equality and justice, and that we hold those dear and work toward them even when we fall short is what makes america a special place. When my grandparents escaped from Hungary behind the iron curtain after the hungarian Revolution, there were a lot of countries they could have immigrated to. They chose America because they wanted their children to grow up free. That’s why people come here. Z grew up in New England, steeped in the history of the birthplace of the American Revolution, and it’s part of his being, that pride in America and all the good that it stands for, and the belief that we sacrifice for it, to make our country that great place. So that’s what I wanted to capture with every line of this quilt.  (Forgive my rambling.)

2. “Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.” – John Adams
Again, Z’s favorite founding father.  I knew I needed an Adams quote. It’s heavy, again, but it captures the essence of the quilt.

3. “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy
The modern expression of the same ideals – and I couldn’t leave out Kennedy for a quilt for my New England man.

4. “Let justice be done though the heavens should fall.” – Lord Mansfield/John Adams
I was a little bit concerned about internet attributions being inaccurate – how much can we trust the internet?  I had a slight hitch here.  I found this quote listed as belonging to John Adams; when Z saw the quilt, he immediately recognized it as being a quote by Lord Mansfield.  (If you saw the movie “Belle” – and if you haven’t, I highly recommend it – this is the same Lord Mansfield.  He served as Lord Chief Justice and handed down many famous rulings in British jurisprudence.  Z researched him after seeing “Belle” and that’s how he knew the quote.)  I’ve now done more thorough research and this quote has been used multiple times in both the British and American courts and judicial writings, dating back to the 1600s.  Lord Mansfield used it in one of his rulings and John Adams later used it in a letter written to Elbridge Gerry, a fellow Massachusetts representative to the Second Continental Congress, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and future Vice President.  I had wanted all my quotes to be “American” and was disappointed that I’d made a mistake with a misattributed quote, although Z assured me that Adams would have respected Lord Mansfield and was pleased with the choice.  Now I know that we were both right!

5. “Let tyrants shake their iron rod.  We fear them not; we trust in God.” – selection of song lyrics from “Chester,” by William Billings

I first heard this song watching the Adams miniseries with Z.  (P.S.  Does anyone else always read the words of John Adams and hear them spoken in the voice of either Paul Giamatti or Mr. Feeney?  Perhaps it’s just me.)  The full verse is “Let tyrants shake their iron rod, And Slav’ry clank her galling chains, We fear them not, we trust in God, New England’s God forever reigns.”  It was a popular Revolutionary War-era hymn in New England.  Per Z, school kids still learn it and he was surprised I’d never heard it before.  (Z also learned whaling shanties in school when he was growing up, which he refuses to sing for me, because he claims he “can’t remember.”)  I left out the line about slavery and the line about New England’s God because the former didn’t fit the tone of the quilt and because the quilt is about America, not New England.

6. “O beautiful, for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved.” – lyrics from “America the Beautiful”

I wanted to include some patriotic song lyrics.  I picked lines that I felt would most appeal to Z, not necessarily opening lines or the most famous lines.  I didn’t finish the rhyming couplet because I knew I was running out of space.  (Also, at this point in the quilting I kept getting the songs stuck in my head.)

7. “Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!” – lyrics from “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee”

I picked the line that referenced Pilgrims as a nod to Z’s New England roots again.

8. “Fidelis ad mortem.” – Faithful unto death, the motto of the NYPD

This has special meaning for Z, and again I felt that it was in line with the spirit of the quilt.

I had a longer list that I couldn’t fit, including “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable” – Daniel Webster; the opening lines of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (“Our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”); and the last line of “God Bless America” (“God bless America, land that I love, my home sweet home”) (and now I’m going to have Kate Smith’s version stuck in my head – it’s the one they always play at Yankees games).  I had wanted to incorporate lyrics from “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and had settled on “Glory, glory, hallelujah!” because none of the other lyrics fit what I wanted, but in the end I replaced it with “Fidelis ad mortem” instead.

In order to do the quilting, I first practiced my cursive on paper (seriously, I had to write some of the phrases over and over because I’m not used to writing cursive anymore) and then traced the phrases onto the quilt.  (Z specifically asked how I quilted in cursive and I showed him my practice cursive in my noteebook.)  Then I quilted them with dark blue thread to show up on the white background.

Tomorrow is Travel Tuesday and Wednesday T-Rex will be guest posting!  We’ll come back to my magnum opus on Friday and I’ll show you the rest of the quilting.