Assisted Living Quilts

My husband’s stepmother and her sister live in an assisted living facility in a suburb of Chicago.

Not too long ago she mentioned that they could use new bedspreads for their bed. I stayed silent as I had already started quilts for them and it was supposed to be a surprise.

On our next visit with them, we presented them with the quilts. I had made a quilt with butterfly fabric for his stepmother and a quilt with cat fabric for her sister.

Cat Fabric Quilt

Cat Fabric Quilt

I made the back of the cat fabric quilt all one color with the except of adding strips of fabric from the front. It came out quite nice.

Cat Fabric Quilt

To my surprise, the stepmother claimed the cat quilt. She simply loved the fabric on it and told her sister that “the blue one is a better match for you.”

Butterfly Fabric Quilt

Butterfly Fabric Quilt

I found it comical as they are always debating back and forth on things in a sisterly kind of way.

For the cat fabric quilt, I made up a pattern ~ just measured how much I would need for a twin bed and decided on how to cut the fabric.

The butterfly quilt was a pattern that I had used a long time ago and is really easy to make as you can use fabric scraps. Unfortunately I don’t have the a link to share with you on where I found it.

I have made nursing home quilts and have found that the easier the better. The people in nursing homes aren’t picky with what they get, but they are thankful.

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Tea For Two Dutch Garden Quilt

Tea for Two Dutch Garden II Quilt

A few years back, I received a free quilt pattern that came with its own fabric. I can’t remember why it was sent to me.

For some reason though, I did not like the fabric nor the design of the quilt so I laid it aside until I had absolutely nothing to do ~ which is never.

Last year though, my brother asked if I could make him a quilt and I said yes. I wondered if he would like the Tea For Two Dutch Garden pattern and fabric and he checked with his wife and said yes.

So ~ I started piecing the front of the quilt together. However, they have a queen bed and the measurements for the quilt are for a twin bed. I searched high and low for the fabric and, unfortunately, was not able to find the same fabric. I did find something similar and used it as the outside yellow dot border.

Tea For Two Dutch Garden II Quilt with Improvisation

(This is one reason why I feel that one should buy a fabric if they absolutely like it as they may not find it again.)

Around the time I finished the top, my brother asked if I would be able to add fabric to the quilt which was from a bed jacket that my sister-in-law had from her deceased mother. I told him it would be hard for me to add it to the front but that I could improvise and use it on the back of the quilt with different fabric. They loved that idea.

Back of Tea For Two Dutch Garden II Quilt (Improvised)

And so, this quilt is really two different designs. The top is the Tea For two Dutch Garden II with an added dotted yellow border by Monique Jacobs that featured the Boundless Dutch Garden II fabric, and the back is fabric that I used to improvise a different design. Although it doesn’t quite “match” I think it came out quite well.

I always wash the quilt fabric before I start piecing it together so that when the quilt is finished and I wash it, I get the vintage (crinkly) look.

Tea for Two Dutch Garden II Quilt

So, what do you think?

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The Hoodwink Quilt

Early summer, my nephew who is in his 30’s, asked if I could make him a quilt.

I was surprised as he rarely shows much emotion about things but he was serious.

So I had him go through some of my quilt books and he picked a pattern called Hoodwink from the Charm School quilt book.

This book has quilt designs that you can make using 5″ squares of fabric. But my goal was to use up scrap fabric that I had. In actuality though, I used scrap fabric and material that I had purchased at JoAnn’s store awhile ago but hadn’t used yet. I just happened to walk by it one day and fell in love with the fabric and thought I could add it to the stash I already had at home.

Material Used for Hoodwink Queen Quilt

It actually worked quite well for what I wanted.

When I asked my nephew what color fabric he wanted he said “I don’t know. Maybe navy blue?” Well, that left me open to use whatever I wanted with blue as my dominant color.

This quilt came together quickly (well, once I had time to work on it). I did have to add material since my nephew has a queen quilt and the design is for a 69″x69″ quilt which is quite smaller.

