My Winter Project

I’ve been measuring and planning for my big Winter Project.

This quilt top, assembled 3 years ago when I was working in San Diego for an extended period of time, needs to be transformed into an honest to goodness quilt for our bed.

My grandmother was a quilter. She spent hours making quilt tops from scraps with beautiful hand applique. Then she would spend the winter sitting in her rocking chair, hand quilting her beautiful work. I seem to remember that it was one quilt a winter, but I may be wrong. There were four of us kids and we each had more than one of her quilts. So did my parents. We still use one of my childhood bed quilts here at the cottage. It’s a heavy weight and perfect for napping in the chillier winter months.

So, though I vowed I would have my next quilt machine quilted, I am going to bite the bullet and hand quilt this one.

The truth is, I like hand quilting. I love the rhythm of it. I love knowing that every stitch on that quilt top is mine. There is a distinct difference between the look of a hand quilted piece and a machine quilted piece and I prefer the hand quilted look. And the end result is all mine – for better or worse.

I suppose if I was churning out a lot of quilt tops, I would be sending them off to be machine quilted because there’s only so much time in a day! But one top? I can handle that. And before you suggest it, I don’t particularly like hand tying a quilt – it seems to me that after all the work involved in assembling a quilt top, it should be finished in a stitched design – even if it’s a grid. (Which I think I might do with this one.) So stitches it is.

I have to find a backing fabric that I like and some batting. That’s next on the list. Then the whole thing will be basted together and my hoops will come out.

I’m looking forward to it.

By the way, my blogroll is still here, if you are a reader who likes to use it. It’s now a link up in the navigation bar.

Happy Thursday.

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  1. Linda Spencer - Georgia says

    Claudia, I am impressed and can’t wait to see how the quilt turns out. You will show us won’t you? Linda

  2. says

    Oh that is beautiful. My grandmother made all her quilts by hand, using tiny octagons that she cut from bra material that was discarded by the factory. This was during WW2. She had arthritis in her hands and it was painful for her, but she still hand quilted and crocheted. I’d give anything to still have one of her blankets.

  3. says

    Hi Claudia…Scrap quilts are my absolute favorite, and this lovely scrapper of yours is so wonderful with all the different fabrics. The ‘Claudia Blue’ as I’ve come to know it as your signature color, really does give it your personal look, and that deserves to be hand quilted by you. I would be tempted to put a design in the Claudia Blue blocks and around the border, but otherwise a grid pattern will look great. Have you ever done the Baptist Fan? It would be neat, too. I think there is a template that can be chalk marked.

    It’s been awhile since I visited with you via a comment…although I’ve been keeping up with your blog by popping in every once in awhile as I have you on my Sidebar Blog List. Hope all is looking up around your cottage and that Scout is recovering. Happy Holidays!!!

    • Claudia says

      Happy Holidays to you, too, Sue. So nice to have you come for a visit! I’m thinking grid right now because this is queen-sized and it’s going to take a while. But, who knows?

  4. says

    What a great winter project, I have all the material ready for a king size quilt. I have never hand quilted only machine quilted. No sure if I would have the patience to do a large piece. I do have 2 baby quilts on my list of thing to do, maybe I should hand quilt those for starters. I agree tying a quilt just seems like you put all that work into it and do a quick tie method doesn’t seem right, also doesn’t look very good. Can’t wait to see it all come together.

    • Claudia says

      A king sized quilt would be a bear to hand quilt. This queen sized quilt is going to be tough in itself, Dawn.

  5. Nola says

    Your quilt top is beautiful! Hand quilting it is the way to go; it will be a work of art! And handmade quilts are wonderland to sleep under; maybe it’s all the love that went into each stitch! My quilts are what I’d grab if my house was on fire (after Chili and the cars, of course). Can’t wait to see the finished project! Happy quilting.

    • Claudia says

      No, but that’s why I like it – it looks vintage. There are a variety of fabrics here and many of them are designed by Kaffe Fasset (sp?) who designs lovely old-fashioned prints.

      • Nola says

        Thanks for the info, I’ll look her up and check out her fabrics. I love old flour sack prints! Happy quilting

  6. says

    Good Afternoon Claudia, What a pretty quilt and certainly one worthy of hand stitching. I love making quilts and I enjoy the whole process, but especially the quilting. I get lost in time when I am quilting and I have been known to set a timer if I have to do something, because the “something” would not get done if I didn’t set the timer. I look forward to seeing the end result. Best Wishes Daphne

    • Claudia says

      Thank you, Daphne. Don is going to be gone for a couple of months doing a play and I’ll have time to fill in the evenings. This seems like the perfect time to tackle the quilt.

  7. says

    You go girl! I admire people who have the patience to create the old fashioned way. I have never been much of a sewer and haven’t progressed past patchwork. So I gotta say, I look up to you!

  8. Donnamae says

    Great project for the winter months. I assume you will show us the finished product. Fun and interesting fabric…is there a story, or favorite dress, perhaps, that some of the fabric has to tell? 😉

    • Claudia says

      Much of the fabric is from Kaffe Fasset’s line from about 3 years ago. I loved the old-fashioned designs that seem especially British to me. Some of it, the aqua print and a few others, were from my own scraps.

  9. says

    You are going to have a wonderful winter stitching this beauty Claudia…and then next year you will have a great winter laying beneath it!
    sending hugs…

  10. says

    I love quilts and have several that my Mom has made. Very few are hand quilted. I must admit that hand quilting make its very special!! I love the fabrics in the pieced top and can’t wait to see how it turns out. A wonderful winter project for sure!

    hugs, Linda

    • Claudia says

      You should take a class, Maureen. That’s what I did. Way back when we lived in San Diego, Don gave me the gift of a class at our local shop and some of the necessary tools to start quilting. It really helped.

