My Mother’s Quilt

I love making quilts for people, but alas it’s not something I can easily afford.  I need to sell my work in order to make some money, right?

Thankfully I can make an exception every once in a while.  This time it’s for my mother (I’ll never make her pay for anything I make).  I recently finished an early Mother’s Day/Birthday gift for her.  Both days are within the same week so hey, two birds with one stone!  It’s a string piece quilt!  My mother’s favorite type of quilts are scrap.  She doesn’t keep scraps because she uses the quilt top scraps to make the backing of the same quilts, resulting in a two-sided quilt made with the same fabrics.  It’s really cool to see!


I have about three years worth of scraps.  Anything more than 1.5 inches square is a scrap I keep.  I had a lot of strips to work with (and still do!).

What I did was cut cheap printer paper to 8.5 inches square and sewed random strips to each sheet diagonally.  I made I think…56 six blocks.  Honestly, I have no idea.  I just made a lot in order to make a large lap quilt.  After sewing the blocks together I removed the paper.  It was a hassle but totally worth it because there was less arguing with corners meeting.  Then I added a white border.  The backing was made with larger scraps and remnants as well as the extra blocks I had made but got tired of adding to the top.  The result is a double sided quilt top!  She hates the binding but whatever.  I love the fabric and it’s binding leftover from a different quilt.  Waste not, want not.

I did a simple design for the handquilting, just a simple X across every block and then framing the entire center.  The thread I used is 100% cotton variegated rainbow from Sulky.  I’m not a fan of the thread simply because it kept breaking.  I don’t know WHY it was doing thing considering all the praise I hear.  Maybe it’s best to use for machine quilting?  I just had to be very gentle with it.  I won’t be tossing the thread out; that stuff is EXPENSIVE!  It’s just be used with a lighter touch.

All my gift quilts get a message stitched in if there’s enough space.  For my mom it’s I LOVE U.

I sent it last week because she’ll be going on a quilters’ cruise in May.  It arrived three days after sending it and SHE LOVES IT!  She can’t decide which side is her favorite.  I call that a win!


So many scraps…

I love scrap quilts.

When I was growing up my mother made a lot of scrap quilts.  I told her that I want one for graduation.  It took her four years to make it, I helped with the hand-quilting, and on graduation day the quilt was mine.  I was 18.  The quilt was “retired” over a decade later due to a lot of love.  It needs patching, but all the wear and tear will result in the patch looking very…wrong.  Currently I’m on a the lookout for a sealed quilt display case.  It doesn’t need to be large, but it does need to be sealed against dust, cats, spiders, moths, and other critters.  I want to show off the beautiful quilt that means so much to more to me than I can’t possibly put into words.  Right now it’s in a vacuum-sealed bag to keep it safe.

My love for scrap quilts is never-ending.  I’ve kept as many scraps as I think I can work with since I took up quilting three years ago.  My sister recently sent me all of hers.  I now have enough to make a lap quilt!  It’s strips because I have more of those than I do anything else.

For my new project I’m making a strip square quilt.  I cut a bunch of standard computer paper to 8.5″ x 8.5″ and am sewing diagonally across them with the strips, trimming the excess off afterwards.  Today I finished the first row.  Originally it was going to be 8 rows of 8 squares, but I’ve opted for 7 x 7 instead.

Thanks to Teresa Down Under for helping me figure out how to do this.  I had tried this before, but the blocks were so…flimsy and busy that I couldn’t get the blocks to meet at the corners.  It was a mess!  I watched a few of her tutorials and decided sewing to paper would save me a headache.  IT HAS!!!

What I’ve done is sew the blocks to paper, arranged the blocks to create a chevron effect, then sew them to each other one at a time, removing the paper from one block AFTER they’re sewn together, then repeating this to the last block.  All paper removed, all blocks pressed in one direction.  I don’t want to press the seams open but instead will nest the seams instead.  This will make lining everything up much easier!

Go check out her videos.  100% recommend!

After I finish this quilt top I have a few others lined up.  By a few I mean around half a dozen-ish.  I don’t have the funds to purchase any fabric right now, which means going through my stash to make a bunch of quilt tops.  After this quilt I think I’ll make a log cabin quilt.  I have others planned, but I just want to make some quick-and-easy tops for now.  Something to kill time while I wait for my Etsy inventory to be purchase.  Most of the quilts will be baby to lap size, but there are a couple larger ones as well.

