Monday, February 13, 2012

MaMotts' 90th Birthday Quilt

Hello, friends. It's been awhile. I was feverishly sewing and quilting last week to get my grandmother's quilt done in time for her surprise party on Saturday and, to my delight, I finished it at about 1:30am on Saturday morning. I wasn't going to have to work until the last minute before leaving for the party! I was pretty excited that I got to take my time on the morning of the party taking pictures and washing the quilt.

Hour Glass Quilt Front

I started this quilt shortly after Christmas. It is the Planetarium pattern from The Practical Guide to Patchwork. I used Elizabeth's instructions for making hour glass blocks for the first few and then I realized it would take me years to complete all 144 of them. I found a much faster method on Red Pepper Quilts and used it to make the rest of the hour glasses. The pattern instructed to make half warm and half cool colored blocks, but I just made a random sampling of hour glasses with a few charm packs of Aviary II in the bark and lilac palettes.

Hour Glass Quilt Back

I was a little disappointed that the quilt top didn't showcase the prints as much as I would have liked, so instead of stacking 16 hour glass blocks going down the center stripe on the back, I instead used squares of the different prints. I really love how the small squares tie the quilt top and back together, as well as the left and right side of the back.


I included one solid square on the back and embroidered a happy birthday message to my grandmother.


This quilt is by far the biggest (68" x 68") and most complex quilt I have yet made. It was a really good learning experience because I now know how long it takes to make a bigger quilt and I learned the importance of squaring off your blocks a few times throughout the process. My quilt top and back are a little wonky, but I don't think you can notice unless you scrutinize it.


I really like the solids that I picked out for the sashing around the larger blocks. I decided on two tones of purple and green after Nick convinced me that using four completely different colors would look a little crazy with all of those different prints. The binding is a light brown with white polka dot print, which I think ties the entire quilt together nicely.


I was a little hesitant about the two orange prints on the back but once the quilting was finished and the binding was on I really loved how it looked.

During the entire process, the thing that I was the most worried about was the quilting. Originally I was going to quilt the white squares that surround the printed blocks, but after struggling a bit, I decided to change plans and just quilt straight lines through the white sashing that extended the entire length of the quilt.


The texture that the quilting created on the back is so awesome. At times I like the back better than the front. Is that weird? I especially love the corners. Admittedly I didn't realize that this would happen when I started doing this and it really worked out in my favor.


Overall I'm pretty pleased with this quilt. My grandmother loved it and was so touched that I put so much work into her birthday present. After all, a 90th birthday only comes around once every 90 years!

My grandmother isn't the only one who loved this quilt though! Our rascal cat Flick decided this quilt was his the moment I started working on it. He was trying to prohibit me from getting this thing in the wash after taking pictures by camping out on it. It didn't work even though he is ridiculously adorable. Don't worry, I washed the quilt after he was finished romping around on it. If he's good I might consider making one for his 90th birthday (in cat years).



  1. What a special birthday gift. This quilt is lovely, Lindsay. I must confess I especially love the back: the tangerine and blue shades are so beautiful and the strip of squares down the middle is just awesome. I bet your grandma is just so pleased with it.

    1. Thanks for reassuring me for liking the back better than the front! I felt a little guilty about it since I put so much work into the front, but the back has such a nice balance that the front doesn't have. At least it's a lesson learned!

  2. Wow, this really turned out lovely! Great job (and congrats on not having to work through the night to finish!)! Yay!

    1. Thanks! I was so happy with myself that I was able to finish it on Friday night. I had to rush through the quilting so it's not as good as I would have liked, but it was definitely worth it to be able to sleep in a little bit on Saturday after staying up late all week sewing!

  3. This is so so so beautiful. I cannot imagine the creativity and patience involved in making such a thing! What an amazing and thoughtful gift.

    1. Thanks, Melizza! I had a few near-breakdowns while making it but it was all worth it in the end. I definitely learned the lesson to never attempt to quilt anything bigger than a baby quilt on my machine ever again. I'm thinking about taking classes to learn how to quilt on a long arm machine.

  4. That last picture, with your cat, is precious! I really like Aviary II, so of course I like the quilt as much as the kitty seems to! Nice job :) I'll be starting my own planetarium soon, so thanks for the tip on the alternative hourglass piecing.


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