Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Autumn Doll Quilt-- Blogger's Quilt Fest

I want to show you one of the doll quilts I made this year. 
This one is from September and I really tried to capture autumn with it. 

Chasing the Sky
Approximately 24 x 18"
Materials: Quilter's cottons and poly batting
New to me: Making a hanger sleeve on the back, washing the quilt after making and getting that crinkly effect!
Special to me because it reflects the best parts of my fall impressions, even though this is usually a tough time for me, with the days getting shorter and darker.  This quilt is a record that I made it through the dreary skies to the crisp snowy season,where the light bounces off the snow and everything feels more festive!

When fall comes, I love the changing leaves, the nip in the air, and the last lingering sunshine.  However, the toneless white sky that often comes with it just drains me.  It's hard not to feel down when you can't tell what time of day it is.   

This year I did the only thing I could think of, I nested.  I cleaned the house, opened the doors, brushed the floors to the outside.  I started on my quilt.

I chose the fabrics, cut the pieces, started with the log cabins.  I wanted to capture the colors I seek when autumn comes and the light starts losing its strength, and the days get shorter:  turning leaves, moss, lichen, and endless colors of sky, those days when the sun breaks through to make it blue again.  I decided to pair solid fabrics with the prints of Deb Strain's Giving Thanks, by Moda.  I needed to remind myself to be thankful while I was trudging along!

I had troubles with my machine.  I sent mails back and forth with my mother to try to troubleshoot.  I changed thread, needle, re-wound the bobbin, cleaned under the plate.  One day my husband brought home a new-to-me used machine, an early birthday present.  I started sewing and realized how nice it is to have a quarter inch foot, and a smooth machine!  A bunch of the seams already were a little off, but with the month coming to a close, and October coming on, I really had to just keep going. After so much stopping and starting, I was back in business.

Back in business!

I wanted to get across that bittersweet feeling in fall of how fleeting the blue sky is, and yet, how really blue it can be, if you catch it. I decided to use blues for some of the log cabins. Greens to show fading grasses, and the moss that starts to show more just before the snow comes. For the sashing, I wanted to convey the reflection of the sky and sun when you do the last fall cleaning.  I also wanted a way to balance the log cabins, to come outside of the houses, so to speak, much like my gaze did while sewing this quilt.

I had fresh impressions of South Korean textiles, and I liked the breathing space that the off white created for the pale solid fabrics.

                        Example of South Korean textile handicraft

I decided to take the sky and sun dapplings outside the edges of the cabins with scraps of some of the solids.  I had a bit of inspiration looking at Tula Pink's pattern for her quilt called Fairy Tale Lane, which has a dashed sashing that meanders through the quilt.  I used a scale that suited my quilt.  For the binding I went scrappy and just used the various blues, to echo the shimmering sky on those best days of fall.

Fairy Tale Lane quilt, by Tula Pink, from my copy of her book, Quilts from the House of Pink

All in all, I am satisfied with this quilt because I pushed my design boundaries a little more to make a log cabin pattern that expressed my feelings about autumn.  I had one more chance to practice my 1/4 seams, and they Did improve by the end of it.  I figured out how to make a hanger sleeve for the back, and I took the plunge and washed the quilt after making it.  It didn't fall apart, but got nice and crinkly! I really enjoyed letting it develop organically, just following my impressions of the color and light of the season.  It's not perfect, but it reflects just where I am in the quilting process.

Best of all, I made it through the worst part of fall along with the best, by having this sewing puzzle to see me through and take my focus outward.  Even though I sent it away to a Doll Quilts Monthly swap partner, I have the quilt in my memory for this particular autumn.  I made it again! 

And when I was all done,  I was rewarded to see a pair of moose, in the neighbor's yard, just enjoying that last bit of sun and uncovered ground.


                        Moose sightings from the sewing room window

Specs:  Doll Quilt
             24 x 18"
             Sewn and quilted by me of quilter's cottons with polyester batting
             First hanger sleeve, first quilt washing! 

I'm linking up to the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side!  
Won't you come and participate too?  Lots of fabulous makers out there in blogland!  There's Tons of inspiration to share in!


  1. Your quilt is beautiful and love the story behind it - good choice in new machine - it's the same as mine and I love it!

  2. This is a beautiful little quilt. It captures the season change perfectly. What number are you?

  3. Lovely little quilt. Glad you got a new machine to play with!! Thanks for sharing and have a great day

  4. Those are small log cabin blocks. Well done.

  5. That is so pretty. I can feel autumn in it.

  6. Definitely autumnal! I love log cabins and adore tiny piecing so this made my morning. :-)

  7. What a wonderful story behind this beautiful little quilt. You really have captured the feeling of autumn. Such a beautiful post with lovely photos. I'm impressed you can see mooses from your sewing room window!

  8. I love your little quilt! Thanks for sharing the photos and the story behind the quilt.

  9. Lovely little quilt with great colors. I enjoyed reading the story and seeing the photos. We have many grey days here in Minnesota, but you must be much farther north.


Thanks for stopping by! I am happy for all comments and I will try to answer each one if I can!