  11. says

    That quilt top looks very pretty! I would love to make a blanket but reading through this post made me realize I have no idea how or where to start. Good luck!

    • Claudia says

      Just google “how to quilt” or “how to piece quilts” and you’ll get a wealth of information, Runt.

  12. says

    Looks like you’ve been busy!Your quilt top looks adorable.
    I definitely need a Winter Project too, and a quilt would be stunning! Even if all of my tools and supplies are in storage now… but if I want it, I know I could do one even with what I have on hand! Thanks for the inspiration, Claudia!
    Monica xoxo

  13. says

    That is going to be beautiful hand-quilted, Claudia. The last one I hand quilted many, many years ago I ended up using an old flannel blanket for my “filler”. It quilted beautifully and I loved the heft to it. Blessings- xo Diana

  14. says

    There’s nothing like a hand stitched quilt. You’ve made a beautiful top and I’m sure it will be wonderful when it’s all finished. I’ve only hand quilted a few, and have yet to send one out to be machine quilted-but I don’t crank out tops either. It will be a cozy project to work on in the winter.

  15. says

    Your quilt is going to be beautiful and I can’t think of a cozier winter project! I know nothing about quilting but I do envy your skills!


  16. says

    I agree with you, Claudia, it’s the handstitching that makes a quilt special for me. I enjoy the process, even if it takes sooo much longer. What pretty colors you chose.

  17. Emily says

    Claudia, what a beautiful scrappy hexigon quilt top! I know the hand quilting will be beautiful. Look forward to seeing this quilt when you finish.
    Take care,

  18. says

    That is an absolutely gorgeous quilt top! The colors you used are just luscious! I so look forward to seeing your stitching on it.. I agree that hand stitched is the ultimate in a quilt. I have 2 quilts with wonderful stitching that are like gold to me. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  19. says

    The colors and patterns in that quilt top are just gorgeous! I’m glad you’re taking on the project of hand-stitching it. There’s no comparison with a machine-stitched quilt. I don’t do any kind of needle work, but my mom does – plus she collects hand-stitched quilts, so I’m familiar with the beautiful work that goes into these.

  20. says

    Oh my gosh, I loooove this quilt!! It’s gorgeous. I am just now cutting out a snowball quilt but mine is completely different in style. I can’t wait to see how yours comes out! Beautiful!


  21. says

    Hi Claudia,
    When I saw your quilt I had tears in my eyes. It’s because it looks so much like the ones that my Mother used to make. I just have a few left and one that has been so well loved is now falling apart. There is nothing prettier and more special than a quilt made by hand. The colors and fabrics you are using are so pretty.


    • Claudia says

      Thank you, Sissie. Your mother’s quilts must have been beautiful. I’m so glad you have some left to enjoy and that bring back happy memories of your mom.

  22. says

    Oh Claudia – Your quilt top is gorgeous!! I can’t wait until you get it all hand quilted. It will be beautiful. I agree, after all of that work, the hand quilting will make it so special. There’s no comparison between machine and hand quilting. I admire your ambition!!


    PS Since you dont’ have any children, I could be put on the heirloom to be inherited list!!

  23. says

    Lo and behold your winter quilt is a hexagon! :) I have a sampler quilt that I DO want to tie…just because I want to finish sampler blocks that I’d started a long time ago, and because as a couch quilt…with 2 dogs and a cat…it’s going to need washed often. ANYWAY I’d just started some hexies the other day for a new block and screwed up the first small batch …because that is how I learn, by screwing up :)

    • Claudia says

      Officially the ‘Snowball’ pattern – I totally understand tying a quilt if its going to be a couch quilt.

  24. Patti says

    I love the colors and the pattern Claudia. I used to make quilts for years and years. I never thought I would lose interest but I did about 5 years ago. I mean I was obsessed with anything to do with quilting. I was a fabricaholic or whatever you would call someone that got excited looking at fabric. I had a whole room devoted to making quilts.. I used to quilt by hand mostly but have done machine too. I think it got to be too over whelming and it wasn’t as portable as I find crocheting or knitting. Now I get excited at looking at colors of yarn. It’s nice you have a winter project at the ready! Good luck with your quilt!~Hugs, Patti

    • Claudia says

      I am sort of the same, Patti. I was totally obsessed by quiltmaking for many years and then I got into knitting and crocheting. I don’t have a lot of space to spread materials out in – that makes a difference. This is the most recent quilt top I have made and that was 3 years ago. I want to start another one, but I can’t seem to get motivated!

  25. says

    How lovely! I hope you make time to complete this by a warm fire this winter.

    I’m at the stage where I ask and even pay others to do fine needle work and quilting for me. My eyes don’t cope with it as they used to. I stick to very basic knitting. I had a quilt of The Lorax made up for my little grandson this year. It was fun selecting the quilting design together – and the finished product was a great success.

    • Claudia says

      I know I will reach that point, too, someday. It’s hard on the eyes and I already have experienced a strain on my eyes that I never had before. This may be my last hurrah!

  26. says

    That’s so beautiful, Claudia! I agree that sewing it by hand will be time-consuming but also wonderfully satisfying and personally yours. And what a perfect winter project. (I love holding large pieces of handwork on my lap when it’s cold!) Perhaps you could find a pretty flat sheet for backing it… a finished sheet means there’s a little less finishing work than buying yardage at a fabric store. I once picked up a large bag of hand-sewn quilt squares at a yard sale, very simply made. It made me sad to wonder why it was never finished. I’m hoping I might put it together one day. We have only two family quilts in my family, both of them crib-sized and relatively ‘new': one is from pieces of my maternity clothes, and the other is from pieces of my mother’s maternity clothes.

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