After I made the blocks, I laid them out on the floor to see how I should lay them out on the final design. It takes me awhile to do this since I like to leave them on the floor for a day or so and come back to look at them from every angle. Since we moved to a smaller home recently, I have very limited space.

Hoodwink Quilt Blocks

After putting the top together, including the sashing, I thought I could do the quilting myself so purchased the backing along with Quilters Dream Cotton batting to get ready. For this project, I decided to use the Request which is the lightest batting that Quilters Dream Cotton has. This was my first time using it. It’s a lighter batting and so the quilt can be used year round.

Here’s a picture of the quilt on the table after I had pieced the top together.

Unfortunately, after I spent the time preparing it by pinning it together and started to quilt it, I noticed that it was puffing up in the back. I had to rip out the sewing I had completed.

Since we have a laminate floor, it was very difficult to pin the quilt without damaging the floor with the safety pins so, although I had done a good job, it was not good enough.

I would up taking the quilt to a local long arm quilter to have it completed.

One thing I did was wash the fabric before cutting it so I could have a crinkly look which I really like and that the quilt in the book shows.

But after looking at the picture above and the finished product, I’m not sure if that was the right decision as I think the crinkly look takes away from the beautiful blocks. It still looks beautiful though!

Tell me what you think by comparing the picture above (well it’s not quilted yet so you’ll have to use your imagination) and the pictures below.

Hoodwink Quilt
The Back of the Hoodwink Quilt

So ~ what do you think?

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Bjorn Bear Quilt

I purchased the Bjorn Bear Quilt pattern to see how well I would do with all the piecing as I haven’t done much piecing as a “sometime” quilter.

I was surprised at how easy it was. It was delightful to see how each section connected with another and made the faces of the bears complete.

This is the start of the nose of each bear. Working in “assembly like” manner, it went pretty quick.

Once you start cutting and sewing the pieces together, it goes quickly.

Bjorn Bear Piecing

Isn’t it cute?

And here are pictures of the finished quilt. I decided to use a modern square type quilting pattern for this quilt.

Bjorn Bear Quilt
Bjorn Bear Quilt

Here’s the final picture of the finished Bjorn Bear Quilt. Our granddaughter, who is not yet one year old, enjoyed the colorful quilt. I decided to use a baby blue in the back so it can be used by a boy or girl.

Bjorn Bear Quilt

What do you think?

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Scrappy Quilts

Awhile ago, my sister-in-law sent me a Facebook post from a nursing home in Fargo that was looking for quilts for their residents. I had lots of fabric left over from other quilts that I had made so I decided to make two and will be delivering it to them this weekend.

Hopefully the two residents who get them like them. I didn’t worry too much about the binding and sewed them both on the machine instead of hand sewing it. They came out quite beautiful.

I used the Fast Four Patch Quilt Pattern by the blogger Diary of A Quilter. I change the pattern some but use the same measurements.

What do you think of these scrappy quilts?

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First Baby Quilt

Like A Charm Bear Mountain Baby Quilt

I was looking for a quick and easy pattern so I could make a baby quilt for my niece who is expecting her first child the end of July.  So, I headed over to and looked to see what kits they might have and found one called Like A Charm Bear Mountain Expand-A-Quilt Kit.

The quilt is made up of 5″ squares and then pieced together which means it was not very difficult and could be put together quickly since the material arrives in the correct size.

I mainly stitched in the ditch and decided to “tie” the quilt together but instead of the usual tying method which uses knitting thread, I used a stitch on my Janome sewing machine that made two hearts and sewed those randomly throughout the quilt.

Like A Charm Bear Mountain Baby Quilt

With this baby quilt I also decided to use flame retardant batting called Quilters Dream Angel that I purchased through

Like A Charm Bear Mountain Baby Quilt

I really liked the ease of making this quilt and plan on making another baby quilt for a another niece who is having a baby in November.

Like A Charm Bear Mountain Baby Quilt

I’m on the hunt for a different pattern.  This next baby is a girl.

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My Mother-in-law’s Quilt

Barbara’s Quilt

Currently my mother-in-law is in a nursing home.

