A birthday quilt

My grandmother was a quilter and an amazing lady.  She passed away last spring at the age of 94.

grandma : Lizzieville1

I love that we have so many of her quilts and it made me want to spend my time not only making clothes but making things that we can (hopefully) use for years to come.  I  decided that it was time for me to finally make E a quilt.  I’ve been considering options and planning this quilt for two years while E patiently uses her crib-sized quilt.

birthday quilt : Lizzieville5

Making a quilt is such a huge undertaking and I struggled with the number of options.  I considered a rainbow squares quilt, pulled a bunch of yellows to make this picnic blanket, and then finally saw this quilt from Alicia Paulson and decided on simple stripes.  I added some more yellow fabrics from my stash and from my grandmother’s shelves.  In her last few years my grandmother wasn’t able to quilt and encouraged me to use her fabric in my projects.  I love the many pieces from her in this quilt as well as scraps from other projects I’ve made.

birthday quilt : Lizzieville2

To make the quilt I cut four inch wide strips of varying length.  I sewed the strips into rows and then pieces the rows together at random.  I used a thin cotton batting, machine quilted in the ditch, and then bound the quilt with shot cotton.  I’ve made some small quilts before but this was my biggest undertaking.  I did recall little tips and tricks from my grandmother but I so wish she’d been here to consult on fabric, help me straighten everything out, decide on a backing, and baste the pieces together.   I also wish I hadn’t used so much yellow in the quilt but I’ve learned quite a bit for next time.

birthday quilt : Lizzieville6

I also made two matching pillows.  These are 20″ pillows from IKEA with a lapped zipper cover.   I used this tutorial from Delia Creates to make the cover.  The main fabric is the same as the quilt binding and hopefully tones down the yellow a bit.

birthday quilt : Lizzieville3

Far from perfect, but finished in time for E’s birthday.  Finally, a proper big girl bed.

birthday quilt : Lizzieville1

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22 thoughts on “A birthday quilt

  1. How lovely, and what a fabulous photo of your grandmother, she looks like a riot!
    When my father in law passed away we gave seemingly hundreds of shirts to goodwill, now I wish I could have them back to make a quilt for my kids. Yours is a beautiful reminder of your grandma, and thinking of how she might have advised you differently is a tribute to her skill as a quilter! Nice one!!

    • Oh, she was quite the lady! And she was so industrious- leaving behind so many quilts. I love the idea of a shirt quilt. My grandmother saved wool shirts for years and made some lovely wool quilt/comforters for our family beach house.

  2. Congratulations on finishing such a beautiful quilt! I started my first quilt last summer for my older daughter — and I still haven’t bound the edges! It’s been on her bed all this time with a naked serged edge, and she loves it 😉 I think quilts must just be long term projects.

    • Thank you, Leslie! What a great idea to serge the edges and make it useful while it awaits being finished. I’d love to see a picture of the quilt- finished or not!

      And it’s nice to know that so many of us have long-term quilting projects going on 🙂

  3. Ah, my grandmother Wendy Joy (Maggie got her middle name) was an amazing needlewoman and quilter (and sewer of clothing, and knitter) and I inherited her love of fabrics and textiles. I love your quilt, the colors are so soft and pretty! I am cough cough still working on Maggie’s baby quilt, which will be yellow and pink scrappy hourglasses! It IS a big project, one that I can’t stay focused on for any sustained period of time, but I am slowly getting it together. She’ll probably be five by the time I finish it. 🙂

    • What a lovely story about your grandmother! And I love how this love of sewing gets passed down in the generations. I look forward to seeing Maggie’s quilt- even if it’s a few years from now! I’m debating if I should stick with my plan to make a crib-sized quilt for O or just skip right to a twin bed size. I fear that he’ll be in a twin bed by the time I get it finished 🙂

  4. I love your grandma’s photo. Full of life and full of spunk. My grandma just turned 90 yesterday and seeing this photo made me happy 🙂 The quilt is lovely. They take forever to make but the end results are so rewarding. Oh, and by the way, I didn’t think it was too much yellow, but then I love yellow.

    • Thank you! She was very full of spunk! I’m happy to hear that others think the yellow is okay. It is cheerful and matches the art and other quilts in the room. I loved the quilt you made for your daughter and it gave me inspiration to keep going on this one. And happy birthday to your grandmother!

  5. It’s beautiful! Never too much yellow. It makes her bed look so happy. Your grandmother was the sweetest woman, and can’t believe it’s been almost a year already since her passing. She’d be so proud.

  6. I adore the quilt you made and love all the yellow. The pillows are so lovely too. What a pretty corner of her room! And it is so special having fabric from your grandma’s stash. My grandma did embroidery and made embroidered quilts. They are such treasures. I love the tied quilt in the top picture. I used to be so into quilting and I love it but spend little time on it. I have Luke’s quilt that I started in the fall and I still have a ways to go on it.

    • Thanks, Christine! Embroidered quilts sound so lovely. Things from previous generations are so special. We have an ironing board that my great-grandfather made and it makes me happy to use it. The top quilt was my husband’s baby quilt and my grandmother was fixing it up to be used by E. But I understand about taking the time to make quilts. One quilt equals oh so many other projects time wise!

  7. It’s beautiful! A twin sized quilt for Lila’s bed has been on my list for years now, I wish I could just take the plunge and start one. I’m definitely intimidated by all the options (plus I don’t really know how to make a quilt!). Anyway, I love the simple stripes, it’s lovely. Your grandmother would be proud! Also, we have those Ida Pearle cards too, and they make me happy every single time I see them 🙂

    • The options are definitely overwhelming! I might try a quilt as you go method next time (I got a book that Alicia Paulson had used for a pillow) because I like the idea of working in smaller chunks. I would love to see what you create! And the Ida Pearle cards make me so happy, too. I’ve loved her work ever since seeing her artwork on the front of an Elizabeth Mitchell album.

  8. That’s weird – I really thought I had commented on this already! The quilt is amazing. Just thinking about making a quilt tires me out. So this is impressive. What a nice tribute to your grandmother! My grandmother is very special to me, too. And what an incredible gift for a child to have a handmade quilt on their bed! Much be extra snuggly! 🙂

      • Oh dear, I worry that WordPress eats things on occasion…. but thanks for commenting again! I made the quilt in a couple phases, with some quick and satisfying projects in-between. E had this crazy mishmash of blankets on her bed that were always falling off in the middle of the night so that was extra motivation to get this one finished! But I think my grandma would be proud- she was always encouraging of all our crafting efforts.

  9. Pingback: Princess and the Pea Nightgown | lizzieville

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