Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Austin's Quilt - (Non Harriet Project)

In the last few days prior to Christmas, there was a flurry of activity down in my sewing room while I desperately tried to finish Rita's Quilt in time.  It was done and delivered but it was a stress I didn't want to repeat in a hurry.

Well, I just did it again!  No sooner was Christmas over, than I turned to my grandson Austin's quilt which I'd started a couple of months ago.  The idea was that as a NHP, I'd work on it during my group quilting days once a week, and leave the QA quilts to work on at home.  I'd initially planned it for his birthday on January 8th, but quickly realised it wouldn't be finished.  So I arranged to deliver it to him on my next visit to the mainland - January 20th.  Uh Oh.  Three weeks to go and the blocks weren't even finished. 

I leave for Melbourne tomorrow - I finished the quilt today - talk about cutting things fine!

The quilt is called Snugly Bugly -a design by Amy Bradley.  It's bright and colourful and highly suitable for a four year old boy - what 4 year old doesn't love Bugs?

Although this design isn't from the QA books - I used all the techniques I'd learned from Harriet to put it together.  Despite what the pattern suggested, the quilt was made using all the knowledge I'd gained from the QA lessons - from truing fabrics, accurate cutting, adding sashings and cornerstones, getting the borders on straight, making the binding and of course the quilting.  I also referred frequently to Harriet's book 'Mastering Machine Applique' which helped immensely, particularly the chapter on blanket stitching.

My aim is to explore applique further and I found this quilt a good starting place.  Amy Bradley's patterns are exceptionally easy to work from and her applique instructions are clear and easy to follow, even for a beginner.  My hope is from here to start doing finer, more detailed applique work. 

I did have a bit of an oops - a rather large oops actually.  I bought the backing fabric mail order and when it arrived (a whole month after I ordered it), I decided I didn't like it.  I also found I didn't order enough of it!  With no time to find an alternative, I had to get a bit creative.

Hard to see in the photo, but the red backing fabric is printed with black & yellow bees.

I found a homespun in my stash which matched the yellow in the backing.  It looked pretty yech and very much like a desperate fix of an oops.  By appliqueing his name across the back it breaks it up a bit - an extra day's work which there really wasn't time for!

A frantic phone call to my ever patient neighbour Pauline brought some help with hand-sewing the binding.  Thank you Pauline - you're a treasure!  It got washed and dried successfully in record time.

Pauline calls it quits at around 10pm and yes, I'm a redhead again!

I used a Rayon batting for this quilt.  The main reason I chose Rayon was that it was on sale - less than half price and also because it's fire retardant, very thin and drapey.  With all that stiff applique, I wanted a very soft and pliable batting.  I bought a Queen size batt as the shrinkage rate for Rayon is quite high - around 5%.  I pre-washed the batting (another first for me) and it really did shrink quite a lot.  The finished Snugly Bugly quilt is 56" x 95" - the queen sized batt just fit lengthwise and I cut only 18" from the sides.
The batting shrunk a lot!
I must say that the Rayon batting was a dream to quilt. Even making the sandwich was made easier as the batting is thin enough to see through, allowing me to match all the layers easily.  It went through the sewing machine beautifully, easy to manipulate and squish into small spaces!  I definitely be using Rayon again.

A variety of quilting on this one - ditch stitching around all the sashing and borders, echo quilting around the applique, stippling on the top and bottom borders, a decorative stitch on the small middle border and stencil quilting on the green and outer borders.  Phew!

As soon as I'm back from Melbourne I'll be straight into the QA projects - my resolution to keep NHP's to a minimum this year certainly didn't last long! 



  1. You have done a beautiful job Lesley. Have a good time with the family, See you at Tangled Web when you get back.

  2. By using Harriet's techniques you have learned, you have been able to create something fun and memorable for family. I think that's great! I have begun work on the Civil War Chronicles Block of the Month Program from Homestead Hearth out of Missouri. My husband and I are huge history buffs and when we saw the quilt, we both knew it would be perfect for our bed and a wonderful heirloom for our family. The ladies from Homestead Hearth have their own blogspot at
    http://homesteadhearth.blogspot.com/ . When you scroll down, you can see them in Halloween costumes standing in front of their Civil War quilt sample at a trade show. What do you think of the quilt? The reproduction 1800's fabrics you can find at www.MarcusFabrics.com