When we’ve gone to visit her, she has a handmade quilt on her twin bed.  It’s simple but effective in keeping her warm.  However the thing I noticed first is that it has very bland colors.  To have to look at bland day in and day out ~ well, what’s a quilter to do?

So I decided to make her a bright cheery quilt.

One of the fabrics for this quilt was purchased in a small store that we happened to enter into while we were traveling.  I don’t remember the store just the “event” of walking in, seeing the fabric and thinking “This is beautiful.  I must have some of this fabric.”

In my mind I decided that this was going to be a scrappy quilt with fabric that I already owned.  That worked for the top but the back of the quilt was a different story.  I didn’t have enough matching scrappy material to make it work.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  A scrappy quilt doesn’t need to match but in my structured head, I needed the backing to match part of the front so I did have to purchase the backing fabric.

Barbara’s Quilt

With this particular quilt I decided to send it “out” for quilting.  This saddened me because the previous quilts I have made I have not had to send out.  But at the time I still had my small Brother sewing machine and it was so difficult to get the material through the harp of the machine to sew it.  And I did want it to be special.

So ~ no blood on this quilt.  Haha  Seriously, on some of the other quilts I’ve made it was tough getting it through the machine since I pinned it and sometimes I poked myself quite hard with those pins.

Here’s the quilt in full (minus the backing which, of all things, I forgot to take a picture of):

Barbara’s Quilt

The large turquoise colored fabric is what I had purchased while traveling.

Not too bad, eh?

Since my sister-in-law was visiting us, I sent the quilt with her to deliver to my mother-in-law since she lives in another state.

Her response when she opened it:  Such bright colors!

I had done my job well.

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Patricia’s Quilt

Winter Blues Design – Quilt

At the end of August, when trees were threatening to drop their leaves, I started feeling a little pain in my left shoulder.

Not worrying too much about it, I continued my outdoor yard work well into September.  The shoulder kept feeling worse and worse but I figured the pain would eventually go away with time.  Words of wisdom?  No, this time I was wrong.

In spite of the pain, I decided to start a quilt in October at the request of a friend ~ “just a small one to throw over my chair,” she said.

So I ordered a kit on the Craftsy platform called Winter Blues and started cutting out the fabric.

The fabric for this quilt is by Anthology Fabrics and the quilt was designed by Maria Pate of Airborne Heirlooms.

I’ve always had a hard time matching points on a quilt and this one required a lot of piecing but it went quickly.

Quilt Fabric

This is a photo of the middle of the quilt.  As you can see, a couple of the points are a little off, but as they say in the quilting world “no one will notice except for you.”  I have found that statement to be true.

Anthology Fabrics

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had a 25% tear in the left shoulder which was confirmed with an MRI.  Still, I was determined to quilt this on my own instead of sending it out to be quilted which was a bad decision and one that made me change the design from what I had originally envisioned.

Perhaps if I had a better sewing machine things would have fared better, but my small Brother sewing machine with a 5″ throat space was not ideal for all the finagling I had to do with this 55″x72″ quilt.

So, although I wanted to try my hand at free motion quilting it was not to be.

I ended up stitching in the ditch with a few curvy lines throughout.  But I still had large spaces that needed to be quilted.  So I decided to improvise on a method called “tying.”

With the tying method, a person would use knitting yarn and tie knots throughout the quilt spacing them equally apart.  But, I don’t like the look.  Instead I decided to use the tie method but use thread and not have the knot show but have it lay flat. It actually worked quite well.

Straight lines and an occasional curved line throughout the quilt made it a little easier to maneuver through the sewing machine.

Winter Blues Design – Quilt

Winter Blues Design – Quilt

Here’s a view from the side …

Winter Blues Design – Quilt

It came our pretty nice, eh?

Well, Patricia really liked it so I’m glad for that.

My next quilt will be a scrappy one ~ my first scrappy quilt. Can’t wait!

