Afternoon-Morning Quilt

comments: 112



















On Tuesday afternoon I felt the stirrings of a fit of restlessness. Usually when this happens it means that I'm on the verge of a creative tantrum. Thus it was that I found myself going to JoAnn Fabrics at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Also known as almost rush hour. Andy was home with napping Mimi, texting me to "take your time out there, honey." Ha! I scanned the quilting cottons as I approached, like an alpine skier at Rosa Khutor before the Super-G. [Horn blows!] I hit the aisles: Into my cart they flew, bolt after bolt, peach, pink, navy, olive, coral, lilac, pale mustard, cream. Groovy flowers, tiny flowers, gingham, whales. Elephants! A couple of solids, a couple of Little House on the Prairies. A couple of really?!?s. Eighth yards of most, quarters of a couple. Home by dinner, done, and done!

Apparently now my only shopping speed is lightning fast. This from the formerly slowest person on earth. Who used to be able to saunter the aisles at Goodwill for hours straight looking for the right tea pot without getting even slightly bored. No more, people. The next morning (Andy's day off) I was at the sewing machine by eight, drinking a smoothie so I wouldn't have to sit down to breakfast.

Oh, silly, silly lady. :)

I decided not to rotary cut anything — I literally took the 1/8-yard-cut-at-the-store strips, cut a couple of them into chunks (with scissors), cut one lengthwise into two skinny strips (eyeballed that), and then just started sewing strips together randomly. If you look at the photos you can kind of see how I did it. Sometimes I'd take a piece of a few sewn-together strips and cut off a few inches of it and sew it to another strip. When I had a few pieces I hung them all up on the sliding-glass door to see what I had. I didn't measure anything; I just kept sewing pieces together and trimming them a bit, or adding strips to get "blocks" that would match in length along one edge. Eventually I could kind of see how I could fit pieces together to make a big rectangle that would fill most of the door. And then I was done with the top by lunchtime.

Aw, it was so much fun. You have these ideas and not a lot of time, so you don't overthink it. And that can be really  liberating. If you're intimidated by the idea of making a quilt you should try one this way! My quilts are always simple and done pretty randomly, without patterns. I've never been one to belabor my fabric choices, for sure. I've always been a pretty intuitive and impulsive color picker. And I've never had the stamina (or the room) to lay a quilt out beforehand to see if everything is going to balance or match (except maybe for the Spring Rain quilt that I made a couple of years ago from that pattern I did on the computer; if you click on the links in that post's text you can see how that came together). That said, I don't know that I've ever made a quilt that I didn't look at immediately after finishing and wish I had done something different, added something, not added something. But before I can worry too much, the poor thing is put into service. Our quilts are so hardworking here. They've been sat on and under thousands of times and washed dozens. They've covered babies and cushioned dogs and been picked on by cats. They've been in the trunk of the car, on the front lawn, and at the beach. They've had formula spilled on them, tears cried on them, diapers changed on them, and feet running across them. We love our quilts but we do not coddle them; they earn their keep, like draft horses.

Now for the backing. And the binding. And the quilting. I want this to feel like a flowery, groovy, puff. Maybe two layers of batting. And some hand quilting, with big running stitches.Worked on my lap at the end of the night, when the house is warm and quiet.


Totally unfair!!!! Read and re-read, I neeeed to know about the GARLAND! The hearts? The scalloped spheres? We don't all sew...just say'in.

You are a marvel! I love way you do things. I aspire to the way you zip-zap get it done! It is very much the way I like to do things, but better. My first quilting class at the local art center was called "Quick and Dirty Quilting" and that's the way I have done it ever since.

Love the rain and the umbrella and the garland and the beautiful baby as always.

I love this technique. My favorite quilts have been made this way. sometimes I get really fancy and through in a 9 patch! now tell us how you made that sweet bunting! Please!

I love the way you do your quilts and every time I see you post a picture of them all I can say is that is so pretty. As someone who is trying to get into quilting your way looks so much less stressful and more fun then cutting hundreds of little squares out.

Thank you for the continued inspiration.

Someone has had some fun over there! Very,very nice!

