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Dec 19 / Jamie

A Quilt for my Brother

Squares Quilt
Later this week, my little brother will be flying in for a visit.  He is in the Air Force and currently stationed in Colorado.  We really miss him and wish that he were back on the East Coast, but we are very proud of him and the work that he does for our country.  Earlier this year, I made a lap quilt for my little sister, so to balance things out, here is a quilt for him!
Solids from the studio sale
I picked up this lovely stack of solids last month at theDenyse Schmidt sample sale.  I thought the colors were perfect for him, and I picked out some of the tans, browns, greens, and yellows.  My brother is definitely a “guy’s-guy” and has an aesthetic that I would best describe as “old man’s study”.  I really wanted to make a quilt that he would love.  I based if off of the Pretty Square quilt by Denyse Schmidt.  I was lucky enough to purchase one from her studio sale last year and used it as a guide (you can see it in the picture below, it is the white and blue quilt).  I read all the time how hard it is to sew for men and I wanted to make a masculine quilt just from solids.  Earlier this fall I made an iPad sleeve for Mike, and I thought it turned out really well and certainly had a masculine vibe to it, so I was confident I could pull off another creation.

Making a quilt

My little sister came for a visit over Thanksgiving, and after we had all finished our meal, we cleared off the dining room table and started sewing.  I cut out squares from the brown fabrics and then started ripping strips from the other fabrics to go around them in a wonky-log cabin style.  My mom pressed the seams and even Miss C got in on the action.  The only fabrics that were used in the quilt that I didn’t get from the studio sale were from two old work shirts belonging to Mike.  They both had stains and since he no longer wore them, into the quilt they went!  I know it is kind of a formality, but I try to incorporate a small piece of clothing into most of the quilts I make.  It doesn’t always work, but when it does, I think it adds an extra bit of “home” to the piece.

Making a quilt
We continued working the next morning, you can see my sister sewing strips around the squares while my boys made ornaments for our Christmas tree, lego candy-canes!

Making a quilt
By the end of the morning, we had completed nine squares with two rounds each.  This is a picture we took trying to work out the layout.  And yes, that is Baby M’s little booty sitting right on one of the squares (it was clean, I promise!).  Because this is how things get done in our house.  Just out of frame is Miss M, I think the two of them were playing with wooden blocks and gingerbread men while we worked.  And yes, my dining room table is a sheet of finished plywood on top of four legs from Ikea.  We also use it as our craft table.  Once a table cloth is thrown on top, you would never know it is covered in paint, glue, and glitter!

Squares Quilt
I had a bit of a dilemma when trying to figure out how big to make my squares.  I knew I wanted to FMQ this piece, and I couldn’t make it too big because I use my little Brother sewing machine.  So, I decided to add a thin strip of cream fabric around each block and then add in this nice tan fabric for some negative space.  I think ideally, I would have added one more wide row of fabric around each square, just like in the DS version, but it just would have made the quilt too big.  I am very pleased with how it came out.  I used a blocky stippling pattern (I am sure this has a name, but instead of making smooth curves, I used straight lines so it looked like one gigantic maze).  I only did this in the tan fabric, and then I had quilted the inside of each square.  I really like the way the quilting turned out.

Squares Quilt
For the backing, I used a woven fabric that I got at the sample sale.  It was the fabulous orange, brown, and red plaid.  It is really soft.  And I swear my brother has slippers that look exactly like this fabric, so I thought it would be perfect.  You can see the contrast in the quilting here, as well as two puckers right in the middle.  I am trying to remind my myself that the quilt will be just as warm, but you know how it is, I HATE getting puckers, even relatively small ones.  The binding was a nice brick-red fabric and I think it gives the quilt a little bit of pop.

Squares Quilt
When I was thinking about this quilt, I knew I wanted to use colors that would represent our farm.  I wanted them to be warm colors that would be soothing.  I wanted this to be a quilt all for my brother.  I think I nailed it.  Here is a picture of me holding the quilt in our pasture, you can see our barn in the distance and the pond on the right, complete with geese and ducks.

Squares Quilt
I really like the way the quilt looked after it was washed, and I am definitely going to use the style of quilting again.  It made the quilt super soft and nubbly.

Squares Quilt

The sheep just couldn’t keep away from the photos!  Here is our ewe Clementine right in the shot.  She is a sweet girl and produces amazing lambs, so all is certainly forgiven 😉

I love that this quilt was made using fabrics from the studio of the amazingly creative Denyse Schmidt and the closet of my incredibly talented and hard working husband.  I love that this was a collaborative effort between my mother, sister, and myself.  I love having made something very far outside of my personal aesthetic color-wise.  I really think my brother will love this and I can’t wait to see him this week and give it to him!



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  1. 1
    Denyse / Dec 19 2011

    A lovely story, and the quilt is amazing! I LOVE the photos of the quilt outside – you really captured the color and feeling of the beautiful farm landscape. Have a wonderful holiday season!

    • 1.1
      Jamie / Dec 19 2011

      Thank you VERY much for your kind words. You are a true inspiration, I feel honored that you enjoyed my story and quilt. If you ever feel like journeying up to the Quiet Corner, you are always welcome to visit us. I am very much looking forward to your new book coming out this fall, seeing the samples you made for it was amazing.

  2. 2
    Alyssa / Dec 19 2011

    Our brother’s quilt is so beautiful! I love the cream border around each square, and the colors are so perfect for him. I’m so grateful I got to work on this with you. Hopefully, there are many more collaborative projects to come!


    • 2.1
      Jamie / Dec 19 2011

      I can’t wait for him to see it! I wish we could all be together to give it to him, but this quilt will serve as a nice bridge between your visit and his. I am sure this is just the beginning of a lifetime of collaborative projects! Love you, too. J

  3. 3
    beth lehman / Jan 6 2012

    I love it! I love that you worked together with your sister. I recently got my sister’s interest peaked in quilting and she’s done two since the fall. I would love to do something in collaboration with her. (Our dad is retiring soon…..) Great colors and great work!

    • 3.1
      Jamie / Jan 9 2012


      Thank you so much for your kind words. It was a wonderful collaboration, I only wish my sister lived closer so we could do more projects like this. Good luck to you and your sister, I think this would be a great project to do together for your dad.

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