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A Star Quilt

Star Diamond Quilt

When I first started quilting I made the the mistake of telling my family & friends on Facebook that I was looking for projects so I could practice sewing and quilting.  I had not done either in my life and thought having planned projects would be a good way to learn.

However, the last time I posted pictures of my quilt on Facebook another person said they wanted one.  I currently have four (4) more free quilts to make for people.  This after making six quilts already. So ~ after the four more free quilts I’m planning on charging for making quilts. Gotta pay for the fabric someway …

The star quilt I recently made was for an aunt who is Native American.  She requested the colors of blue, lilac and yellow on a white background with a brushed baby blue back.  She also wanted the size to be anything bigger than a crib but not larger than a full size.

So I made a lap quilt.  It was a little challenging for me since I had never cut in “degrees” before (mainly 45 degrees), had never quilted on flannel and had never sewn with invisible thread.

All these challenges were overcome quickly.  A quilting ruler took care of the measuring and searching on Youtube and the internet gave me lots of ideas from other people’s failures and successes.

Over and over the same problem kept rearing it’s ugly head though ~ sewing the diamonds together. The corners must meet at the correct corners or else the connection is crooked.

Sewing Triangles

MOST of the sewn triangles came out okay and those that didn’t I found I had to go back and re-do.

Sewing Triangles Together

Since lilac was one of the colors that my aunt wanted in this quilt, I had a dilemma.  I wanted the quilt to be a surprise but there are so many variations of lilac ~ from light to dark ~ that I decided to go with different variations ~ both light and dark. I chose darker blues and only one fabric in yellow.

Do you see from the picture below why the diamond and other pieces must be cut and sewn very carefully? They have to fit together in order not to have a crooked large diamond.

Making a large triangle

It was fun to put the colors together and make the diamonds.  Once all the diamonds were completed I put them on the floor to see how they looked.  I was then able to move them around to see which design I liked the best.  I did make a mistake although one wouldn’t know it was a mistake.  In the picture below, I had the two “plum-ish” looking colors across from each other which I really liked.

Star Diamond Quilt

Unfortunately when I finally sewed the diamonds together I made the mistake of sewing them in a different location. No problem though ~ just a different look.

Star Diamond Quilt

I’m not sure why the designer didn’t have us applique the large star on a white piece of fabric. Instead, the white background fabric is cut into triangles and squares and are set into the corners between the diamonds.

I believe appliqueing would have been much easier but I’m one to stick to a design ~ at least the first time.

After I basted the top, back and batting together, I had to decide how to quilt it.  Since I have a small sewing machine I decided on a very simple “line” design.  Normally I would make a quilt in two or three pieces, quilt it and then sew those pieces together.  This design didn’t allow for that.

I’ve learned from a quilting teacher that most of us veer when we sew so she recommends using blue painting tape to help you stay on track.

Quilting with blue painters tape

Once the quilting on the diamonds was completed, I used the masking tape to mark the lines for the rest of my design.

Using blue painters tape to quilt

A major problem I had with this quilt was when one of the middle star pieces was too “short” to meet the other pieces in the middle.  Instead of taking care of it initially, I thought I’d take care of it by hand quilting it in the end.  That was a major mistake as I wound up having to cut another small diamond piece, lay it over the “mistake,” hand quilt it on and also use fabric glue underneath as a “just in case.”

A quilting mistake

Fortunately for me, you can’t see this small hand quilting from afar ~ you have to get really really close.  See how it looks below?

Star Diamond

The quilt came out quite beautifully.  I used a technique that modern quilters use and washed the fabric for the back and the top before cutting.  The batting was not washed initially.  Once the quilt was finished, I washed it all and the batting then shrunk which gives the quilt a nice wrinkled look.

Star Quilt

Star Quilt

And here’s the quilt with a section of the baby blue flannel showing.

Star Quilt

It didn’t take very long to make this quilt. I purchased the pattern on the Craftsy website ~ it’s by Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio.

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A Large Heart Quilt – My Own Design

A Large Heart Queen Quilt

When I was gifted a sewing machine a couple or so years back, I needed practice as I had never sewn on a machine before.  Having YouTube videos to teach me along with online classes I take at Craftsy have really helped.

