Sunday, March 24, 2013

Shabby Cottage Quilt - Sewing Patience & Peace

What is your favorite way to relax? Do you craft, sew, go for a walk with your dog? I enjoy all of those things. These favorite hobbies of mine have saved me many a day when I had too much on my mind or needed a way to focus away from stressful issues--and I am always glad I gave myself that nudge to go to my craft room and do something creative. Hence my foray into quilting. I have always admired a good quilt and marvel at the patterns quilters create and wondered how they sew the fabric blocks, borders and patterns to achieve the beautiful designs in quilts.

Photo by Magrieta's Quilt Shop

I mentioned in my last post that I am learning quilting & am following up with you on the progress of my first quilt. I enrolled in a beginning quilt class at Magrieta's Quilt Shop, a lovely quilt shop here in the historic district of St. Augustine. I want to do this right as I want to learn the tricks and tips from an expert quilter and put those quilting skills to good use in future sewing projects. I couldn't have found a better, more wonderful teacher, Magrieta. From the moment I walked into her shop and settled into my first class, I felt at home. I have a great sense of peace and comfort when I am there and as always, sewing and creating give me that peace. Magrieta is a good and patient teacher. I wish you could meet her and see the quilts she has made. They are beautiful. There are many talented quilters there and it's this amazing, little community in itself.

This is a classmate working on her quilt. The owner of Magrieta's is explaining how to square up the uneven edges of the sewn together strips of fabric. The uneven edges will be trimmed so we don't leave them uneven like that :-)

My classmate is smoothing out her fabric here & has squared up some of the edges. There were 4 of us in this class spread out over large work tables with our fabric, cutting mats, sewing machines, etc...

Planning, Cutting & Sewing My Shabby Cottage Quilt  
There are 7 different fabrics here that were cut into strips then sewn together in a sequence of 1 - 7 or A, B, C..., then another sequence of the same 7 strips were sewn together in a reverse sequence. We then cut these by cutting horizontally across the sewn together fabrics as shown in the next photo.
Here are those cut strips with the 7 different fabrics. They are numbered or lettered here according to the sequence for the planned pattern so we keep them organized as we put them together to sew. See how in the previous photo they were all just long strips of the same fabrics but now they look like little charm squares that were sewn together? It's only due to the way those long strips were cut horizontally across that gives the strips this look now. I know! Confusing, right? If someone were explaining this stuff to me my eyes would have glazed over & I would have been lost way back... :-) 
The quilt's pattern is emerging here as the sets of cut strips that were put together are ready to be sewn. I love the white eyelet/ruffle/crochet fabric in this quilt! This is actually the top half of the quilt. Another set of these strips were sewn to create the bottom half of the quilt.
Here's a peek at how my quilt is coming along. It will be a lap size or crib size quilt. I chose the fabrics for it from my fabric stash I had on hand plus I bought some as I needed a little extra here and there. Most of the fabrics are from Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Treasures line that I had. Magrieta carries some of this line as well. It's a girly little quilt with a Shabby Cottage Chic style. (Apologies for the icky photo--it's a rainy, cloudy day here. I really need to improve on the photography)

The bottom & top halves of the quilt are sewn together here. This will be the front of my Shabby Cottage Girly Quilt. The two borders will frame the quilt. You can see some of the cut border pieces next.  

Notice the pattern the sewn strips result in-- See the design of a square in the center? 
This is the center square that is formed when all the fabrics in the pattern are sewn together. I am amazed at how it all comes together & I didn't mess it up too much! I did have to pick some stitches out and align misaligned strips so the squares would better line up--this is where the "sewing patience" comes in!
The Borders
Just last week I learned how to cut the fabric that will make the 2 borders of the quilt and the binding--an inside border and a wider outer border and the binding. The binding is the fabric that runs around the edge of the fabric "bindng" the quilt together. I need to finish sewing the outer border and binding fabrics together this weekend so they're ready when I go back to class. We will then sew these to the quilt face.

There are 2 different borders for my quilt: a textured, white border with beautiful lace & tiny ruffles. The other border is a complimentary floral-patterned Shabby Chic brand fabric (long floral strips shown to the right of the rotary cutter). 
Love, love, adore this fabric! This is what I call the "Oooh & Ahhh" fabric because everyone who sees it oohs & ahhhs over it. This will make a unique, beautiful border on the quilt.
The backing for my quilt is very similar to the oohh-ahhh fabric above. It too has a touch of tiny ruffles. This fabric also receives it's share of ooh's & ah's. Love! I will share that photo here once I complete the quilt.
Quilt Labels
I have learned that quilters will make a label to sew onto their quilts which states who the quilt is made for if it's a gift, who made the quilt and the date made. So, I embroidered a label using an embroidery design from that's especially for quilting labels. This site has a selection of quilting labels and they even have a large selection of quilt blocks and design packs for quilting. Love this site!

Image & Label by
This is the Birds & Bloom Label from Embroidery Library. I love roses & birds. This label is perfect for my Shabby Cottage Quilt. Here's the link: Birds & Bloom Label from Embroidery Library

Also, here's the link to Embroidery Library's Quilt designs department if you would like to check them out: there are so many different designs & themes. You can design an entire, beautiful quilt by embroidering quilt blocks from this site. Quilt Designs
Remember how I said quilting gives me so much peace & comfort? It helps me let go of the things that may be stressful in my life, like the "Big C" and it allows me to just focus on something I enjoy. But, I think the best thing is that it also teaches me patience. Quilting takes gobs of patience and thought. You have to pay attention to your design, measuring, cutting, sewing & honing your problem solving skills to fix little's an art to be sure but it takes time to do it right and all of this takes patience. Anyone who knows me knows that I can be impatient. I want to get things done and I don't like waiting. I have come a long way though and have slowed down and learned to be more patient in these recent years. Learning that good things do come to those who wait--well, in my case, I don't really wait, but I take more care and time in the process ;-)  So, when I am sewing my quilt I think of it as "sewing patience" into my quilt and myself.

Quilting is teaching me skills I will put to good use in my other sewing projects and I "can't wait" to get started on those. So much for patience! :-)

Heartfelt thanks for being here~


  1. Your quilt is going to be beautiful! Love that ooh-ah fabric! I think creating is always good for the soul...thanks so much for stopping by, Kimberly!