Handmade Christmas: Part 2 (and Baby Ethan!)

Whoa! Time flies! I mentioned in my last post that I would be summarizing all my holiday makes in three posts… but seeing as how it’s almost Valentine’s Day and my Christmas spirit has officially fled, the revised plan is to cram the rest of them into this post.

Before all that though, I just have to share that my nephew, Ethan, was born on January 24th and I am officially an aunt! We got to spend some together on Sunday and am toooootally in love. 😍


Here he is on the quilt I made for him. Squee!


And a few days earlier… snug as a bug in the blankie I made for him.


Over the holidays, I was inspired by a few projects that I spotted in Instagram. It seemed everyone was making rope bowls (I’m looking at you Nicole)! I made lots of them as gifts for family and coworkers. The best part about these is they are fast, easily customizable, and there’s no cutting before you start. You just grab some clothesline and zigzag around! Now I just need to make some for myself.





I found Wonder Clips to be the easiest way to get them started (finickiest part).


I also saw these woven stars online and loved the look of them. I made a few and still got confused on the second half of the weaving each time. They’re a bit of a brain bender, but I got through them in the end!



I also made this laptop sleeve for Jorge’s brother, Mike. This is one of those projects I’ve been trying to get to for years and it kept slipping away from me. Part of me is glad it did, because he just got a new laptop, and it’s the same one I have! So, you would think this made it a cinch since I didn’t have to worry about the dimensions at all, right?


Wrong. It was a problem child. It was too tight, and I had to rip out binding and seams and re-do them so many times I lost count. Eventually I took apart all the pieces and completely re-imagined it, adding a gusset. And I must’ve changed the closure style three or four times. Winging things is not my strong suit.


The quilting was the most enjoyable part because this fabric is just so dang cute. The quilting lines are the only original stitches on this project that actually survived!


For Jorge’s mom, Rosa, I caught up with another project I have been meaning to make for a while. Placemats! It’s a set of eight, and each one is reversible. I used 16 different Timeless Treasures fabrics (most are from Fresh Cut by Michele D’Amore) — no repeats!



Jorge caught the rope bowl bug and made a nesting set for her. We coordinated the fabrics to match the placemats so they could be used together. Here she is beaming with her new table set!


So, I was a busy elf this past holiday season! And before you know it, it’ll be time to do it all over again. 🎄


Throwback! Ice Cream Picnic Quilt

Hi friends!

This is a quilt I made in my early days of sewing. I know it must have been in my first year or two of learning, because there’s no label on it (I did not fully appreciate the importance back then).



Label your quilts, people. Or else you are doomed to a fate of deliberating the timeline of each project like this: I specifically recall piecing this quilt top together in our old apartment in Brooklyn, but quilting it in Forest Hills, and we moved here in 2013… it had been a UFO for months by then. So I prrrrrrobably started this in 2012. Oh, look there is a date on the guild recap there! Great! But it’s not quilted yet in this photo… so when DID I quilt this? 🤔 Oh hi Victoria!

Yeah, not very scientific.



I originally conceived of this quilt as a gift for my mom, because she loves flying saucers and popsicles (I know, who doesn’t? But, my mom loves them more). Then I accidentally went and stuck a bunch of bright colors in there that she definitely wouldn’t like, had a “what were you thinking??!” moment (sorry mom), and re-designated it a purposeless/practice quilt that ended up just kind of sticking with me over the years. Those of you who have been to our apartment will recognize it instantly because it’s usually folded up on the sofa or on a chair. I call it a picnic quilt because it’s too small to be a lap quilt if you’re a grown-up, which, regretfully, I am.

I used this tutorial to make the blocks because I was super intimidated by the cutting lists associated with typical log cabins.

Every time I look at this thing, I want to straight-line quilt my next project. Before I could free-motion, I actually lamented my minimal “walking foot only” abilities, but I didn’t really appreciate that straight line quilting is completely awesome in its own right.




I have washed this quilt more times than any other handmade quilt I own, because I wanted to fulfill its randomly-assigned destiny as a “picnic quilt”. It travels easily, and has spent a good amount of time on the ground. And it’s held up well! Not bad for one of the first quilts I ever made. 😉



The back is pieced using leftovers from the front.


You can really see the quilting from the back! So snuggly.