After I made my first king size quilt for my sister (it took me a year because when frustrated I just put it aside), I posted it on Facebook and made a statement to the effect of “anyone want something made so I can practice?”  Oh boy!  The people came out of the woodwork!  I had about 6 people requesting quilts. Unfortunately they all wanted queen size quilts.  Yes, I could have said no ~ well, come to think of it, I SHOULD have said no.

My sewing machine has a very small harp space and it’s hard to get the pieced quilt top, batting and back through the machine to quilt.  After taking a class on Craftsy on how to make a quilt in 2 or 3 pieces, I felt a little more confident. Not 75%, (or 65 or 50) but just a little more confident (laughing).

This quilt is my fourth and it didn’t come out too bad. Most of the quilts I see online are absolutely gorgeous and I admire them.  Then I found out that one of the quilters whose work I really admire sends her quilts out to a “long-armer” who uses a very large sewing machine to do the quilting.  Disappointment set in as I kind’ve feel that’s cheating.  She gives credit to the long-arm quilter who does her work for her but … still … it makes it seem almost an impossibility that any of my quilts will come out as beautiful.

I’m still hopeful though.

My niece requested a heart quilt ~ one large heart in the middle of the quilt.  She didn’t want smaller hearts surrounding it as she didn’t want anything to take the focus away from the large heart.  The colors she was interested in were purple (first choice), blue, red and possibly orange.

Since I could not find a template that was large enough for this heart, I had to create my own.  I did that by purchasing two large pieces of art paper and taping them together.  Then I folded it in half and cut a heart out of it.  An engineer friend of mine gave me this suggestion.

Next, I auditioned the fabric I would be using after cutting them into smaller pieces that would be pieced together.  Needless to say, the red did not make the cut.  Now I was left with the blue and purple.

Quilting Fabric

I measured the heart as if it were a square piece to determine how much fabric I would be needing.  Then I cut the fabric into smaller pieces ~ they didn’t have to be the same width as I wanted a random arrangement. This was suggested to me by a friend whose a graphic designer.

Once I had a pieced square made out of the fabric, I put the cutout paper heart on top of the square I made with the fabric.

Making A Large Heart Template

Then I pinned the paper heart template to the fabric and used my scissors to create a heart out of the fabric.

Making A Large Heart Template

I then pressed the fabric heart with starch.

Making A Large Heart Template

Notice the random fabric colors?  It came out really well …

The quilt was made in 3 parts and the heart was appliqued into the middle section.  I had approximately 6 inches on each side of the middle section which is needed to 1) take into account some shrinkage due to the quilting and 2) make sure there was enough fabric on the sides to sew to the other two pieces.

Making A Large Heart Template

I did not pin this quilt but used a basting spray which works a lot better for me.

Once the three pieces are quilted individually, they are hand sewn together.   Although I thought this would be hard, it’s really easy but takes time.

The seam is on the right in the picture below. I decided to use an angled serpentine stitch throughout the quilt but I left the space between the large purple stripe (I added one on each side) unstitched. This actually brings the eye more to the middle of the quilt.

Making A Large Heart Template

Once the three pieces are sewn together I hand sewed the binding on.  Now ~ THAT took a lot of time as it was my first time doing a binding by hand.  On this queen quilt, it took this newbie 7 hours.  It looks really nice though and I think it was worth it.

The back side of this quilt was made with one fabric color ~ purple.

Making A Large Heart Template

Here’s the quilt on a queen bed ~ it’s washed but not yet ironed so looks more wrinkled than the final quilt.

A Large Heart Quilt

Well, for a fairly new quilter who did her own quilting on a queen sized quilt with her own created heart design, I’d say I did pretty good, eh?

A Large Heart Queen Quilt

A Large Heart Queen Quilt

If you’re being challenged by a quilt you think you can’t make, hang in there!  My next project will be a star quilt.  Now that should be challenging!

Hope you have a peaceful and fantastic day ~

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