Saturday, November 9, 2013

Carefree Garden

55.5" X 62.5"
I wanted to make my sister a quilt for a special birthday she was to celebrate in September. She loves her garden and spends lots of time working on making it beautiful. As I was browsing for ideas I came across a photo of a floral quilt made by a friend some years ago. My search was over. I thought it would be perfect - a garden she could enjoy all year long with no work involved.

I had lots of large florals and quite a few greens but to get more variety I asked for green donations from some quilting pals.

I made a 'window' to select the part of the print to use.
It's a very simple thing - cut 5" squares for the florals and 5.5" squares of greens for the half-square triangle units.

As I began to it up on my design wall I was disappointed. It looked like a chaotic mess but after analyzing the original photo I realized the dark side of each HST should point to the right. That positioning seemed to help and I kept on going.

Once it was all together I started stressing out about how to quilt it. It had to be done by machine with my time frame and I am not skilled at free motion work.I didn't really want to have someone else do it. It had to be all from me.

Here's a rough sketch of my general idea...  An overall design with a path (through the garden) and areas of 'the beds'. Sort of the idea of rows of crops in the fields.
I liked the simplicity of the idea - an overall design sort of influenced by some of the 'modern' quilts being made today. I felt so relieved. I could do this! I am very comfortable with a walking foot!  I used a mottled greenish variegated thread and after laying down the main divisions I eye-balled a little over 1" echo from those lines.

I usually don't remember to do this but I measured the top when completed, measured it again after quilting was done and then again after I washed it. No surprise - it got smaller but all loss was due to the quilting; 3" in width and 2" in length! This was very simple quilting. A more complex, denser design would take up even more. Remember to plan your bed quilt a few inches larger than you'd like in both directions.

We met for breakfast at a lovely restaurant on Lake Minnetonka which just happened to provide the perfect, leafy backdrop for a photo.

She was really thrilled with it.
She tells me she 'sleeps in the garden' every night now.


  1. What a sweet gift, Jean. Nice job. It looks lovely!

  2. Love the combo of floral with the half square triangles. The florals really make this quilt sparkle! So simple yet is looks complex. Very pretty!

  3. Thanks for your comments. I would love to give credit to the pattern designer but I don't know who it is. I took a photo and she got it from a friend etc etc...just like women have always done - shared actual patterns or sketched designs we like and work them out on our own. If anyone happens to have more info please let me know.

  4. I just had to check our your blog this morning, seeing this lovely floral quilt. Greetings from 2 hours south. I live in northern Iowa, and I'll be landing in MSP this afternoon (our usual go-to airport), returning from a trip to GA.
    I absolutely love this quilt. I've marked it as one I'll have to try some time. My stash is overflowing with florals and greens, so this was meant to be made by me some day.
    I also read about taking apart the old quilt. Very logical, very daring -- and I'm sure you'll make good use of those sweet fabrics.

  5. Thanks, Vivian! It is a fun quilt to make - maybe some cold dreary day this winter you will just dig out a pile of those florals and start cutting the squares....I'm glad you enjoy the posts and appreciate your taking the time to comment.

  6. Great gift Jean. Amazing what the change is with subtle color placement.
    She's so happy with the quilt it makes a special picture.

  7. Jean it is a beautiful quilt! I love very scrappy quilts and this is definitely a winner. Great job.


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