little islands quilt

I didn’t plan to make this quilt.  It emerged out of a pile of scraps and it was a ton of fun to sew up!

After making these herringbone blocks, I was left with a bunch of triangular scraps that sewed up nicely into rectangles. I matched them up with a bright blue solid and got to work assembling the top.  My process was very improvisational.  I knew that I wanted the scrappy rectangles to show as just little bursts of color here and there. I randomly tore large rectangles of blue solid fabric and sewed them around the scrappy bits.  I really didn’t think much about the final layout and I certainly didn’t bother worrying that the colorful rectangles were evenly distributed throughout.  I just had fun sewing and tearing, and sewing and tearing, until I had made nine large rectangular blocks that fit together like a puzzle.  I ran out of one of the blue solids at some point, so I just grabbed the next closest color I had and kept going. When I ran out of that fabric, I added the aqua dot as well. Sometimes having restrictions can force you to do things you wouldn’t have thought of if you had it all planned out from the beginning. That’s a big part of the fun for me. I was really pleased with the results. And perhaps most importantly, I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I didn’t have anything in particular in mind when I was making this, but looking back, I have to say that I was probably inspired by this quilt, this quilt, these blocks and this book.

I wanted to do loopy quilting but I still haven’t taken the time to learn how to free motion quilt.  Instead, I settled on a basic grid design.  I actually like the look of straight lines more than the loopy quilting.  But still.  It would be really nice to have more options. I get bored running the quilt straight through my machine over and over again.  I started off just using the guide on my walking foot to create the grid, but my lines were veering off course as I went and I didn’t like how it was turning out.  I remembered that I have a Hera marker and used that to draw a grid.  That helped a ton–what a great tool! I used an aqua thread on top and an off-white color in the bobbin. In the end, I am really glad I went with the plain old grid because I love how it looks on the back.

Since the quilt top is extremely loud and bright, I wanted to back to be super simple. The backing fabric is the reverse side of a super ugly printed solid blue color that reminded me of “mom jeans.”  I really did not like the color of the “right side” of the fabric, but it was the only piece of solid fabric I had on hand that was big enough for the back of this quilt.  The “wrong side” is a wonderful light slate gray, so I just used that instead. I bound it with a Carolina Chambray.  The quilt washed and dried up so nicely–it had the perfect amount of crinkle.  {I love that out-of-the-dryer crinkle so much.  I think it is what motivates me to finish my quilt projects.}

I shipped this birthday gift off to my sister who lives in Hawaii. She is a dedicated community leader who runs a grassroots organization called the Hawaii Island Sustainability Organization.  More importantly, she is one of the kindest, most generous people I know.  She is beautiful, inside and out, and is a wonderful mom.  She is an amazing sister and such a good friend–and sometimes it drives me crazy that she lives so far away!  She called me the day that she opened the package. She told me that her almost-four-year-old daughter took both the baby quilt that I made her and this new quilt and wrapped herself up in them as soon as they got home from the post office.  That description provided such a nice visual image for me.  Gosh I miss them so much.


11 thoughts on “little islands quilt

  1. Can we start a quilt long enough to reach from here to Hawaii and pull that beautiful sister and adorable niece home?!!! I promise I’ll help as long as you don’t make me iron 😉
    I’m so happy our Hawaiian sister now has a hug, in the form of a beautiful quilt, anytime she needs one. The blue is gorgeous and reminds me of her ocean colored eyes. Glad you had fun with the project. Let’s have a quilting day soon. xoxo

  2. I seriously love this quilt, and I love seeing the other projects/sources of inspiration that led you here. I’m going to try to be more mindful of that when I finish projects. I bet your sister will smile every time she sees this quilt, knowing it was made by you with love.

  3. I love that you used the “wrong” side of the fabric for the backer. So creative, I would never think of doing it. In fact, that last sentence can be applied to the whole quilt! Great job!

  4. I love this quilt and I love reading a story behind the ideas and thoughts that go into a quilt. I love that you made this for your sister. My sister, too, is far away – well, 7 hours – which isn’t Hawaii, so I don’t know how you manage. I would love to live next door to her!

    You had two great tips here – the hera marker (always forget about this) and using the back of a not-so-favorite print! What a great idea!

    Funny, you went for straight line quilting – which for some reason I can’t seem to do. I can only free motion (oh, and only stippling or loops..).

  5. i’m in love with everything you are doing and talking about and sharing molly! and how obvious it is that you are PLAYING with your creativity. i’m pretty sure your hawaii sister would have a list of equally long delightful adjectives about you! i’m somewhat envious that you have a sisters and ones that you love so much!

  6. This is so lovely. I love the way you used the different blues for the background — I love to improvise that way too, just using what I have when I need it. I find that the results are often the most interesting.

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