Mr. Walrus

Meet Mr. Walrus, my latest quilt, created during Quilting Gail’s baby quilt marathon.

66762262_10217289620167082_8453995917849133056_nBack in her early university days, my older daughter, Margaret,  taught sailing at a YMCA camp in the Finger Lakes of New York. Her second in command, Annie, was a hilariously funny, sweet girl; they rapidly became bosom buddies. When Annie got married, Margaret was a bridesmaid. When Margaret got married, Annie was her Master of Ceremonies. At that wedding, I met Annie’s husband, who responded with, “You’re the person who made the beautiful quilt we sleep under every night. Thank you. ” Did a quilter ever hear sweeter words? Here’s a picture of it, from my pre-blogging days. It’s Hampton’s Quilt Pattern from It’s Sew Emma.  img_1081.jpgThe stitch and flip construction method of the pattern resulted in a number of cut off  triangles. I sewed them together and hoarded them. When Annie’s first son was expected, I was ready. I trimmed those triangles, sewed them together, added an Elizabeth Hartman Preppy the Whale, and made him a quilt. Here it is, plunked on a bed for a quick picture before being gifted. DSCN1617Fast forward a couple years and Annie is pregnant again. The triangles have all been used up, but never fear, fabric hoarder is here. I had taken the remaining scraps and cobbled them into an improv piece of fabric, and had put aside a few of the larger leftovers, along with other fabric from the same collection. I had the makings of a quilt.

If one child had gotten a whale, the other needed an impressive sea creature too. Elizabeth Hartman came to the rescue again. This is her Walrus, from her North Stars pattern. He took a while to cut out, but the piecing was absolutely straight forward; I highly recommend her patterns. You do need to label the pattern pieces as you cut them; I use masking tape and a pen.

Before long, Mr. Walrus was complete, and I was challenged with putting him into a quilt. I was slow; indecision plagued me.  It took me more than an hour to move from the picture on the left to the one on the right. All that time for a few half square triangles and some scraps!

I decided to add some love, in the form of hugs and kisses (o’s and x’s), but they needed a little definition, so I added some narrow partial borders.


Then it was time to slice up the improv fabric slab and add it. The top corner got a star for interest and inspiration, to make up for a shortfall in the fabric, and to balance the design a bit. Amazing what one simple star can do!

66936619_10217296580421084_4743469895834927104_nThe hunt for a backing was a little challenging since it needed to be 44′ wide. I ended up inserting a stripe into some flannel, and although I did suffer some thread breakage when quilting the centre seam, it was fine in the end. The quilting was a pretty basic loopy meander, although I did add a number of stars and hearts, and some cool hairlike texture to the walrus himself.  He was finished with some solid grey binding, attached by machine and sewn down by hand.

The weather here has been wet and cool for days now, but finally it cleared and Mr. Walrus had his photo taken. First he went to the Marine Sciences Centre, but his friends, the seals, were unavailable.67267131_10217289619607068_8815933657991610368_n

Off he went to a nearby beach and relaxed on the rocks.

Isn’t it interesting the difference light makes? The sun had just done down behind the hill in the right picture, but still lit up the rocks in the left one nicely.


The quilt was finished on June 13 after 15 hours work. Thanks to Quilting Gail’s marathon,  I have completed two baby quilts this month. To fill up the last .7 hour of the 26.2, I cut pieces for another. They are now in my leader/ender basket. Marathon completed.

Linking up with Quilting Gail and Susan’s Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication.

City Baby

66610279_10217242119259589_3202465763520675840_nCity Baby is finished and ready for her new owner. Who would have thought the quilt would be ready before the baby arrived?

Quilting Gail is hosting a Baby Quilt Marathon, so I thought I’d see how much progress I could make in 26 hours, and took note of time spent sewing. It turns out I am a slower quilter than I thought. Traditionally, particularly with slow surgeons, to determine the length of time of time of an operation, you take the surgeon’s estimate of time required, double it, add half an hour, and you’ll have the actual time required. I must be fair and add that there are many surgeons in whom this calculation is not required; those are the ones with insight. There are more who need a clock replaced with a calendar, but this is not the place for that discussion. I now realize that, had I done surgery instead of anesthesia, I would be completely deluded about how long it would take for me to do a case. Still, like them, I eventually finish the job, and City Baby is now complete.

Several years ago, my daughter’s good friend got married and I made a wedding quilt. It was modelled after Zen Chic’s  Shine Through  pattern, but I pieced multiples of Tula Pink’s City Sampler blocks in place of appliquéd fabric. Here it is. Do you recognize any Kaffe Fassett fabric? Do you recognize me?IMG_0111

When the quilt was finished, I took the leftover blocks and bits (there were more than a few since I was playing with layout as I went), and put them in a bag. This spring there was happy news that the young couple was expecting a daughter, and I pulled out those bits to make a baby quilt for them. I took them to a Guild retreat, and assembled the flimsy. 66436198_10217239130904882_6518524074761650176_nI was trying for colour progression, like the parents’ quilt. Unlike that one, this has a straight setting with sashing and corner stones. But then, a child has recognizable bits from its parents, in a unique combination. I questioned the corner stones, but after consultation with fellow quilters and my daughter, they went in. With judicious cutting, the Tula Pink High Tidein aquamarine, from the Zuma collection, worked well for them, and added to the colour/ value movement. The flimsy was finished and put aside.

Then came the baby quilt marathon, and I finished it. It took me 10 1/2 hours to choose backing, load the quilt, quilt it, trim it, choose and attach binding and sew it down by hand.

These were my binding options. The pink “boob” fabric, hey dot, by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic, was an obvious choice; it’s much closer to lavender in reality. I bought it on sale last month at Avonport Discount Centre, a worthwhile stop if you’re in Nova Scotia, Canada. My daughter pointed out that the motif was very much on trend, with it’s nod to female empowerment. Perfect for today’s baby girl. I must add that while I heartily embrace the movement away from colour stereotyping, the quilt felt very blue for a girl. I was thrilled to find a terrific pink binding. Showing my age, I am.

Summer is finally here, so I took the quilt pondside to sew down the binding. At my friend Gillian’s suggestion, I tried Sulky Blendable thread for the job, and loved it.


After more than three hours, the quilt was finished. It needed it’s photo shoot.

Here it is in the morning light. The sun washed out the colours a bit, but side light in the early morning certainly showed the texture of the quilting.


On its way back to the house, I passed some ajuga that I’m leaving unmowed until the flowers are gone. The bees love it.66577175_10217239142265166_4449857693733093376_nKitty Wilkin, the Night Quilter, told us that evening light was lovely and warm for quilt photos, so I took it to the nearby beach at sunset. I’m trying really hard to apply some of the tips she shared in her photography workshop at Quiltcon.

So, I missed the rule of thirds and the quilt was shaded, even if the sky was lovely. I moved the quilt.

Better, but I really needed more light, so I looked around and saw a fence that was brighter. 66214573_10217239146585274_6152539620727848960_nAnd that’s a wrap.

Linking up with Quilting Gail. This is my half way report on the Baby Quilt Marathon. With 10 1/2 hours on this quilt, and another 6 to date on another, I’m well past the half way point.