My year in quilting


Jellyroll race quilt - quilting in progress

This year has been all about quilting for me.  I’ve been really enjoying participating in the Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild, which is full of extremely talented quilt artists.  And I do not use the word artist lightly!  My work is total amateur hour compared to many of these quilters.  With that said, I’ve been learning a lot and thoroughly enjoying the process.  Here are the highlights of my quilting progress since January or so.

Jelly Roll Race Quilt

Jellyroll race quilt - finished front Jellyroll race quilt - finished back

I made this “jelly roll race” quilt for the CMQG charity event that benefited the Boston chapter of Camp Erin, a free bereavement camp for children who have lost someone close to them.  All the fabric was donated by members of the guild, and I took a pile home to turn into a quilt.  If you’ve never made a jelly roll race quilt before, let me tell you, it is really fun.  You can find an online video tutorial here.  The best part is opening up the quilt top after the last seam to see what you’ve made.  It’s really difficult to predict how it’s going to turn out, so the fun is in the surprise!

Paper-pieced Mariner’s Compasses

Mariner's Compass paper pieced - finished top

Earlier this year, the guild issued a challenge to make an 18-inch mini-quilt on the theme of “traditional quilt blocks made modern.”  I signed up to make a Mariner’s Compass and interpret it in a modern way, and I used the opportunity to learn foundation paper piecing.  This was so fun!  To practice for my mini-quilt, I made the Mariner’s Compass above using some random fabric scraps.  I used this pattern from Quilting on the Square that I found in this post from Stitched in Color.  This little compass has now been turned into a mini-quilt that hangs in my sewing room.

Now, onto the real thing!

Mariner's Compass mini quilt - finished

After much hemming and hawing, I finally settled on the design above for my mini-quilt for the challenge.  I used the same pattern for the Mariner’s Compass and added some high-contrast stripes along the edge and some floating diamonds that I applied using raw-edge applique.  For such a small quilt, this project took so much work!  I’m really pleased with the finished product though.

Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild quilt show at Gather Here

After the challenge, all the mini-quilts from the guild were displayed at Gather Here as part of Cambridge Open Studios in May.  Check out all the beautiful work from the other guild members!  I had never had any of my sewing projects displayed on a wall, in public, with a little plaque and everything.  Granted it was just at a fabric shop, but still.  It was pretty cool.  🙂

Rainbow Raspberry Kiss Quilt

Rainbow raspberry kiss quilt finished

This spring, I finally finished this beast!!  It was so big and heavy that I couldn’t even get the entire thing in a single photograph.  I had posted quite a bit about this quilt last year, and you can read about it in the archives here.  I used this raspberry kiss block tutorial (the larger of the two sizes) by Wooden Spoon Quilts, and I pulled a rainbow of colorful fabrics from my now-growing quilting stash.  As a testament to my insanity, I quilted this entire thing myself on my domestic sewing machine over several very long, profanity-laced sessions.  Please remind me never to do this again.  🙂

Since I used extra thick batting in this quilt, it isn’t getting much use these days in the summer heat.  However, I look forward to draping this bad boy over my queen size bed once the cold weather returns.

Triangles Baby Quilt

Baby quilt finished - front

Baby quilt finished - back

I just finished this sweet baby quilt a few weeks ago.  I had originally started it as a way to use up two charm packs that I didn’t know what to do with, but it wound up growing into a really fun project.  I added various fabrics to complement the charm packs along the way, including two science-themed fabrics.  How delightfully nerdy.  I also stuck to a “triangles” theme, which was super fun and addicting.  In the end, I was aiming for a gender-neutral baby quilt with a lot of different elements interspersed throughout the quilt.  I’m pleased with the result!

This quilt is now waiting to meet its little recipient, who is “still cooking,” as they say.  🙂

Rainbow Sampler

Collection of rainbow pieced blocks

Finally, this is my current project, which is still very much in progress.  I had a big stack of rainbow-colored fabric left over from the Rainbow Raspberry Kiss Quilt, so I started experimenting with different blocks and a gray background.  The original piece was the English paper pieced hexagons (0.75 inch hexies), which took several months of hand sewing to complete.  Then, I just kept going with the rainbows.  I love how it’s turning out!Pink Mariners Compass finished

I’m almost done with making blocks for this quilt, including another Mariner’s Compass using the same pattern as before.  For this one, I scaled down the pattern quite a bit.

Equilateral triangle block

All that’s left at this point are little blocks to fill in spaces between the larger ones.  In the spirit of a sampler, I’ve been trying to use different shapes and patterns for each block.  The equilateral triangles above came out nicely but were kind of a pain to sew.  Now I know!

Although I didn’t plan it this way, the making of this quilt has nicely coincided with many Pride 2017 events and many other not-so-cheerful national events that have been motivating me to keep sewing colorful rainbows.  I only have so much power and influence as a private citizen, and the act of creating this rainbow quilt keeps reminding me that we still have such a long way to go to reach a society where everyone is truly equal.

On that note, I’ll wrap up this extremely long catch-up post.  Happy sewing and happy quilting!

21 thoughts on “My year in quilting

  1. Fabulous!!! All of the quilts, the mini-quilts and the blocks! I only started quilting last year, so I am still a long way from making anything as intricate as you, but I feel very inspired! Thank you for sharing!


  2. How fun!! You have been busy! So nice to see that raspberry quilt project finished and ready for use!! Have you heard of the welcome blanket project? They are looking for quilts as well as knitted items. Keep up the good work!


  3. I “pinned” your rainbow quilt for future inspiration. I love the idea of so many different blocks to make up one quilt. I can’t wait to see the finished product!


  4. YAY! What a great update – you have been very busy, creatively speaking (and otherwise, I’m sure). Love all of them, though my curiosity is piqued by the baby quilt, because I’m totes nosy. :-p It was so much fun to show off the CMQG’s work in May, and point out yours and tell people I know the fabulous quilter behind it! Have a great rest of the summer, and hopefully see you soon – either at the store or somewhere else.


    • Many thanks to you and all the great folks at Gather Here for hosting us!! And just to clarify, there is nothing cooking in the oven over here – the baby quilt is for my boss. 🙂 Hope to see you again soon too!


  5. I love quilts, however making them is another story. I admire you and anyone who has the patience to piece them, let alone quilt them. I especially like your rainbow sampler, the grey fabric is truly inspired.


    • Thanks Elle! I can’t take credit for coming up with the idea to use gray with rainbow colors, but I really like the effect. Quilting is definitely a marathon. My work colleagues keep telling me that I am one of the most patient people they have ever met, so I guess I must have the patience for long projects. (Personally, I think I’m very impatient!)


    • Thanks Morgan! Quilts are definitely long-term projects. I finished a quilt a few years ago that I had held onto for 11 years, taking it with me over several apartment moves because I knew I would finish it eventually. I did, and now I use it everyday. It’s a cool feeling to cross the finish line on such long projects!


  6. Loved reading this post and watching the grapes of your work during this year. I find them all beautiful and perfectly made! I really love the outcome of quilting and have kept varius scraps from my projects cut in 15×15 cm squares for a feauture qult, I hope that will happen one day,it will not be so pretty as yours as the fabrics are all different but I think it will be a nice experiment.


    • Thanks so much, Aida! I hope you give quilting a try with all those scraps one day. 🙂 It’s a nice change of pace from garment sewing because you can pretty much do anything you want without having to worry about fit or the colors being too “crazy.”


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