Gramz's Blog

Musings of a crazy quilter

for Bella

A cousin offered to pay me to do a "retro" quilt in pink and aqua for her daughter's youth bed. I offered to do one free if she picked fabrics from my stash so I posted pics on FB of fabrics for her approval. She wasn't crazy about them and wanted softer colors.

She was in the process of moving and has been understandably way too busy to answer my questions regarding "retro" (style or fabric? decade?) and color choice so I went to my local fabric store and searched for a "retro" fabric with those colors. Didn't find one. Weird. Last year I could have found dozens of fabrics in those colors.

So I picked this pretty bird fabric from JoAnn's and thought I could pull out that aqua-ish blue. Hoping "retro" refers to style, I went with a patchwork block of slanted stars with yellow centers to look like flowers and used the bird fabric for the border. After I had already started I realized I had not purchased enough fabric for the backing. Since I prefer to back smaller quilts with a whole cloth, I had to return to the fabric store. I got really lucky because the companion fabrics were all on clearance. I even have enough leftovers to do another quilt.

I still have difficulty taking "orders" for quilts because I still feel like my skills are just above rookie status. Besides, I am afraid they might not like it - or, worse, I might not like it - unless I go with my own plan. If I design and make a quilt using my own ideas and they someone wants to buy it, that is okay. Anyway, this one is getting mailed tomorrow and I consider it a gift.

Here are some pics.

To quilt I stitched in the ditch around the "stars", leaving the centers unquilted so they have some loft. To emphasize the flowers I traced and quilted the shape of the leaf (these are similar to "melons", I later learned, but the leafs are more curvy) using a walking foot. I echoed the leaf on the outer square. For the solid white squares in the corners I quilted a bird. I keep thinking it could use more quilting, but I would rather not do too much and I like do the simplicity of this piece.

Don't you just love bias-cut striped binding?


I wanted the stripe effect to be consistent from top to bottom so I had to play with the fabric a bit before cutting the borders. After completing all the patch worked area, I folded it in half to find the middle. Then I found the center vine in the top and bottom border fabric and pinned it to the middle mark of the patchwork. Then I cut the side borders to match the top and bottom as closely as possible. It didn't work out exactly because the vine zig-zags a bit. Quilting a straight line between the vines fools the eye so the fabric does not appear to be pieced unless you look closely.

From the conception of this project I have been contemplating the quilt label. Since the back is pretty, too, I had the idea that the bed might be made with the quilt turned over for a change; if so, then a label stuck in the corner would look odd. So I came up with the idea to center the label at the top of the back and upside down. If the quilt is turned over the little bird is visible at the foot of the bed. Or, if the patchwork side is up, once Bella is tucked in for the night, the quilt could be folded back to reveal the little bird. I have not marked the label yet, but here is what it looks like so far.


I plan to get it finished today. I still have to wash out the markings for the quilting and get it dried out so I can ship it to Bella. I hope she (and her momma) like it.

Published Thu, Aug 9 2012 8:00 AM by Gramz Quilts


# re: for Bella@ Tuesday, August 14, 2012 8:21 PM

Your quilt is beautiful.  I love the fabrics, design, and quilting.

by Nana

# re: for Bella@ Wednesday, August 15, 2012 3:40 PM

Lovely quilt Bella, great fabrics and I really liked your description of the process.  Thanks for sharing,

by Donna B

# re: for Bella@ Monday, August 20, 2012 9:20 PM

Nicely done. Bella has to like it.

by Pamela

# re: for Bella@ Saturday, September 15, 2012 10:50 PM

Thanks, ladies!