Bonnie Schulte says: February 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Everything you do is amazing and fun to see. If I was making the quilt, it would take me months to finish. I say this, because I made "one" in my lifetime, and that's about how long it took to finish it. But at least, we are still using it,some 25 years later...LOVE your blog so much...and the photos of Amelia..Thanks so much for sharing with us..

Lovely fabrics, great colours. Can't wait to see the finished quilt, all puffy and soft. I've been in a quilting frenzy forever - or so it seems. Just can't stop! Some we keep, some will make it to my market stalls when they start up again in a couple of weeks' time. Off to new homes all over the world, to hopefully earn their keep. I so agree that they should be used and loved. We even have an old one that I made about 20 years ago in the boot of the car for the dogs! I drag it out and wash it when it gets too muddy. They certainly do last!

So nice not to get bogged down in a big project (or 3 or 4). The big stitch needle work will give it a 'slow food' touch which makes all the difference in quilts. Lovely.

I also love this garland. It's us happy. And those fabric choice... Lovely and energic. Can't wait to heat about how you finished it. Ps I love your blog. It was the first one I ever read years ago. :)

I completely understand the shopping in a hurry. I dont like to take long with the shopping since having children either. Your colour choices always amaze me... There are always ones that I think to myself "Really? Is she serious?!", but then you pull them together in a way that just makes them sing! It gorgeous. And I love your
new garland too. In colours echoing the quilt no less. I just bought myself the scalloped circle punch, I had some ideas already, but you just gave me a few more. :) I'm so glad you had the stirrings of creativity pounce on you. Mimi is just so sweet. Thanks for including some shots of her today - they made me smile.
Sheree x0x

So lovely with all the colours!

I love your work. You are an artist. Thank you for sharing. You inspire me :)

Brilliant. I'm adopting your fabric buying approach the next time I quilt shop. I've left fabric depot in tears numerous times from overthinking.

That's so beautiful! And your pictures are gorgeous, too.

Alex Hopkins says: February 23, 2014 at 08:08 AM

You totally teased us with the garland! I would love to make one for my daughter's birthday! Is there a tutorial? Is it felt or paper? Did you punch those lovely shapes?! Details pretty pretty please!!

I absolutely love how you combine little floral prints with checks and your color palette!! Love both of your quilts!! Amelia is soooo adorable!! I always enjoy your posts as your home is just so cozy!!

I can't tell you how much I love this blog. Your girl is growing up so fast. I share this every day with our 10 year old girl and she enjoys it too! Everything about this is beautiful, I love the quilt!

Where did you find that white oval frame for the silhouette of your daughter? I love oval frames, but they're kinda hard to find! THANKS!

I've now (post-parenthood) made a few quilts that I call Passive Aggressive quilts. No cutting, just nip and tear.

They've come out quite well and it certainly makes me feel better!

I can't wait to see yours all finished, it looks like stained glass against the door.

i think this quilt marks a big change in your eye, aesthetic and -- courage of address? is that a word? this is way more spontaneous and bolder and with a larger range of color and design motion that your previous quilts (all of which i adore, btw). this one is a Big Surprise. i'd call it Mimi. <3

by the way, i have sent you an email with a design request for a new wardrobe for maggie rabbit. i want to make a grunge bunny for a grownup friend, with a little flannel shirt.....skinny jeans.....and a rasta cap. still very portlandia. but a surprise. ;-)

Lovely quilt. I get hung up on color choices, you are in inspiration. I too love how your quilts are USED, and we see them in your postings (along with the lovely knit and sewn items). Ready for spring, how about you?

Dear Alicia I just wanted to say 'thank you' for the peaceful calm haven your blog is. I love visiting and just enjoying the Joy. Thank you

Oh, you make me want to make another quilt. Lovely! Thank you for the most perfect photos and words.

I have those weirdly unsettling pre-creative streak periods as well. I hate them. I am peevish and restless and bored until I settle on something to do. In fact, I am like that right now, but on vacation with nothing to work on.

BRAVO! Yours are entirely intuitive quilts and I am a huge fan! I've come to love larger stitches with bright embroidery floss as well. Liberated. That's what we are!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at