I’ll take photographs when I finish the quilt tops.  This one will take only a few days to finish and already has a name: “Whimsy Sticks”.

Ideally I want to finish at least three more quilt tops before shopping for backing.  I have backing for my skeleton quilt, but that’s a personal project and 100% going to be mine.  What I need to focus on is making things I can sell.  “Cool Chill”, a baby quilt top I started and finished in a day, is hanging in my closet with the binding fabric of choice.  I’ll have at least five quilt tops done before I purchase more fabric.

Do any of you create a bunch of quilt tops before choosing which to make into a finished quilt?  Do you keep your scraps and make things with them later, give them away, or toss them out in the trash?  Do you enjoy scrap quilts at all?

Finished My Biggest Project

For the past few months I’ve been working on a stained glass quilt.  To patience is necessary is an understatement.  The pattern is easy, but the choices made along the way created the challenge.  I didn’t want each block to be one color nor did I want to line them up like the pattern suggests.  Oh, and I had to add borders because the quilt looked so off without them.

That was the beginning of the journey.  I loved every minute of it.  All the colors, arranging, then rearranging, a few more times, then carefully putting the rows together and checking again if I liked what I was seeing.  Doubt lingered for a minute.  There was emptiness there.  Cured it with three additional borders.


Then I created the backing.  That was a very interesting choice of fairly random lengths and widths of colored fabric with wide strips of black.  Not quite stained glass but definitely there.  I really didn’t want to go with just one print for the back.  It needed to be a double sided quilt.

All the quilting was done by hand.  first I used my large frame.  The borders were quilted with an embroidery frame.

View from the front!  I’ve had people on Instagram ask me how I make stained glass.  Yes, folks have mistaken this for a real window.  How awesome is that?  I think it’s the borders that really help create that illusion.  They bring the colors together as a single unit made of many parts instead of parts all brought together to create a unit.  They play well together and it definitely shows.  All the blocks have the same print in different colors, two shades of each color, arranged as close to random as I could.  I used black thread and hand-quilted around each of the colors, staying in the black fabric.  I used color-matching thread to create and X through each of the squares.  Black thread again in the borders, but I went with a random pattern of following the print.  THE TEXTURE IS AMAZING!!!  I could touch it all day!

Finished Back

You can really see the quilting on the back.  It’s almost like a map of organized madness.

Here are some close-up shots of the quilting.  It’s like two different worlds really.

Over 100 hours of work, several spools of thread, and filled with love and joy.  I’m so proud of this!  My mother is stunned.  I’m a fourth generation quilter but only took up the practice in 2015.  Sure, I grew up around it, but it wasn’t until summer 2015 that I learned how to use a sewing machine, read a pattern, cut fabric, etc.  I’ve had nothing but time on my hands and I guess it shows.  In a good way!

The quilted, Stained Blossoms, is available on Etsy.  Please check it out!

If you’d like to see more work-in-progress pictures and see what I’m up to follow my Instagram.  I finally got a smartphone (free when I signed up with CREDO) and have been taking full advantage of the options I now have available.

That was a bit of a stretch!

I’m so very sorry for the extended absence!  I’m currently working on and finishing a quilting for a friend of mine.  She recently moved to NYC and it’s rather cold there.  What better than a quilt?  Pink and purple, all scraps, for the top.  The backing is two different flannels, and I purchased fabric for the binding today.

I embroidered “Love Hope Joy Mars” on one of the blocks.  My friend’s nickname is Mars, hence the reason for embroidering it.

Tomorrow I begin the process of binding it, Sunday it gets washed, and Monday it’ll be shipped.  I hope she receives it by Friday.  The weather in her area has been rather wild as of late.

I also made a gift for one of my grandmothers!  Her favorite color is blue, but I decided to balance it out with pink and green.

Pre and Post Wash

A before and after picture!  A quilt isn’t a quilt until it’s been washed, right?

I also participated in a Secret Santa event and created a simple candle mat that took very little time.  I learned a new block and it was all finished in less than a week.  Yay!

