Tuesday, December 31, 2013


My final production for the year of 2013 is a small baby quilt called "Sisters".

Partly as a personal challenge, and partly because it seemed a good way to get a wide selection of batiks in tan, pink purple and brown (the desired color scheme), the quilt top is made entirely from 10 inch squares from two Tonga Treats layer cakes. The light tans were used for the background squares and sliced up to make a piano key border, the pinks and purples were used for the bunnies, and some nice chocolate browns were used for the 1 1/2 inch sashing and corner stones (all very simple and traditional).

The snoozing bunny image comes from Darcy Ashton (she has the cutest drawings of bunnies, dogs, etc). I made a plastic template and then used it to trace 18 bunnies. I used a stencil cutter to make slots for later marking of outline stitching and embroidery lines.

I cut out 9 purple bunnies (3 from each of 3 fabrics) and 9 pink bunnies (also 3 from 3) and then paired up each pink with each purple (i.e. pink1 with purple1, pink1 with purple 2, pink 1 with purple 3, pink 2 with purple1, etc) to get 9 pairs.

I laid out the background squares to get the arrangement and positioned the bunnies so that every block is a little different. Sometimes the sisters are snuggled close, sometimes they are further apart but still in concord, sometimes pink is in front and sometimes they are facing in opposite directions. I wanted this quilt to be soft and usable, so instead of fusing, I glue basted around the edges and then free motion start stitched twice around, just inside the raw edge (with tear-away stabilizer underneath. The raw edges are a little frayed, and there is a slightly rustic feel. I used a 12 wt cotton thread to embroider the bunny's noses and eyes before trimming the squares to 9 1/2 inches for assembly.

Assembly was very simple -- I presashed the squares and then sewed the inner top together.

The borders were made by slicing each of the remaining background squares into 3 vertical strips (some narrower than others), sewing all the strips back together along the long edges into one long piano key strip, and then sewing the ends of the strip together to get a big loop. This was cut down the middle to get two loops about 96 inches around and 5 inches wide. Like in bargello quilts, the loop allowed me to decide to start the border in different places and adds diversity. Each half loop made enough for two border strips, and the remaining 10 inch square of corner stone fabric was cut into 4 squares for the outer corner stones.

Quilting was simple and not too dense. I quilted in the ditch along both sides of all the sashing, free motion quilted around the outside of the bunnies, and then loosely filled the background. Each square uses adiffernt filler. In a couple of cases I just followed the batik pattern. The border was done in a big free motion feather that turns the corner and goes all the way around. It adds texture but only shows on the lighter, plainer fabrics.

The binding is a Marcia Derse fabric (I have a bunch but usually just look at it admiringly and pet it -- this is the first time I've cut into it). After sewing to the front, I used glue basting to tack it to the back and then stitched in the ditch on the front, just catching the edge on the back. Not as beautiful as hand sewing, but SOOO much faster, and actually looks pretty good.

This quilt is a present for the woman who has given me great haircuts for the last nearly 10 years, and who also used to cut my father's hair during the 4 years he lived with me and my husband. She was wonderful to him, and now she is having a baby and this is an opportunity to say 'Thanks'.

Thanks for reading and best wishes for the New Year -- which is now....