Birthdays Elma Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Elma Quilting

Il Etait Une Fois {handmade for Elma}


Yesterday morning a newly two-year old Elma sat on the sofa under the shadow of a giant balloon that’s bigger than she is; the rest of the family gathered around her to watch as she tackled the little mountain of cards and presents that awaited.  And on top of the pile was a big flat squishy square in princess wrapping paper.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Elma pulled, and tore the paper, and tugged at her present and finally it was free and spread out across her knees;

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

“It my new duvet!” said a very happy little voice.

Yes, I finished Elma’s quilt – and even with some time to spare. Most uncharacteristic. And here it is in all its glory:

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Il Était Une Fois ; a little mixture of  Les Manoues and Part à la Mer .

In the end I opted to cut the blocks down to the size of the embroideries rather than try to add borders and happily I had enough fabric to cut a few extra squares to make it a 6×6 block quilt of 8″ squares (finished size).

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that there are two very different but equally lovely types of quilts; the ones with detailed intricate piecing, where the fabric is lovely, possibly even stunning, but the real appeal is the geometry in the block, and the second sort where the piecing is incredibly simple, but which showcase the fabric to it’s very best.  This is one of the latter.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

In patchwork terms it is really easy, and certainly once I’d finished my embroideries, cut the filler blocks, squared up the other printed blocks and spent a good half hour laying it all out on the lounge floor and balancing precariously on the footstool to get a different perspective, it came together very quickly.

The quilting too is pretty basic; I used my walking foot to quilt some nice straight lines 1/4″ either side of the seams in the same variegated thread that I used for Kitty’s quilts (YLI in Mango, a red/pink/yellow combination).

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

But I think when you’re using picture blocks that’s all you really need, it’s all about the story that the pictures tell, stories of the beach, a lighthouse, a little girl knitting (I can never resist that one) or picking apples and baking them into a pie.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It’s also achievable quilting.  I’m mostly a process creator in the things I make, but I really do like the end product too; I like to see things finished and being worn or snuggled under around the house.

I’m under no illusions about how much crafty time I get at the moment, or that that’s not likely to change over the next few years.  Unlike knitting, I can’t really pick up a quilt, sew two stitches and put it down again, or at least only sometimes, like when I’m sewing down the binding so while I might gaze in adoring wonder at the really intricate designs, I know that right now I need to keep it uncomplicated.  The fussy cutting teeny tiny pieces sorts of patterns will still be there in years to come.

But most importantly, Elma likes it.  She snuggled up under it to finish opening her presents, and later when she and Kitty were curled up with their teddies just before bedtime I found them both tucked in nicely.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And when this tiny little two year old of mine is all big and grown I love that she’ll never be too big to curl up under a quilt that says it was made for her second birthday.




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  • Caroline 13/12/2014 at 9:43 am

    I’m a bit over emotional just now but I teared up at the label you embroidered. Lovely:)

    • Carie 14/12/2014 at 12:37 am

      Aww sorry! Well I did an embroidered label for Kitty’s birthday quilt so I had to do the same for Elma – and there is a part of me that knows they will look back on it when they’re all grown up and then the label will be the most precious thing about it.

  • dean of Little Steps 13/12/2014 at 10:18 am

    Oh my goodness, it’s so beautiful! Your daughter is so lucky to have such a talented mum. I wish I could quilt too and make something as beautiful as this one. Really, really impressed 🙂 Happy Birthday to your little girl 🙂 x

    • Carie 14/12/2014 at 12:35 am

      Thank you – you’re very sweet!

  • M-R @ Quilt Matters 13/12/2014 at 3:19 pm

    So adorable! I love it. Simple and classic — absolutely wonderful! Thanks for linking up to TGIFF!

    • Carie 14/12/2014 at 12:35 am

      thank you 🙂

  • Lilly's Mom 13/12/2014 at 4:57 pm

    It’s a lovely quilt and such perfect finishing. I’m sure little Emma will cherish this for many years to come.

    • Carie 14/12/2014 at 12:34 am

      thank you, I really hope she will!

  • Carlin 13/12/2014 at 8:10 pm

    It’s beautiful! I prefer these types of quilts ~ showcasing the fabric in a simple design. Very sweet label.

    • Carie 14/12/2014 at 12:34 am

      thank you – I like them too, though there are still some complex designs that you just gasp when you see them to wonder how someone put them together! (a double bed sized quilt made up of fingernail sized hexagons that I saw at the quilt show a few years ago comes to mind..!)

  • Vickie 13/12/2014 at 9:16 pm

    So so beautiful! How ever you found the time to make this I’ll never know. You must’ve mastered sleep-sewing! 🙂

    • Carie 14/12/2014 at 12:33 am

      I think it is fairly obvious by now that I don’t sleep enough!!

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 13/12/2014 at 9:20 pm

    Carie… This is utterly stunning. I am SO envious of Elma!! One day, I would like to spend a day with you so you can teach me how please!!!

    • Carie 14/12/2014 at 12:32 am

      You’re on! Also it is really easy – just cut up fabric and sew it back together again, there’s really no more to it than that!

  • Bex @ The Mummy Adventure 13/12/2014 at 11:17 pm

    Oh Carie, this is stunning! What lucky little girls you have. There is so much love in it, and it looks just gorgeous!

    • Carie 14/12/2014 at 12:32 am

      thank you – it’s definitely a cozy little quilt and already seen lots of use!

  • preeta samarasan 14/12/2014 at 4:30 pm

    Happy belated birthday to your lovely little girl!

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:24 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • sustainablemum 15/12/2014 at 7:54 am

    It’s beautiful, I love the fabrics you have chosen they are perfect and timeless. I hope it is treasured and loved for many years to come.

  • Emma 15/12/2014 at 8:03 pm

    Awwww! Elma’s quilt brought a tear to my eye! x

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 9:56 pm

      Thank you – I’ll admit I get a little sappy thinking about her having it when she’s all grown up!

  • sally 15/12/2014 at 11:25 pm

    It looks beautiful, those fabrics are gorgeous and they seem extra perfect for a birthday near Christmas with that lovely red and white theme going on, even though the images are also perfect for all year round.

    • Carie 19/12/2014 at 11:57 pm

      It’s definitely made for a December birthday isn’t it – and I do love the simplicity of red and white together 🙂

  • Jan 20/12/2014 at 9:51 pm

    What a truly beautiful quilt, I love everything about it. It’s a great heirloom piece 🙂

    • Carie 22/12/2014 at 8:41 pm

      thank you very much – she certainly loves it right now, I’ll have to hope it’s treasured in the future 🙂