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.


Y'know every time you post pics of yet another gorgeous quilt I say to myself "I must have a go" but I never do. I am one of those people that are 'too intimidated' but I guess I have no excuses now! It really does sound manageable, the way you describe it. I'm good at eyeballing, not so good at fussy measuring;-) I love that your quilts are used to the max, the way it should be, (though I guess that's easy for me to say given I've never made one).

I think somehow your Jo-Anns has much better fabric then mine. lovely work!

I love your quilt method! I've only made one so far and it's kinda crooked but it is very loved. I just don't have the mind for fussy exact quilting and in fact, I like the more homey, comfy kind over the prize winners anyway. Ha, my relaxing break from the kids is strolling leisurely thru the thrift stores and fabric store.

Gorgeous quilt. And Amelia is just adorable.

That face! Those fabrics! Rainy leaves! Love, love, love.

I completely agree with Yvette (prior post).
Is it cardstock?
4 layers?
Heavy-duty thread?
I love the different shapes you put together.
Terrific project!

Ok! Loved this post and have never made/finished an actual quilt before... But you inspired me! I made a tribute quilt (it is humble to be sure) but it's over here if you care to look:)

Thanks as always for the inspiration.

mama efficiency! brilliant! and now totally inspired too. love the garlands, such a pretty pretty wall. and little mimi darling, cuter every day!

This post brings me so much inspiration! did you make that garland? Do tell :)

Laura from beautiful West Michigan says: February 26, 2014 at 08:27 AM

Oh, it looks like a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window! So beautiful! Never overthink anything again, because this one is great!

Okay we must discuss Amelia's gingham shirt-- did you make it? What gingham did you use? What pattern did you use? I am positively swooning. My mom made me a black and white gingham dress when I was a little girl and I still have it. I would love to make a little shirt like this for my baby Stella.

And by the way the quilt is gorgeous!

Can you tell me about the string lights in Amelia's room? I love the soft white light they give off? Thank you!

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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