For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

Quilting Gazette: Doll Quilt Swap

housequilt3.jpg
Dear Ann,
It was only a matter of time before I signed up for one of those doll quilt swaps. I’m a proud, if terrified, participant in Doll Quilt Swap 5. So many talented, experienced, skilled quilters–and me. The deadline is in early December. A full month ahead, the anxiety began. I found it so hard to choose a concept, a pattern, or fabrics, for someone about whom I know so little. In my mind, I built up my recipient into a formidable, persnickety paragon of quilting virtue, who necessarily will be dismissive of my scrappy, folksy, blast-o-fabric style, not to mention the “charming” imprecision in my piecing and handquilting. (I’m sure she’s not any of these things. This is an anxiety response, pure and simple.)
Eventually, though, deadline pressure pushed me into git ‘r done mode, and I pieced a small quilt of humbleness. Size-wise, it’s at the outside limits for the swap at 24″ x 24″. The design was inspired by a version of the old-time “schoolhouse” block that I saw in a couple of Japanese quilting books. The recipient likes warm colors, so I made the houses orange.
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Here it is, freshly pieced and pressed, batted and backed, and taped to Orna’s dining room table. (What? You don’t drop by a friend’s house, ask for masking tape, and baste up a quilt sandwich? Orna did not think anything about it.)
japanesehousequilt.jpg
Here it is again, in the end stages of handquilting. (Note to the Quilting Police: It was basted very thoroughly to begin with, but I love to pull the basting threads out as soon as they are no longer needed.) My quilting stitches are reasonably even and small now, but my refusal to mark the quilt top means that sometimes my lines are pretty wavery. Late in the process, it occurred to me that if I did not pull the thread all the way through after every little 3-5 stitch section (I use the “rocker” method), I could save that time and work more quickly. Doing it this way, all of a sudden my lines became much straighter, too. This is yet another reason for me to get myself into a quilting class. In two seconds, someone could have taught me this, several hundred thousand hand stitches ago! There is a limit to the virtue of being self-taught.
Anyway, I’m about to put a navy blue linen binding on it (also Japanese), then wash it up and send it off to meet its recipient. I’ll show it again, and include the back, which shows the concentric squares of the quilting stitches. This wee quilt is well made in the sense that it’s not going to fall apart, but it lacks the finesse I aspire to. (I’m not looking for reassurance; I’m just saying!)
Love,
Kay

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53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. The wavering lines of quilting only add to the charm.

  2. As with most things we crafty people (knitters, quilters, needlework, etc.) make with our hands, only you will see the imperfections. It is amazing! Beautiful work.

  3. As with most things we crafty people (knitters, quilters, needlework, etc.) make with our hands, only you will see the imperfections. It is amazing! Beautiful work.

  4. somewhere out there is a very lucky doll quilt recipient. those colors are great together and i love the schoolhouse blocks.

  5. If I got that quilt from you I would have a mild cerebral infraction. (Oh my — I study way too much.) I love it. The birds…it’s like they are chirping at me. “Cock-a-doodle doo!” The rooster says.
    Ok. Can I go live in one of the houses in your quilt? Please? So wonderful.

  6. I love it! You’ve really got a great eye for color and design! I keep thinking on joining one of the quilt swaps but I chicken out. I will one of these days though. So – when are you writing a Mason-Dixon Quilting book????

  7. I’m glad you didn’t go for perfect at the expense of personality and art. This is lovely, a conversation between friends. Brava.

  8. Dang, I wish I were getting this quilt–I love it! You have some very neat fabrics..those cursive handwriting lines are great!
    xo, b

  9. I’m impressed by your tiny stitches. Nicely done!

  10. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You have a great color sense and from what I can see of it, the composition is pretty good too. And they’re harder to learn than technique.
    As I was taught in my childhood
    “Patience and perseverance
    Made a Lordship of his Reverence.”
    Press on!
    Besides, it’s adorable.

  11. I love the bits of newsprint fabric in there – I can tell it’s going to be very hard to mail that away!

  12. I love that quilt so much.

  13. oh, I want to be you. This is so beautiful and so amazing. I wish I didn’t have to do go my stupid day job and that i could find time amidst the knitting to quilt too. There just aren’t enough hours to the day. And your quilt is exquisite. I especially love how there are words on it. The recipient is really very lucky.

  14. It’s beautiful! I love the chickens/chicks/birds peeking out the windows. Lovely.

  15. You knit, you quilt, you hook rugs, you amuse us almost every day – what in the h-e-double hockey sticks can you do for an encore? (Seriously you even feed us recipes from time to time – I don’t what else you can do!)

  16. Yer killing us. You gone and held another craft lottery and some doll quilt swapper is winnin it. Freaking awesome.

  17. LUV IT!

  18. Kay, Kay, Kay. Like so few quilts, this one has real heart. It sings!!!
    Truthfully, won’t you hate to part with it? If it’s coming my way (doubtful, yet possible since mine hasn’t yet arrived…), you may visit anytime. :-)

  19. a SWEET delight! question: are you quilting in your lap with a wooden hoop? i love it’s flavor!

