Queen quilt

Holy crap. I finished a queen-sized quilt!

I’ve been thinking about scraps all year long, as many of you know. At this point, I think scraps make up more than half of my stash by volume. When I was going through some of my knit scraps making So, Zo undies I realized that I was keeping scraps for quilting but I don’t quilt that much!

crabandbee.com | scrap quilt

It was time to justify all that hoarding. I appealed to the mistress of Sewing Dares herself, Gillian, to sign me up for a scrap quilt. Initially I was thinking of a lap quilt size but decided to go all out and make quilt for our bed as our other quilts were looking shabby. I picked all of the blue, white and purple scraps out and started to play around.

crabandbee.com | scrap quilt

I had trouble starting, and I realized it was because I wanted to maximize my scrap yardage so much that it was preventing me from making any design decisions. I also love the look of irregular quilts, which didn’t help. I finally settled on making horizontal “blocks” that went the width of the quilt, which made it easy for me to measure my progress on the quilt top.

I made all of the strips and then played around with the arrangement. I settled on placing the lighter fabrics towards one corner and the darker ones towards another, with the goal of adding a bit of harmony to the irregular rectangles.

crabandbee.com | scrap quilt

The look can change completely depending on whether the light or dark side is at the top.

crabandbee.com | scrap quilt

The quilted lines are 1″ apart. I marked lines every 4″ on the quilt back, which was a solid color. I sewed those first and then used the guides that came with my walking foot to sew every 2″ and then 1″. That’s eighty-eight 108″ lines, and I was definitely counting.

I reorganized my sewing space, mashing my cutting and sewing tables together so the quilt wasn’t falling on the floor.

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I used up some of my favorite scraps, including a shibori linen piece that I dyed. You can also see scraps from two shirts I made Nathan (the gingham and the western shirt), hanging out together!

crabandbee.com | scrap quilt

I was considering piecing the backing as well but just couldn’t face it. And the fact that I found 110″ wide organic cotton sateen on sale at Organic Cotton Plus was just too tempting – I wouldn’t have to sew a single seam on the backing. I used the Bering Sea color, also seen on Lucky Lucille. I bought 4 yards and had enough to make a 1″ double-fold binding, with some left over.


Just for fun, here’s a picture of the first “quilt” I made in 2009. Wow, have I learned a lot since then! The only thing these two quilts have in common – aside from being scrappy – is the blue and white fabric in the middle.


The only real quilting on this blanket is some random cross-hatched stitching. I wouldn’t mind donating this quilt as I really dislike the colors I chose, but I’m impressed with my beginner-sewing chutzpah for making it!

crabandbee.com | scrap quilt

Orson hopped on the bed the moment I started documenting the quilt, so here are some gratuitous kitty photos.

crabandbee.com | scrap quilt

He’s generally interested in any cloth that ends up on the ground, and was a nuisance during many of the construction stages. Given how willingly he modeled for this photo shoot, I’ve forgiven him completely. How could I stay mad at that little face?

My other thank-you is to Nathan, who read one of my favorite books – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami – aloud to me as I sewed. (Also, Nathan never raced around on the quilt top when I was trying to lay it out.)

crabandbee.com | scrap quilt

When I finished the quilt, the first words out of my mouth were “I”ll never make a quilt this size again!” Thirty minutes later, I was thinking that a whole-cloth quilt with less quilting lines would be really nice to have. I remember having a similar reaction after I’d run a half-marathon – a feat I have yet to repeat – so we’ll see if I make another one. I will say that I’m really, really excited to get back to sewing garments.

I shall return on Wednesday with the button winners!


Quilt for baby girl

There’s been a lot of talk on this blog about making a quilt. Two things finally made it happen: our dear friends are having a baby girl this summer and I got a walking foot!


I ended up using the Japanese linen from my great-aunt, as well as a bit of the black-and-white cotton floral, that I received the same weekend I got the walking foot. I was saving it for something really special, and this was the perfect occasion. I loved that it was a bit girly with the pinks and oranges, but not over the top.


I machine-quilted in straight(ish) lines and then bias-bound the edges. I was very taken with the striped binding on the quilt that Kirsty made, so I wanted to give that a try.


I bought a bias-tape maker, which was a huge timesaver.


I was glad to use some of my most beautiful scraps, some of which you might recognize! The new parents are artists, a dancer and a poet, with really modern tastes, so I thought they might like some bolder colors and prints.


I gave it to them last week. The crazy thing is, they had just started researching quilts the night before!

Quilty weekend

This weekend was project heaven for me! Saturday was quilting project, film project with friends, wedding project, quilting. Sunday was quilting, friend brunch, wedding, quilting… and then a game of Catan!

As you can see, I changed my original design idea. It just seemed like too much white, considering it has a white background. Squares of color seemed like a good solution, so I did a bunch more math to figure out how to make it work. I also added in some brighter fabric, notably the olive greens, oranges and teals, and then laid all the squares out in the order I wanted them.

Guess who can’t resist squares of fabric on the ground?

Orson is not only interested in what you are focusing your attention on, he also loves natural fiber and pretty much anything on the floor. I had to rescue my carefully laid-out design several times.

After sewing the squares, I put an off-white frame around it. So the quilt top is done and ready to be bound to the batting and back! And I think I’m going to secure it all with yarn rather than stitching, which will look great with the square layout.

I plan on finishing it this week, but I want the final piece to be a surprise!  So look for pictures in a couple of weekends.

Project update!

(Could that title sound any more corporate and like work?) Anyway, I suppose it’s mostly utilitarian title; just wanted to let you guys know what I’ve been up to, sewing-wise! I’ve officially shelved the slipcover project for bigger, more urgent projects. Projects with deadlines. But super fun projects, not at all like work!

The first project is a baby quilt for my soon-to-arrive nephew. My crafty wheels started spinning approximately one hour after we heard the news that my future sis and bro in law were having a baby, and I volunteered to make the quilt. Fast-forward a few months, and it’s time to start! (Note: I am a completely novice quilter.)

I did the most waffling on blanket size. I went back and forth between matching the crib size and making something a little larger that will last longer. I went with larger – the finished size will be 42″ x 60″ instead of the 38″ x 50″ blanket that you can buy with the crib.

To the right is my rough design. I’m envisioning a white frame with pieces of fabric of all different sizes and colors in the center strips.

Next, I bought fabric! I raided the Goodwill’s pillowcase section because I wanted a good variety of colors without buying too much fabric. And also because I firmly feel that the quilting tradition came from crafty people using what they had. However, on my trip to Joann’s to pick up batting, my resolution wavered and I fell in love with a monkey print (!!!) that I decided to make the quilt back.

Done with my shopping, I came home and “processed” (read: washed on hot) my thrifted fabric. Then I pinned the backing fabric to the batting to see what dimensions I was really working with and neatened the edges. All in all, a very satisfying start to Mr. Nephew’s quilt!

Ok, my other project: making my own wedding dress. I’ll admit I’d been putting this off. I’m not sure why, probably just afraid it would never look good enough. But I started a muslin and even in a cotton sheet, the dress looked great! Mr. C. Vincent adjusted the muslin for fit, and next week, we’re going to sip whisky and soda and make new pattern pieces. Not in that order.

Inside-out dress muslin, mmm….

I won’t be showing too many revealing photos of the dress before the wedding – gotta save some things to (hopefully) wow the guests with – but I’ll try to document the process the best I can!

Happy sewing!