Citrus Quilt for Baby Brandon

OK! As promised, here I am to share baby Brandon’s quilt. He will be a YEAR OLD (seriouslyyy?!!) next month and he is growing up to be one chill AF kid. It feels like he was a squishy mushy little peanut just yesterday! And now look at his cute little peek-a-boo face. Ohi bud!

Photo credit: Kiki Blazevski-Charpentier

I made this quilt for him a year ago and gave it to his then-parents-to-be at the baby shower on Halloween. Preggers Kiki was a sunny side up fried egg, Roland was bacon. The egg yolk was known as baby KiRo in those days. 🍳🐣

This was the first quilt that I made on my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 930, the machine I bought – and promptly fell in love with – last September.


I used Windham’s Citrus charm squares to make a simple patchwork quilt with borders. I love the juicy colors. The Lizzie House constellation border fabric came from the swap table at a guild meeting. Lucky find! It was pre-washed, and the rest of my fabric wasn’t, so I had no choice but to violate a major quilt police law: never mix pre-washed and non-pre-washed fabrics. The world ended.

JK, it was totally fine.


I stippled the patchwork section, and FMQ’d loops and bubbles on the borders.

brandons-baby-quilt-wmw3Before laundering. Ooh la la, so smooth!

After laundering. Ooh la la, so crinkly and ready for snuggling!


The back is a Citron polka dot by Timeless Treasures. This color is so delicious!


A section of squares that I sewed together with the wrong seam allowance went into the back. Happy accident!


Scrappy binding.


And nowadays this quilt is right where it belongs, under Brandawg’s smooshy lil bum. 🐥

brandons-baby-quilt-wmw10Photo credit: Kiki Blazevski-Charpentier


News from Paris Quilt


Another wedding quilt! This one was made for my friends (and neighbors) Kiki and Roland in June 2014. It was a quick finish — time got away from me, and I started it just a week before the wedding.

I used Paris-themed fabric, because that’s where they got engaged. There’s a key print in there too, a reference to the since-defunct “love locks” of the Pont des Arts bridge, which they had visited and incorporated into the event decor.

Jenny Baker’s Giant Vintage Rose Tutorial is perfect for showing off big pieces of fabric, and it comes together SO fast — it’s just twelve half-square triangles and four squares. Perfect for when you look at your calendar and go, “Oh, SH*T!! The wedding is in a WEEK!?” 😱 😜

Here it is on the design wall, before all the blocks were sewn together.


I free-motion quilted with stippling.


The binding was all done by machine as I didn’t have time to hand-sew it to the back. The first time I tried machine binding (on a quilt prior to this one), the results were disastrous. I had since avoided it like the plague, but because of the time limitation on the one, I conquered my fears. The method that worked best for me was this one and I love how it came out.




The method I had tried before this was the one where you apply the binding to the front, then fold it to the back, clip, and stitch in the ditch from the front, the idea being that you will catch the edge of the binding on the back… blind. I do like how it looks when done properly, but my feeling is, whichever method you can execute best will look best. I had a much better time catching the binding when I could see it, and it allowed me to use a nice narrow folded edge (rather than making the overhang larger in hopes that it would catch more easily on the reverse).


I used clear thread for the binding because I don’t like using different colors in the top and bobbin, and I didn’t want the black thread to be visible on the light-colored quilt back.



I wash my quilts before gifting so they get soft and crinkly. This label was sewn in with the binding to save time. Tutorial from Sassafras Lane here.


Two years and a baby later (I’ll share his quilt in my next post!), I hope this gift still brings Kiki and Roland warm memories of that exciting time.


Retreat + Evan & Tiffany’s Wedding Quilt


My friend Evan got married!

We met in Kindergarten and grew up together in the background of this picture. Obviously, after 25 years of friendship, a quilt was in order.

A few months ago, I asked Evan for his and his fiancée’s favorite colors, and decided to make a two-color quilt for them with his response. I had been itching to try Accuquilt’s Hunter’s Star die and this seemed like the perfect excuse to give it a whirl.

Evan relayed Tiffany’s color of choice, saffron, while he chose grey. (Gold & silver!) I picked out two Timeless Tonga batiks and got to work.


I had a guild retreat in early June, so I ran all the fabric through the die cutter one afternoon in April. In the time it took me to watch two bad movies, I was done cutting! I made a single test block, and held onto the rest of the pieces until retreat time. My fellow mod Brian pointed out that I probably should have made my test block before cutting out the ENTIRE quilt, which is solid advice. I was just having so much fun cranking that die back and forth that it never even occurred to me!