  20. It’s fabulous. Even if it IS the Dark Side of the force :) x x x

  21. the little girls peeking
    around the doorways and windows
    are a lets tell a tale about
    the girl in the pig tails
    do you think she has been to oz
    all the chicks peeping out the
    windows do you think they
    make this kind for grown ups
    dolls have all the fun
    a much loved premmie would like one

  22. You are a rockin’ quilter, woman, and don’t you forget it! That is too stinkin’ cute for words – very wabi, very sabi, and I’m darned if I can see any imperfections (but then, I don’t carry a badge.)
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. That quilt is just so CUTE!! Your choice of fabric combinations is just as important as the quilt construction. A very happy quilt to behold!
    Sara

  24. I think the wavy lines of quilting totally add to it!

  25. Absolutely charming. My quilting runs to geometric color work, but I love looking at things like this. Sort of Quilter’s Voyeurism of the work one doesn’t do or do well. Thanks for sharing this.

  26. My quilting aspires to such handiwork as yours! I love the selvages worked into the houses, the blue skies, the little ducks….I could go on.

  27. You’ve done it again – made me slack jawed with your creativity and productivity. Woman, do you ever sleep?
    The quilt is gorgeous. By the way, your swap partner called and said I could have the quilt!

  28. Oh shush, it’s as cute as can be! Haven’t seen that version of the house block before, it’s a really great one.

  29. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. Everything about the quilt is wonderful. Who needs classes? You’re doing GREAT!!! Keep on quiltin’!!

  30. i wonder if the folks in chevy chase
    got thier 75’000

  31. Goshdangittoheckandgone. Where are your ugly beginner quilts? You apparently wear blinders all of the time to focus on only the cutest, most irresistible projects. Jeez.
    Headed downstairs to my fabric stash right now . . .

  32. So impressed. You’ve done a fabulous job! It’s adorable.
    (((hugs)))

  33. you have to have orna make you some shabu shabu in that funny looking pot…mmmmmmm.
    beautiful quilt!

  34. Awesome piece of work Kay
    I find that when I figure out something myself that it “sticks” better than when I “learn” it in class — but that could be just me
    You have a great sense of color and form, which carries from your knitting to your quilting — never underestimate the value of transferable skills!!

  35. Now I know what is missing in my life — I just need some friends who wouldn’t mind me dropping in to do a little quilting (or maybe some finishing work on my knitting). The sign of a true friend (well, that and maybe she serves some nice tea and some kind of chocolate!).

  36. I think it is gorgeous, and too much finesse is overrated anyway. I can’t ever try quilting, at least not until I work through my stash of yarn, or I’ll be divorced.

  37. Wish I was the recipient of that pretty, little quilt! Good job. Now, can you tell me what is sitting in that little bowl on Orna’s table in the second picture? A melted candle? A home made cinnamon roll?

  38. it’s a work of art. simply beautiful.

  39. Welcome to the world of quilting!I quilted first before I started crochet. I only learned to knit in 2006. It is a lovely doll quilt.I knew one you did the polo shirt quilt,it wouldn’t be long.

  40. I find myself worrying about what the quilting police or the knitting police would say about my projects. It gets to the point that my creative urges are stifled under the weight of doubt and self criticism. But then I see a wonderful project like yours and I think it’s time to go up to my room and make stuff. And by the way, I love fabric with words on it! If the recipient of this quilt does not adore it, then she deserves a swift kick.

  41. Gee, Kay, people are always tellin’ me that I’m a (living) doll–doesn’t that make me eligible for one of your d’lightful and d’lovely doll quilts…?
    LoveDiane :)

  42. Gorgeous as usual. Stop being so damn inspiring! My house is a mess, my children seem to be turning into feral dogs, and now all I want to do is go make a bunch of doll quilts.

  43. Aw chickie, that’s a darn fine quilt. I don’t know what you do with a 24″ square piece of loving quilting (although I can imagine it as a very comforting, very large pillow), but I’m not casting stones. I just shoved a box of new fingering weight oddballs into the back of the closet because the entire shelf that is devoted to fingering weight oddballs couldn’t take anymore. (But these colors are DIFFERENT. I need them to round out the other oddballs!)
    Beauty and charm always have a purpose.
    So — we’ll see the knitted version in MDK3?

  44. How I love quilts – and yours turned out great! I’m sure the recipient will be thrilled!

  45. Jeez that’s awesome. I love that.

  46. I love the newspaper type fabric you used. Where did you get that?

  47. When do you SLEEP?

  48. What a dear little, comfy quilt you’ve created! Love your Mongolian hot pot, also. I had a larger one and used it so frequently that the tin lining wore off. It made many a warming winter dinner in our drafty and unheated house.

  49. It’s beautiful! The houses are darling and little duckies peeping through are so cute! I’m sure your partner will love it even if your style is different from hers.

  50. 1. Straight lines are over rated
    2. Love the Mongolian hot pot.

  51. Fabulous quilt, Kay. I wish I was your swap partner!

  52. What a charming quilt! There is so much to enjoy as I look at it, the letters marching across, the variety of prints, the duckling and others peaking out of their frames. I think it’s a mini masterpiece, and the stitches complement the design.

  53. I’m always admiring all those doll quilt swap quilts on flickr… so I totally understand being intimidated. Yours is adorable. :) I wonder why not pulling the thread all the way through ends up with straighter lines? (I’ve made one… um… “quilt”. I dream of making more, though.)