Birthdays Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Kitty Kitty Quilting

Pink Sherbet {handmade for Kitty}


Way way way back when, in the far off time before the children I used to drag H to the International Quilt Show each year. Well he might say drag, he’s as much of a magpie for colour and pattern as I am so I’m pretty sure he came happily and willingly even if he’d never admit it.

And when we’d had our fill of the exhibition quilts we’d turn our attention to the very important task of perusing the mile upon mile of gorgeous fabrics and trimmings and patterns and ideas and enough lovely things to fill my house twice over and three times on Sundays. We were sort of restrained though, at least I’d try to be restrained, and then H would find something he rather liked and add that to the pile, and then we’d both see something that just had to come home and, ah well, it was in the days when our bank balance could quite happily survive a degree of frivolity and I always tried not to bring home more than I could realistically make before the next year’s show.

I never did quite manage that though, and there are still things sitting in the cupboard from the very first year we went, just waiting for the perfect moment.

But one of them is in the cupboard no more. It started life as a Bali Pop of Hoffman Batik fabrics called Sherbet Dip and despite being buried in the stash for mumble-mumble years it pretty much fell at me when I went looking for a little fabric panacea earlier this year.

I was having cravings to make a quilt (that’s totally normal isn’t it?), something easy, something without too much cutting, something that I wouldn’t have to think about too much, something in short that would give me all the bliss and relaxation from the sewing, without once wanting to hurl it at the wall; not that I’d ever do that of course!

I think as soon as it landed in my lap I knew what I wanted it to be, and I knew that it was going to be for Kitty.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

There are recipes for lasagne quilts all over the Internet, but the basic premise is the same;

  • take a jellyroll, put five strips to one side for the binding and join the rest end to end, setting the ends at 90° to each other and sewing diagonally across the corner;
  • Cut 18 inches off one of the ends of your very long strip and add it to your pile of binding strips;
  • fold the very long strip end to end right sides together and sew what feels like the world’s longest ever 1/4″ seam down one side.
  • Carefully cut along the fabric fold at the bottom.
  • Repeat the last two steps until it looks quilt shaped, then quilt and bind as normal.

Perfect for thinking-free quilting. And perfect for Kitty, and not just because the predominant colours are pink and purple, though I knew that was always going to help my cause.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

The first quilt I made for Kitty was her handmade present for her second ever Christmas. At fifteen months it was the perfect size for wrapping up in and snuggling down, but she’s just not that diminutive any more and while it still covers her nicely (it’s throw size on an adult) I wanted her to have something that was really deeply snuggly and cozy, but not too big that she couldn’t drag it around after her or escape from underneath it.

And so a birthday quilt plan was hatched. The mindless sewing did its trick in restoring whatever good mood was missing in the early summer and as soon as Pip’s blanket was finished I made full use of the remaining pre-Pip days to find backing and quilt and bind it.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

The backing is actually the result of another bit of diving, only this time into my chest of drawers rather than the fabric stash. I had another length of beautiful fabric planned but when it came to the crunch the colours just didn’t quite work and both front and back we’re far too nice to be paired up as a nearly-but-not-quite so I had a rethink. This is a length of fabric that I used to wear as a sarong in the 90’s (if you were only in primary school in the 90’s trust me – batik and sarongs were really cool), but it’s essentially a big rectangle, perfect for a quilt back.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Well almost perfect, it was just a smidge too narrow so I added a little strip of a brilliant turquoise green batik print leftover from some plan or other just to brighten things up. It’s not the most orthodox backing but as I’m unlikely to wear it as a skirt again, and it can only be nostalgia and psychic abilities that had me keep it this long, I’m glad to see it in use, and there’s something rather lovely about handing down to my daughter a fabric imbued with so many happy memories for me.

The wadding is actually the only thing that I needed to buy, it’s Quilter’s Dream in the Request weight which is probably my favourite wadding; it’s warm and cozy but light too and makes for lovely ripply quilts that you can really tuck up around you.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

One of these days I might branch out and try something a little more adventurous than straight lines or my handful of variations on simple stippling but that day is not when you’re nine months pregnant and aren’t too sure how long you’ve got left to finish a quilt so loop-de-loop it is in a gorgeous pink yellow and red variegated thread (YLI thread in Mango).

And for the finishing touch I left off my usual name tape labels and went for something a little special

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

(The weird smudgy bit in the middle is where her real name is).

And the verdict?

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

I’m always a little bit nervous about the reception a handmade present will get; I might know how much work, effort, thought, love, time and pin pricks has gone into it, but Kitty’s four and there’s no guarantees about anything when you’re four.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

But perhaps all this early exposure to handmade has paid off, or it is the all conquering power of pink and purple. She snuggled up in it to look at her new books on her birthday afternoon, she curled up under it to watch a film and it now has pride of place on her bed. In short, it’s a hit.