These are all the pieces that make up the quilt top. Packing them for the retreat was cake; they barely took up any space. Which was good, since our carpool was jammed tight!


We had a BLAST at the retreat. There were lots of times my face hurt from laughing so hard. While Jorge and all the other guys were out in California for Evan’s bachelor party, I was zipping away at the wedding quilt.

This was our home away from home – Ladore Retreat Center in Waymart, PA.






This quilt is a chain piecing endurance test, but the payoff is hugely gratifying. I went for the 60″ x 72″ size, which uses 30 blocks comprised of four “mini” blocks each. So for three days, I was the quilting version of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and my workstation looked like this:


I came home with 120 of these:


Once you get those baby blocks done, the rest goes quickly. It’s so exciting to see the stars come together at this point.


The coolest thing about this quilt is Eleanor Burns’ method for keeping the center of the star flat. Since so many points converge there, a typical 4-patch construction would create a lot of bulk. The pattern instructs you on how to get a nice flat center that looks like this:


Squashing and pressing those centers feels sooooo satisfying.

It only took me a couple more nights at home to finish the quilt top. Not long after, I had it basted, free motion quilted, and ready to bind.


I used my machine‘s lettering and decorative stitches for the label. I like playing around with those features that I hardly ever have a reason to use.


It washed up so soft and crinkly. Jorge helped me photograph it on the roof… and gave it a test snuggle.








Congrats on tying the knot, Evan and Tiffany!



P.S. Jorge made them a quilty wedding gift too! Check out his wall hanging. The pattern is from Heather Jones’s book, Quilt Local. So proud of my quilter-in-training!


The fabrics are Timeless basics (neutral Soho Solids + a dark Java Blender batik) and Liberty Lawn (from when a fabric store near my office had a bunch of rolls for $10/yd!).




Heather’s pattern was inspired by tile work, and Quilt Local is all about finding quilt inspiration in your everyday surroundings. As we headed down from the roof, we noticed this window in our building’s hallway resembled the quilt!


Love it. ❤


Poconos Birthday Quilts


More quilts to share! These two were birthday gifts for my dad and stepmom.

Dad’s quilt is a pattern from Heather Jones’s Quilt Local, and Bobbi’s uses blocks from Tula Pink’s City Sampler.

I’ll tell you about Dad’s first… it was supposed to be a Christmas gift. The top came together very quickly in December, but I didn’t get to quilt it in time. So it became a birthday gift instead! Both of their birthdays are in February, and mine and my brother’s are in March, so we all spent a nice weekend together at their mountain house to celebrate.

Fabrics are by Timeless Treasures. Soho Solids for the top (he likes purple so I picked a deep velvet color), Hydrangeas by Chong-a Hwang for the back. Dad passed his love of gardening on to me, and we have a mutual appreciation for this flower. It runs in the family – his father was an accomplished horticulturist.

I free-motion quilted the purple sections with stippling, and added some straight lines near the seams on the neutral sections. I don’t pre-wash my fabrics; I give the finished quilt a wash so it gets cozy and crinkly.



I got lucky with the perfect shade of Aurifil in my stash. Look how perfectly it matched!


close up1

This was my first quilt using only solids, and only two fabrics. I love how it came out, and I keep thinking about how it would look in some other combinations. I love the one on the cover.


Now for Bobbi’s quilt. It was by special request. There was a small wall area in their weekend house that needed some love. She sent me references for color and design, but I couldn’t settle on any fabrics just then, so I kept the project in the back of my brain for a little while.


The February NYC Metro Mod meeting. We had a special guest, Usha Berlin of Handloom Batik. Her family has been making hand-printed fabrics for generations and she gave a wonderful presentation, showing her work and talking about their history and methods. It was totally awe-inspiring. Be sure to visit Usha at a show if you get the opportunity.

usha berlin1

usha fabrics1

I knew Bobbi would love these fabrics and the story behind them, and there were plenty available in the color palette she requested. It took me ages, but I managed to choose a handful of cuts after much agony and consultation with my fellow mods. The fabrics are soft and gauzy, and the colors are so vibrant. Many are made with natural dyes. One of the fabrics I chose was a floral print; Usha told me that the flowers in the design were actually mustard plants, and dye used for that fabric came from mustard seeds!


bobbi holding quilt2

The orange sanskrit print translates to “Finish what you start”. How perfect is that for quilters?