A couple weeks ago I finished making the back of the Stained Glass Quilt I’m working on.  It’s different colors, each bordered in black, like the front.  Except the sections of color are MUCH larger than the blocks.  Pictures of the backing will be taken when I finish the quilt.  I had to purchase batting today while it was on sale.  The quilt is twin size, but I didn’t have any twin size batting.

I apologize again for the long absence.  Life has been wild as of late, not the boring calm I like.  Quilting is what’s been keeping me grounded and calm, and after so many hours of work the last thing I want to do is sit at my computer.

I finally got suckered into getting a smartphone though!  I left the cell phone company I was with because I didn’t like their stance on Net Neutrality, plus the prices and customer service are terrible.  I switched to CREDO, and for 1GB of data between two smartphones it costs us $62/month.  We received two Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones for free when we signed up.

Because I have smartphone I now have an Instagram page!  You can keep up with my life and work on there.  My Instagram is ReneetheChaosfay.

How have the rest of you been?  Keeping busy?  Is the new year treating you well?

Borders Added!

I had to stand on the top rung on my ladder so I could get a better shot of the quilt. Honestly, I have no idea how I’ll be able to get a full picture of it when it’s finished. Our clothesline isn’t high enough to prevent the quilt from touching the ground.

As you can see I have four borders. Black, batik, black, wider batik. They measure 1.5 inches, 3 inches, 1.5 inches, and 4.25 inches. When I had the binding the last border will be 4 inches. It measures 81.5 x 65 inches, but it also hasn’t been quilted or washed yet. When it’s done I estimate it will be around 79 x 63 inches.

I need to purchase fabric for the backing. How much fabric? Five yards. That’s a lot, especially seeing as the fabric will likely be $12-$15/yard. Ouch! I’m going over options with my mom (she’s a fellow quilter with over 30 years of experience) and I may purchase more of the batik fabric on the top. Have it cut in one yard sections, sew a strip of black between each yard, and it’ll have a similar feel/look as the top. I’ll still need at least five yards of the batik though. I’d rather have too much fabric rather than barely enough.

Quilting will take at least two weeks.

Overall, from start to finish, it will be a couple hundred hours of work.

I’m estimating the price to be a minimum of $650, but it will likely be closer to $750. Cost of fabric, labor cost, and the amount of time it takes to make this are what bring it to that price.

Here are a few extra shots to show off the prints.

Stained Glass Quilt Center is Finished

I’ve finished the center of the quilt!

The picture with the ironing board is to help give you an idea of just how large it is.

I need to purchase border fabric as well as more black fabric. I’ll do three more borders instead of one like the pattern suggests. Why? The six inch border it calls for doesn’t look enough, it makes it all so narrow looking. The first border I plan on doing will be three inches, then a one inch strip of black, and the final border will be four to six inches. It’ll increase the size of the quilt and give it a bit more oomph. The binding will be black as well. After I finish the top I’ll then purchase backing because I have no idea how much I’ll need.

After I get the backing I’ll then create the sandwich (top, batting, back) and hand-quilt the entire thing. That will take at least two weeks. It looks like the finished price will be around $700-$800. I’m hoping it sells because it’s beautiful, I’ve invested a lot of money in it, and it’s hundreds of hours of work.

The final size will likely be large enough for a full size bed (larger than a twin size).

Taking photographs when it’s finished will be a challenge.

Stained Glass Quilt Progress Report!

It took a lot of rearranging and input from my mother and husband for me to figure out how to arrange the blocks.  Today I finished the blocks and have them taped on my sewing room closet door to get a feel for the final arrangement.  Needless to say…I’m liking it.

Here’s the challenge from last night’s rearranging.

Oh, I know they look A LOT alike, but there’s enough subtle difference that, when finished, it’d be very much noticed.

Here’s today’s final look.


Painter’s tape is my friend.

Between each block will be a 1″ finished strip of black, a 1″ finished strip bordering this, then a 6″ finished border (I haven’t chosen the fabric yet), and black binding.

It looks like crayons blossomed on my quilt.  I’m loving it.  Quilting will be the challenge because of the colors and and number of pieces.  My mother suggested using black thread instead of colors.  I was considering using a rainbow variegated thread, but with the colors and print it would feel like too much.  I’m leaning towards black, and will be quilting the small and large squares…I think.  I’m still undecided.

When finished the quilt will be posted on my Etsy page.