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.


The power of the, "take your time" text can take years off your life, even though it sounds like you didnt need it! Awesome :)

I love your quilts. They look like home to me. A cozy, cozy home. One day I will make one, too.

Lovely work. I'm still missing those bits of the triple Irish Chain. I will never forget. :)

Oh my, the first photo of Amelia is darling! I love your umbrella, and the garland, and the quilt is looking beautiful!

That quilt is beautiful, thanks for sharing your process, I picked up some quarters last weekend and want to do something similar, so thanks for the inspiration!

So, so beautiful--your quilt and the darling Amelia! I should really use your quilting technique to start quilting and using those pieces that are sitting just waiting to be used in a project, any project. The only time that I tend not to go into hyper-mom speed is when I find time to go to the local fabric shop. That's when I become distracted and overwhelm after looking and looking and looking...all of sudden I realize the time and grab up some fabric I like but don't actually go together.

Your Jo-Anns will cut eighth yards?
Lucky you!

I love the way you combine colors and prints.

Wonderful. I love the colours and patterns, fantastic. I know what you mean at only having one speed - fast. Much the same here too. But how lovely to have a man who tells you to take your time at the fabric shop.

beautiful quilt! and very funky garlands!
i sometimes make some easy quilts too...

KnittingKittens says: February 22, 2014 at 01:46 AM

I love the randomness of your quilt- very impressive! Sometimes we need to let go of all the step by steps and just rush in. Thanks for a terrific post Alicia!

Gorgeous!!! Those soft colors, those blooming flowers, that delicious baby!

I, too, am usually 95% action and 5% planning----while hubby ALWAYS seems to be 95% planning and 5% action....I guess that's a mom (grandma now---lots of experience!!!) for you!!! LOVE the quilt and it's free-flow. No amount of planning could have made that any more perfect.

Lisa Viviano says: February 22, 2014 at 06:03 AM


I love all your quilts! And how you can just mix & match what you love and have it turn out so pretty. I may just have to make a run to Jo-Ann Fabrics today! :) The third picture down from the umbrella is beautiful. Is that a piece of fabric you bought at Jo-Ann?

I love the fact that you are not a slave to the oft required Moda- or Lecien-type fabric that is beautiful but SO expensive. We are all inhibited by too many of the current trends. Your quilt, your choice of fabric and method, is so freeing!

Oh, how lovely! And I totally understand what you mean! When I started a course recently, I just grabbed a little pile of fabrics I made some time ago plus some fabrics I thought would go with those, all from my stash. Having a small child really teaches how to prioritize your time ... ;-) :-)

Good for you! I joined a quilt guild recently to push myself to try more pieced things, but mostly I'm a throw-it-together sewer and I kind of miss it lately.

Now, about that garland....did you run the pieces through a sewing machine and just pull the thread through until you wanted to add another piece??

You know, I've only made a couple of quilts like that. Mostly, I've pieced tiny things into patterns which have taken forever. But, our quilts work hard, too. And it breaks my heart to see them fade and get ripped because of how many times I wash them (dogs, incontinent dog, etc...) We are desperately in need of three quilts that I've been putting off because of the work involved. But, this gives me pause -- I'm going to try it like this!!!

And, I love your new banner!!!!

I will quilt now, I will quilt now, I will quilt now-- even wile chasing babies. And YES, Yvette is right. Tell us, tell us about the garland. Please. :)

Anna Gerard says: February 22, 2014 at 07:38 AM

I so enjoyed reading this post. It made me laugh. My husband will do the exact same thing while he's watching our twin toddler boys. "Take your time, sweetheart."...but i know? And i am usually going to joann's that is close. Driving takes time, must go somewhere close. Lovely quilt top. I so want to go pull lots of volts and just do it!

Anna Gerard says: February 22, 2014 at 07:40 AM

Bolts...volts would hurt.

Thanks for the inspiration to use whatever fabrics appeal to your own eye and not worry about too much planning and patterns and just enjoy the process. I love your creativity and your ability to capture the beautiful in life.

Love it! Tell us about the garland too!

oh... two layers of batting and hand quilting... sounds like heaven, and those little banners are too cute!! i need to learn to pick fabrics like you... i am the slowest... i contemplate for forever... finally choose... and then start second guessing myself... oy!

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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