There is one fabric in there that’s not Handloom Batik, and it is the blue & tan print. Bobbi and Dad brought that fabric back from a trip to Singapore. I thought it sat well with the others.

I knew I wanted to use the City Sampler blocks to create an unpredictable geometric design that my stepmom would like, but wasn’t happy with how it was coming together on my design wall at first. The blocks are 6″, and with all the piecing, you couldn’t really appreciate the fabrics. I kept looking at that orange print… finish what you start. So I persevered. Once I cut up some 6″ squares and started arranging them between all the pieced blocks, the design opened up in a new way! I had a lot of fun deciding on the layout after that.


The weekend I gave them these quilts, Bobbi was on a mission to make one of her own. We gathered up the supplies and I showed her what to do. Check out her first quilt, a table topper for their sailboat’s nav station!


I think she caught the bug…


Cait & Pete’s Wedding Quilt

1-2013-11-13 20.41.50

It feels fitting that this should be the first quilt to chronicle on QIQ.

Jorge and I made it back in 2013, shortly before our friends Caitlin and Pete got hitched. As we chose the pattern, agonized over a color scheme, and prepared the pieces, I took tons of photos so I could share them after the wedding on my completely fictional “blog”. Obviously, the pictures sat on my phone, and then my computer, for years. Doomed to a life of solitude and loneliness, collecting meta-dust.

Until now!

It took me three years, but I have a blog now dammit, and hell if I’m going to let all this behind-the-scenes shutterbugging go to waste.

So, back to the quilt story then…

When I heard my friends were engaged, I knew right away I wanted to make them a quilt. Jorge, my quilter-in-training, was eager to help, so we made it a joint venture. I visited the bride’s Pinterest board, knowing she’d be collecting inspiration for the big day. Sure enough, I found plenty of images to inform the color scheme, settling on this succulent bouquet to translate into a fabric palette. Jorge and I agreed on a pattern from Sunday Morning Quilts.

We cut out the pieces, mixed them up, and got to work. All the fabrics are by Timeless Treasures.

1-2013-10-12 15.31.35

1-2013-10-12 15.31.13

1-2013-10-13 22.14.14

After lots of sewing, pressing, trimming, more sewing, more pressing, and more trimming, a pretty pile of blocks was born!

1-2013-10-21 00.07.43

We laid it out on the biggest section of floor we could find in our apartment. These were the pre-design wall days. We used an old sheet to prevent the blocks from sweeping the floor. Each block was lettered and numbered with a masking tape label so we could keep track of placement as we put it together.

1-2013-11-01 20.20.29

1-2013-11-01 20.51.28

Here’s the top hanging out on our full-size bed at home, before basting and quilting.

1-2013-11-08 23.32.08

We opted for straight line quilting on a bias grid. Water soluble pen worked well to mark it up.

1-2013-11-11 11.52.16

1-2013-11-11 11.31.48

At the time, I had never made anything larger than a throw size, and didn’t give much thought to the fact that this was a 90″ x 90″ quilt. And we were sewing on my little Janome Magnolia. If someone tries to convince you that you can’t quilt a project of this size on your DSM, just show them this picture. You can wrestle a monster through this thing if you’re willing to put up with the back pain that follows.

1-2013-11-11 16.05.32

The pieced back — Jorge had a lot of fun with this part.

1-2013-11-13 20.47.12

1-2013-11-13 20.43.03

Bound, labeled, ready to wash.

1-2013-11-13 20.39.42

Washed and soft and crinkly, and no more blue lines!

1-2013-11-16 00.03.35

1-2013-11-15 22.46.10

No quilt is complete without a label.

1-2013-11-15 22.46.03

It ended up matching the wedding colors – as well as Cait and Pete’s home decor – beautifully.

1-2013-11-16 17.52.34

1-2013-11-16 17.52.40

I will never forget their phone call to us the night they opened the box. ❤

1-2014-02-16 00.04.23

Last year I made a throw pillow to match for Caitlin’s birthday. She sent me this ridiculously cute picture of Pete test-driving it at home later that day! Snug as a bug in a rug.


I’ll be sharing my past, present and future quilts (and rando sewing projects) here on the blog, so be sure to subscribe using that lil’ widget in the sidebar. See you again soon!