I Spy a finished Jigsaw Quilt

I’m so excited to share my latest finish with you today. This quilt is for my godson as his christening present in a few weeks time. I’m delighted I got it finished in time.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions on the layout. I trialled (what seemed like) every combination of block placement possible. In the end I felt that the quilt needed something smooth and flowing to balance the riot of colours, images and corners. A rainbow effect seemed to tie everything together and give the overall Jigsaw coherence. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.img_0802.jpg


It’s a really busy quilt, but I like that the busyness of the patterns mean that it can cope with so many bright colours. The images were gathered over a series of months from scraps and fat quarters that caught my eye. I also asked his mum for some of his old baby clothes so I could include them as well. That’s where the larger motifs and the two pockets came from. I’m hoping that the I Spy element of the quilt will keep it fun as he grows up and starts learning to talk.

The finished size is 39″ x 44″. I quilted in the ditch around each square and then free motion quilted around each Jigsaw protrusion. That was hard going but I got better as I went along. For the larger blocks I just picked out a couple of shapes/lines in each to quilt over to stabilise it.

It’s been washed (very gently in the bath) and it didn’t fall apart, so when I’ve worked up the courage I’m going to try it in the washing machine. I want to be able to confidently tell his mum that it can withstand normal household usage. Fingers crossed.

The quilt itself is nice and snuggly. I was very cosy with it on my lap whilst I buried my quilting ends. However, for an 8-month-old I figured a play mat would be just as useful as a blanket. So I came up with an idea to make it suitable for both indoor and outdoor play. Here it is in its outdoor mode.

Don’t notice much difference?

We’ll look closer at the corners. On the underside of the quilt I placed a button hole in each corner.

Then I got a piece of vinyl table cloth and cut it a little bit larger than the quilt. Using the leftovers I made a button hole square and attached it to the underside of each corner of the vinyl.

And voila!! Now the quilt can be used outside without worrying about it getting wet or muddy. Simply attach the two layers together with the buttons in each corner.


Building blocks for the Jigsaw Quilt

One of the cute baby outfits my friend gave me to include in her son’s quilt had an adorable little applique panda leaning into view and waving. It was too big for one of the 5″ blocks and it was on a white background which wouldn’t fit too well with the bright colours I’m using in the design.

I decided this might be a good opportunity to get Christopher’s name into the design by turning the panda piece into a large feature block.

I extended the white background by joining two pieces together to give me a wider surface to play with. Then I made some building blocks and hand embroidered his name onto the lower tier. I turned the edges under and got them to more-or-less stay put with the same bondaweb layer than enabled me to fix the blocks to the background.


I stitched the internal edges of each block to help them be a bit more recognisable. However, now I’m really stuck for how to secure the edges without making it look too textured. I’m almost tempted to leave them as they are and just use an all over quilting design to secure the edges ‘almost’ incidentally.

Any thoughts? This quilt is proving quite the design challenge.


A quilt for my uncle

My Grandmother died early in 2015. Her eldest son (my uncle) asked me to use some of her favourite clothes to make a quilt. He gave me a huge pile of clothing but picked out a bright red skirt and a purple paisley skirt as most important to include. He also requested that I include the image of a ship. Recently, he and Granny had enjoyed going on cruises and he wanted their shared hobby to be reflected in the quilt.

The design for this quilt was a long time coming. However, in the end I picked a few more items of clothing that co-ordinated with the two ‘must include’ items. I then ordered some nautical themed fabric to help with the overall coherence of the quilt. I experimented with some scene-based layouts but I’ve never done an ‘art’ quilt and it just didn’t feel right to me. I eventually decided to use equilateral triangles all over. I felt this had a nice link to signal flags used on ships (so enhancing the nautical theme) but also gave each of the fabrics a chance to be recognisable in their own right and so do the job of being a memory quilt


Granny’s red skirt was given pride of place with a single triangle to make it really stand out. I also added a flange to the border using the red fabric so it encircled the whole quilt. It felt like the best way to include it without throwing off the nautical colour scheme.