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  • Camille 27/09/2014 at 10:01 am

    Aww, what a beautiful gift that I’m sure she will always treasure. 🙂

    • Carie 27/09/2014 at 10:39 pm

      thank you 🙂 – I hope so!

  • Mandycharlie 27/09/2014 at 10:50 am

    So pretty and quite an undertaking considering the ‘condition’ you were in. And I love the use of your batik sarong, it made me smile, I still have mine nestling in the wardrobe. I am sure Kitty will love this forever.

    • Carie 27/09/2014 at 10:39 pm

      It’s definitely a good thing I’ve got long arms put it that way!!

  • Lorna McMahon 27/09/2014 at 2:36 pm

    Those bright and fun fabrics have provided you with such a gorgeous finish! Your Kitty looks so happy to receive her new quilt. Love that loopy quilting! Nice work!

    • Carie 27/09/2014 at 10:40 pm

      thank you very much 🙂

  • sally 27/09/2014 at 8:34 pm

    Gorgeous quilt, those batiks are lovely and your sarong looked the perfect backing. I’m very envious of you having an other half who is prepared, never mind possibly happy, to be dragged along to a quilt show, and who’ll be interested in fabric purchases! Wow, definitely a keeper! And your stipply loopy quilting looked amazing, mine is never that smooth and even. So glad Kitty appreciated it.

    • Carie 28/09/2014 at 5:19 am

      I think I told him that it was essentially just an art exhibition made from textiles! But you’re right, he’s definitely a keeper! And thank you for the compliment to the quilting, I’ve still not really got the hang of getting the back as nice as the front but there is something rather satisfying to free motion quilting!

  • Donna 27/09/2014 at 10:00 pm

    I totally envy the craftiness that you create – your projects are beautiful x

    • Carie 28/09/2014 at 5:20 am

      Aww thank you 🙂

  • Peggyinno 27/09/2014 at 10:19 pm

    What a precious picture of Kitty seeing her beautiful quilt for the first time! Both are beautiful!

    • Carie 28/09/2014 at 5:21 am

      Thank you very much 🙂

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 27/09/2014 at 10:23 pm

    Oh Carie… It’s stunning!! I’m in awe…! You must teach me how to do it!!!

    • Carie 28/09/2014 at 5:25 am

      It’s actually incredibly easy, you just need a jelly roll and a couple of hours (seriously, people make these as a race and look to finish the quilt top in about half an hour!)

  • Gemini Jen NZ 28/09/2014 at 2:34 am

    Very nicely done- batiks are always so interesting to look at and colourful. It’s great to be able to use up stash fabrics – I recently went through my stash and made a list of possible projects that should see me right for about the next five years! (Though I can never walk past the craft shop’s sale shelf without a little look for more…)

    • Carie 28/09/2014 at 5:28 am

      At the speed I sew at the moment I could probably do the same for quilts alone nevermind what the list would look like when I’d added clothes for the girls and all the knitting projects – on second thoughts it’s probably better not to admit to that, or even think about it – I’d never be allowed in a wool shop again!

  • TheBoyandMe 28/09/2014 at 8:49 pm

    THis is so completely beautiful, if I was your daughter then I would be thrilled to beans with it. I’ve not quilted or patchworked since I was a teen, but I’m going for it for my son for Christmas time. I might call for your help, are you on twitter?

    • Carie 29/09/2014 at 10:37 am

      Yes, I’m @cariemaymakes although I’m no expert, but I’ll try my best if you need any help 🙂

  • Lucy Blossom 29/09/2014 at 9:44 am

    It’s beautiful, and she’s clearly delighted with it.

    • Carie 29/09/2014 at 10:37 am

      Thank you 🙂

  • Taryn (forkandneedle) 29/09/2014 at 10:18 am

    Lovely quilt – and thanks for the explanation. I must make one of these some day too! 🙂

    • Carie 29/09/2014 at 10:52 am

      They’re very addictive and a great way to play with Jelly Rolls!

  • Louisa 29/09/2014 at 3:10 pm

    Wow.It is absolutely stunning. Do you do the stippling free hand? I have a similar stitch on my machine but it comes out quite small and I’m scared to go freehand #handmademonday

    • Carie 29/09/2014 at 3:39 pm

      Yes it’s all freehand with my free motion quilting foot. The size of the stitches depend on how fast you move the fabric so sometimes mine are tiny, especially around corners. It’s just a straight stitch with the feed dogs down on my machine. Try it out on a little practice piece and you’ll soon get the hang of it!

  • Lilly's Mom 29/09/2014 at 4:21 pm

    It’s a beautiful quilt and I’m sure she will cherish it for years to come. I enjoyed reading the tutorial about how you made this quilt (I don’t quilt so it was fun learning how to do this). I hope your week is off to a wonderful start 🙂

    • Carie 29/09/2014 at 9:00 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I really hope so!

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