Evening in the Garden Quilts

Adventures in Fabric Art


Border Confessions


I want to come clean to you all about my border technique.  It’s something I need to get off my chest.  Then you can decide if you want to unfollow me or report me to the Quilt Police, or whatever.

I cut my borders to the size they are supposed to be.  To the finished dimensions of the quilt plus half an inch.  To the size they are on the EQ design.  No measuring, no averaging.  In this case, I had four 9-inch blocks across the top of the quilt.  I cut the border 4 x 9 plus 1/2″, or 36 1/2″.

Every time a new quilter asks about borders, I cringe a bit when I hear the measuring and averaging advice.  Maybe first, second, third quilts are so “off” that they need some averaging to try to get borders on them.  Certainly, no one should just start sewing on a strip of fabric and see where it ends up!  But after you’ve done this for a while, shouldn’t your quilts be the right size?

No one could ever accuse me of perfectionism, but I do like a square quilt.  It looks nice, lies flat, and is a whole lot easier to quilt.  I cut my pieces as accurately as possible without stressing.  I piece them together accurately.  When I put blocks together, I do the best I can.  Often, there are some plain blocks in the setting that I know I have cut to the correct size, so I fudge the pieced blocks to match them.  That’s what that little bit of gathering is for that happens on the bottom layer of fabric as it goes through your machine.  Use that to your advantage, and certainly don’t let it make things worse!  Pins are good, too.  I hate to pin, but I use a few to make sure things match.

I don’t want to measure the “field” of my quilt.  It had better be the right size, or very close.  That “close” we take care of with the feed dogs again.  All the 216 little 3 1/2″ squares on this quilt came out just a tad larger than they should have (like a quarter- to half-inch tad).  I discovered that when I pinned on borders cut to the correct size.  I pinned ends, centers, and again between the centers, distributing any fullness. I made sure that I had the larger, pieced side down when I sewed on the borders, and that took care of it.  Now I have a very square, stable top, hemmed in by borders of the correct size.  That teensy bit of fullness in the middle will quilt out completely.  It will also lie flat and square when I go to spray baste it.  I’m good.

So, am I the only one who does this?  No teachers or books ever say this.  Is it a secret?  What do you do?

Feel free the call the police now.  I’m going to go baste.


Design Wall Monday


Sometime I’m going to make more intricate blocks.  Really.  I have.  I can.  I just don’t feel like it right now.  Have I mentioned how much I love nine patches?  I’m still not done with them.


This quilt was inspired by this large-scale snowflake batik from my stash that will be the backing, since I can’t possibly cut it up.  It is a pale aqua, with creamy snowflakes that hold just a hint of yellow.   Now that Christmas is put away, I have no winter throw quilts for the couch, and the spring one looks silly, so this is for me.  I first thought of feathered star blocks for the front to be “snowflakes”.  The more I looked at these and other star-like blocks, the more I knew I wanted to reach for my simple nine patches.


I pulled favorite fabrics from stash for this:  some aquas that are a little “off” and don’t play well with the others; two kinds of birch trees; some batiks and a Grunge;  some snow-capped trees; and the last of a favorite floral neutral in gray, white, and tan.  Then I coordinated scraps from my 3 1/2″ bins.


I find the result cool, snowy, and happy.  Twenty-four blocks done, ready to sew together today.

Hope you’re playing with some fabric today!

I’m linking up to Design Wall Monday on Patchwork Times.


Sunday Stash Report 1/13/13

Ooh, interesting date!  About as special as we will get this year, and for a lot of years.

Good numbers this week.  I used twelve yards, all from stash, to make my Quilt of Valor Quilt for Husband.


This week:  +0 yards,  -12 yards.

YTD:  +0 yards, -12 yards

Net stash used in 2013:  -12 yardsYuri  Urbana-20121108-00482


Good luck on your destashing!

See more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times.


Friday Finish: QOV becomes QFH


Finally finished this quilt, and I did finish it on Friday.  I didn’t get the binding on until almost dark, though, and by the time is was washed and crinkly photos were out of the question.


The sun has come out here this morning in a pale, timid way, which makes for interesting photos, I think.  When I got it outside, I could see that it needs a good lint rolling, but since it’s going to stay at our house with three cats, I’m not rushing into it.