Archer decided that he had to be in all the pictures of this quilt. There is just no arguing with him when he’s that cute.


I embroidered a ship in one of the triangles made from one of Granny’s old bed sheets. The quilting was simple wavy lines to evoke the sea in an otherwise very angular pattern.


This quilt was a really strange journey for me. In the beginning stages it was all about remembering Granny and doing something to work through my own feelings. However, the more I stitched the more it became my uncle’s quilt. My thoughts shifted to him, his relationship with Granny, my relationship with him, and how this quilt could help stitch our family closer together. Finally I made the quilt label. Instead of naming the quilt, I just embroidered a message that summed up everything the quilt had come to be.

Tablet computer pouch redux

I think I may have stumbled onto something with the tablet pouch design. Yesterday I got a phone call from my Dad telling me that he has bought my Mum a laptop for her birthday and asking if I could make her a case for it. A quick chat with my Mum then revealed that she would like a pouch like the two I blogged about recently, but also, could she have a unique and special laptop bag to hold more than just the laptop. Hmm, somehow my Amy Butler Weekender Bag doesn’t feel like the biggest bag making challenge I’m going to have this year. I’ve been away from home this weekend, so no sewing :(. Instead I have been busying myself by designing my Mum’s laptop bag. Now, she knows about my blog so I’m not going to be able to say too much about the design here (at least until after her birthday). However, I just wanted to show you my design notebook. IMG_0152 Isn’t it pretty?! It has fabric and embroidered embellishments, but it also has a teapot design (ok I clearly have a problem with teapots – see here, here and here). I use the book as a doodle space, but also to help plan out the construction process for various projects. It’s not neat but it keeps everything in one place and gives me a resource to refer back to when I repeat a design (like I did for the tablet pouch)   IMG_0154

Tablet Computer Pouch

For Christmas I made my husband a tablet computer pouch. I followed this tutorial (but used velcro instead of a buckle to fasten the flap down). I also changed the size so that it just fitted the tablet for security.


I used a heavy weight cotton for the outer, then a layer of batting, and then a layer of fleece for the lining. I was pleased with how it turned out. This weekend I looked at it again to take some photos for this post. Once I scraped off the worst of the mud and dirt I could see it still looked pretty good. Also, it is quite clearly being used to protect his tablet so it clearly works – Yay!! Don’t you just love it when people really use the things you make for them.


Once I had made one for my husband’s tablet, I then wanted one for myself. I didn’t have a fleece left but I did have three coordinating paisley prints that would work. I used two layers of batting in my version to try and match the effect of batting + fleece that had worked for my husband.


It does still work but my case looks much puffier and less crisp than his. I also only had a tiny square of velcro to hold the flap down so the edges curl up a little. Never mind, it does the job and a couple of people at work have commented on it favourably at meetings so I’m happy. I even have space to slip in a notebook and pen next to my tablet so I’m all set for whatever a meeting may need.


Fire drill quilt

I’ve started collecting together fabrics for a new quilt. I love this phase; it’s so full of promise and possibilities. I’m actually going to follow my first pattern rather than making it up as I go along. I’ll be making my version of Elizabeth Hartman’s Fire Drill Quilt.

I’m not going to be using the same colour scheme though. One of the variations Elizabeth suggests is a cooler alternative made up of grey prints with some really vibrant shots of teal/turquoise solids. So now I’m on the hunt for my fabrics.

I’ve already started deviating from the instructions. It would appear I am very bad at actually following a pattern. Rather than going for 8 prints and 1 solid, I’m trying to find 13 prints in a mix of grey, navy and turquoise. I think I will also look for 3 or 4 solids in a mix of grey, navy, teal and turquoise. I’m going for a slightly scrappier look overall but still keeping it mainly grey with striking shots of bright colour.

Here’s my collection of fabrics so far. I’ve found the prints a lot easier to source than the solids so I think I’ll take a special trip to a larger quilting shop this weekend to fill in the gaps. So much fun!! I can’t wait to start cutting into them.


Do you tend to follow a pattern or make it up as you go?