Thursday, March 5, 2015

auntie charming

so i made a quilt for my husband's aunt. in two weeks! like my 16 year old said, "that's the fastest you've ever made one, mom!" i made it so fast i didn't really get pictures of it. there were a few peeks of it on instagram last week, but that's it. 

another part of the reason i didn't photograph it much is that i'm personally not in love with the fabrics. i'm not even sure how they ended up in my stash. i think it was a case of an on-line clearance sale, fabrics that looked different than when they arrived, or i don't even know what. that was four years ago. i am not and have never, ever been a purple person so a fat quarter bundle that was half purples boggles my mind. what was i thinking? surely not that some day down the road these would be the perfect fabrics for aunt sue. but that's what i ended up with.

the sunday after valentine's, aunt sue was in town to visit with her mother, my husband's grandmother. we had them both over for dinner. aunt sue says, "so i hear you quilt. may i see some of your quilts?" i brought out a few to show. and then each child subjected her to their own personal quilts and any others i hadn't shown yet. aunt sue was so sweet, looking at and admiring each and every one of them. it was probably a good 30 minute quilt show.

after she left, i saw the purple and pink fat quarter set sitting on my sewing table. it had come out of hiding because it was packaged with another bundle i was using, and i hadn't returned it to stash oblivion yet. well, aunt sue has always been a lavender/pastel/floral sort of lady, and she liked my quilts so much, that i decided on the spot to make one for her. it seemed the ideal use of those fabrics.

she was only visiting for two weeks, so i wanted to make something as quick as possible. i'd just seen fat quarter shop's new "layers of charm" pattern. even though the pattern was made for a layer cake and charm pack, i decided i could quickly cut the pieces from the fat quarters. i did have to size it down a little to 9" and 4.5" squares, but it totally worked.

i altered the pattern (there's a big surprise!) just a little more by using different charms in each corner rather than one universal color. i took the five lightest fabrics from the collection, three polka dots and two swirly prints, and cut my charms from those. it seemed a bit small, even for a throw, after i'd reduced the block size a little, so i added a border. i got yardage of some coordinating pink polka dot fabric from "whitewashed cottage" by 3 sisters for moda to make a border and backing. i had the top pieced and sandwich basted by saturday.

then i outline quilted all the seams on each side and did a dogwood blossom in each hourglass block formed by the charms. i bound it up with all the leftover pieces from the blocks. i was literally finishing it off at the last minute because we were going over to see aunt sue and grandma for dinner the night before she left. it had been rainy all day and i was in such a hurry i didn't bring my big flash, so i couldn't get any decent pictures of the quilt. we squished into grandma's kitchen to take a photo of it together.

i have to admit that i have struggled to claim this quilt because it is so not me. it's not my style or colors. but once i saw how much aunt sue appreciated it, i felt a lot better about being affiliated with it. i made a quilt that made her very, very happy and that is what counts in the end. not how stylish it looked, how pintrest-worthy it turned out, how many likes it might garner from the blogland quilting community i usually run with. i made a quilt someone will cherish. that was the whole point, not how many comments it's going to get me. aunt sue is happy and i'm happy, too.

the next morning i happened to be across town, close to grandma's house again, so i ran in and asked if i could get a better photo of the quilt. aunt sue was happy to oblige. i got three separate big hugs from her the night before during the course of the evening and now i got more. when she pulled it out, she started talking about how pretty it was again. "oh, there's my lavender! and all those pretty flowers. i still just can't believe you made this for me. no one has made me a quilt since my wedding." she really does seem to like it. for real.

 yesterday there was no lighting and today there was too much. we had to scrunch in on the side yard in the shade to get a photo. grandma decided she should be in it, too. sure, why not?! i only wish my 14 year old son had left that ladder out of the photo.

 here's the back, pieced a bit with some of the last fat quarter and the polka dot fabric. i do rather like the back.

 it has a nice grid pattern and those boxed dogwood blossoms, which all show up really well (in real life) on the soft rosie polka dot fabric.

 aunt sue was so excited about the quilt i had to warn her a bit. i'm no expert and there was plenty wrong with this lady. for instance, in the square above i totally forgot to line the inside of the square. i did all of the quilting on this quilt with my fmq foot, even the straight lines. in fact, it was mostly straight lines. there was plenty of wobble going on everywhere. i'm hoping the wash will help hide that.

well, there you have it. my husband's unique and talented aunt with her "layers of charm" quilt. put the two together and you get "auntie charming," the fastest quilt i ever made and a lesson in being happy when you make someone else happy.

now i need to take all those leftover hsts and bits to make a quilt for grandma, who wanted to know, "how does sue rank?!"

i guess if you flatter me enough and i have appropriate fabrics, you get a quilt.


  1. I just adore it - but I adore florals

  2. How much flattery does it take? Id have been thrilled with that quilt! So please do add me to yours list lol
    Like Susie, I love florals all mixed together like that, its a calming and subtle marrying and a relaxing alternative to bright, bold colourways.
    I have yet to ever quilt a full sized cover, despite 3 on the go, I think Im avoiding finishing them to avoid the sandwiching and quilting. As and when, mine will definitely be of the wobbly lined cross hatching and nowhere near as good as yours!

  3. I had to laugh at your last sentence because it's so true - especially the "if I have the appropriate fabric" part. I also have 'what was I thinking' fabrics in my stash - hopefully I can find something to do with them that's as lovely as what you did. I like this quilt a lot, and your Aunt looks so happy!!

  4. Such a beautiful story to go with such a pretty quilt. Aunt Sue adores it and that's the best part :)


  5. It's really pretty and I just love all those pictures!

  6. It is funny how certain things end up in stash, isn't it? I know I have some fabrics in mine that I look at and wonder what I was thinking. I'm sure she loved the quilt though. That was a great pattern choice for them!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation


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