Yes, it will stay here.  It has become a Quilt For Husband.  My husband is a firefighter and he wants this one.  I tried to shame him about taking a quilt from a wounded veteran but it didn’t work.  It has been about thirty years since I made him an actual quilt of his own, so I guess he’s due, and this was the last of my firefighter fabric.  His last quilt was sewn and quilted entirely by hand of some poly-cottons w/ poly batting, and it is now in shreds.  This new one will feel much better and last much longer, I am sure.


The back is pieced with almost the last of my favorite star batik, so I’m kind of glad that it is staying home.  I use a large scale star print for the binding, and I like that, too.

IMG_1412So, yes, my satisfaction at having already knocked off Goals 1 and 2 for January by the 11th of the month was short-lived.  Back to square one on that.  But DH will be toasty for Downton Abbey.

How are you doing on your finishes?

I’m linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.


My Quilt in Southern Weddings Magazine

Hot Summer 1500

One of the exciting things that happened to me in 2012 was having a quilt selected to appear in Volume Five of Southern Weddings Magazine.  This is Hot Summer Cabins.  It was inspired by a charm pack of warm toned batiks that I used for the oversized center “chimneys”.  I kind of thought of it as a beach sunset.

Hot detail 500


See if you can find the quilt here, right in the center.


The editor spotted it in my Etsy shop, and now that we can see the color scheme for the wedding shoot, it makes a lot of sense.  The colors sure are great together.  Unfortunately, that lovely tall bride stood right in front of it….  I hope it shows up better in another shot.

Hot back 1500

Lara Casey just let me know today that all three quilts in that photo are being given away on the web site today.  I can’t tell how long the giveaway will be open.  A few of the commenters are saying nice things about my quilt and requesting it as their prize.

Hot Summer chair 1500So, I’d like my next brush with fame to be a little more prominent, but this was still fun.  If you’re looking for wedding ideas, Southern Weddings is a very enjoyable and inspiring magazine.

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WIP Wednesday 1/9/13 QOV


I am making good progress quilting my Quilt of Valor.  I almost have the quilting designs outlined on all of the blocks.  Then to tear off the paper and add the interior lines and decide if I want to stipple the background behind the motifs.


I’m trying not to be lazy about it, but I don’t know if it needs it.  Any opinions?  Then I want to put stars in the borders.


The paper hasn’t been too hard to rip off.  I used newspaper and also the Shumway garden catalog.  They tore about the same.  The difference was that as I sewed on the Shumway pages I began to read the descriptions and to think about this year’s garden!  I wouldn’t recommend all this newsprint on a light colored quilt, but it’s working fine here, I just have to wash my hands occasionally.


I marked the pages by sewing through many layers with an empty needle, which worked well.  It would probably be easier to see these if a) they weren’t in the sun, and b) there wasn’t a cat standing on them.  There wasn’t when I reached for the camera.  Really.

I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday WIP Wedat Freshly Pieced.


Sunday Stash Report 1/6/13


I don’t have my calendar in front of me that I use to keep track of these numbers, but let’s see if I can do it from memory.

This week: +0 yds., -0 yds.
YTD: +0 yds., -0 yds.
Net used in 2013: 0 yds.

Next week’s report should be a little more interesting. I finished piecing the top, back, and batting for my QOV quilt, and am ready to sandwich it and begin quilting today.

How are you doing so far?

See more stash reports at Patchwork Times.

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Finish It Up Friday 1/4/13

Does it count if I just finished the top of the quilt?  I hope so.  One of my January goals can now be checked off.

IMG_1402This is the Quilt of Valor top I was supposed to piece on New Years Day, and it only took me four days to do.  I have excuses, but you probably don’t want to hear them.  It’s based on Judy’s design, but much simpler.  I had all the six inch squares of Alexander Henry (and other) firefighting prints, scraps from my pillowcases.  I was impatient about the small borders, and had two yards of this large scale flag print, so the border is also six inches (finished).  Simple, but bright, and I think the quilting will add interest.


I was surprised by how poorly the flag print photographed (indoors).  I guess the gold in it reflects a lot of light.  If my studio had an extra foot of space, I could have perhaps photographed it from an angle or something, but that is just not happening.  The quilt top is 62″ x 82″.

How are you coming on your goals?

I’m linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.