Lemoncello Quilt

comments: 134

I think I've made six full- or queen-size patchwork quilts in the past twenty years. All of them are made of squares or rectangles, very simple. The squares just call to me. I doubt I'll ever make any other kind of quilt. I never say never, but I just doubt it.

I hadn't made a quilt in several years, when suddenly, two summers ago, I had the urge. So it started here, with fabric, and the question, "Why can't the world be like the fabric store?" Which is something I'm still wondering about.


I finished the top pretty quickly . . .


. . . but I totally pooped out when it came time to finish it. The top sat, folded on alone on the shelf, for two years until Thursday, when I had the urge to finish it. I don't know why I have been so darn industrious lately, right? I've finished more stuff for myself in the past month than I have in a year or more. Very weird. I'm power-crafting on a personal level.


On Sunday, I finished it! Yippee! I put some new pillowcases on the pillows to celebrate (the blues are vintage, the pinks are Target, and please check my FAQ page for info on paint colors and slippers and stuff like that). Then I smoothed the quilt out on the bed.


I backed it with pale-yellow-with-gold-dots cotton, and bound it with a sort of terra-cotta orange calico, with tiny yellow-ish flowers. I tied it every four inches (the quilt is 22 by 23 four-inch squares) with six strands of bright red embroidery floss. I absolutely love terra-cotta with red, like a potted geranium.


So, there's this moment when you're making a quilt, the best moment: the one where you take it out of the dryer. It is the best feeling. Please make yourself a quilt, just so you can hug that warm, puckered softness to your chest and feel very accomplished and proud.


Because finishing a quilt doesn't feel like anything else. I don't really know how to describe it. It's kind of a major undertaking. I know that, by quilting standards, the quilts I like couldn't be simpler or less sophisticated, but honestly, no matter how you slice it (literally) — it's a big, big project. When I see really fancy quilts on the blogs or at the fabric store or at the fair, I literally stand pigeon-toed and in complete awe, because if you've ever finished one, you know that, well . . . they don't make themselves.


It helps to remember that the finishing part — making the quilt sandwich, getting it all laid out, pinning it all together, basting the edges, attaching the binding (which I purchased — and by the way, does anyone know of a good source for pre-cut cotton quilt binding, not the packaged stuff but the stuff on the spool?), flipping it over and stitching it down by hand, then tying, tying, tying, tying . . .


. . . tying, tying, tying . . .


— takes as long as finishing the front, if not longer. At least, that's how long it takes me.


But it's worth it. I think I'll make some more. Can you have too many? Don't think so.


o.k., I'll do it!

When I finished my first quilt, I held it to myself in awe and said, "I made a blanket!" Your words are far more eloquent than mine, but I know exactly what you mean -- making a blanket! Wow.

Yours is lovely -- congrats on finishing. I've got a quilt top right now that is begging to be made into a blanket. Thanks for the inspiration!

Beautiful! Patchwork squares are my favorite.

I have one all pinned and ready to quilt and bind...so maybe a burst of your inspiration will motivate me to finish it this week! Triangles call to me like squares call to you...don't rule out a simple triangle square quilt like this one http://cdn.llbean.com/products/home_garden/47436/images/47436lt_Flying_Geese.jpg They're so quick and easy. That will be my next project to show off my newest fabrics. Congratulations on finishing!

Congrats Alicia! Your quilt is beautiful!!

Never too many quilts...I am trying to design one now that has all the Disney fabrics I've collected over the years...wish me luck...such a hodgepodge of colors...so I am having trouble neutralizing them.

Absolutely beautiful, Alicia. And kudos for a project completed! The simple squares quilts are the ones that make me feel nostalgic and connected to the practical quilters of the past who quilted from necessity - even though I purchased new fabric and my NEED is more of an esoteric deep seated yearning to create...

What's the deal with the dolphin on the night stand?

I love it! I want one:)

hi Alicia
I've just finished a crochet ripple blanket after working on it since March and I can't stop hugging it around myself. I go to sleep with it and wake up with it. I so know what you mean about fnishing a BIG project.
I am teetering on the brink of making a squares quilt, you and jane Brocket have certainly proven that squares need not be boring in a quilt. Your summery-colours one is beautiful. I especially like the restrained but punchy use of red. Beau-ti-ful in every sense. well done on completing it!

I've been thinking about making a quilt out of some of my scraps (with some additional fabrics as well)... but haven't taken the leap quite yet. Perhaps you've inspired me....

beautiful and very cozy looking. a tutorial might be nice for those of us that have never made a quilt. for instance, i'm guessing there's some kind of padding in between the two layers, but how do you keep it in place while you sew the front and back together? i imagine that the ties keep it in place? hrm. dunno...

I really want to. but how do I start? I've been feeling the urge to finish what I started lately too. Maybe it's the stars ...

Your quilt is lovely. I'd love to flop down on it and roll around.

I know the feeling. The dryer part is the BEST! Love the fabric photos, of course! Very pretty quilt.

Loved the photos and this was really fun to read. I agree on the why can't the world be more like the fabric store - all those colors, varieties, personalities, and diversity just GETTING ALONG, COMPLIMENTING each other, and basically making each other look good. One fabric is boring - lots of people, I mean fabrics, TOGETHER is exciting and cool.

That said, you should start making your own binding! Seriously - it is not hard and SO SO much better than purchased kind. Just cut strips of fabric in 2" strips (rotary cutter, of course), then sew together at 90 degree angles, trim seam, and press open - continue until long enough. Then press the long length wrong side together in half - then sew the raw edge to the raw edge of the quilt - 1/4" seam. When you get to a corner do a handy 90 degree box turn (like a bed sheet)and continue. Join the seams and trim. NOW turn it over to the back side and do a running hem stitch in matching thread color by HAND (this part is fun in front of the TV). I LOVE the binding part of quilting - so satisfying. Another fun part of making your own bindings is that you can use more than one fabric - lots of creative possibilities!

Your quilt is wonderful and charming in it's simplicity, but by simple I mean only the look, I've only made one tiny doll quilt and that was 20 years ago for my first child...I still haven't gotten around to trying a real one! I don't know of a source for quilt binding, but i did find a great tool made by clover that makes it so easy to create your own. It comes in at least 3 different widths, and it's simple to use. I always enjoy your blog Alicia! It is a gift to us all! xo

So beautiful, in that wonderful cozy Posie sort of way you have!

Love it, love it, love it.
Now I need to go finish that sock I'm knitting. Or that quilt I've been working on for 3 years. Or maybe embroider the tea towels that I stamped 6 months ago...

If I ever finish my ripple blanket... and acquire any sewing skills... and get a sewing machine... well first I'll need a place FOR a sewing machine... but then! I'd totally tackle a quilt. I'll probably be old and gray by the time all these things come about. But I'm up for it. Just so I can take it out of the dryer. I'm looking forward to that.

Gorgeous! Coincidentally, I just bought my very first quilt yesterday--an antique (or at least vintage) one comprised of sexagons (? 6-sided) in shades of pinks, blues, mauves, greens, yellows, reds, maroons etc. Though in perfect condition, its fabrics are obviously vintage and the whole thing has that beautiful faded quality that comes only with years and use. I went into the den last night with it wrapped around me to show it to my husband and he immediately said I must make one myself. I'd love to, but I don't know where to start! Like one commenter wrote, could you give us ignoramuses some tips for beginning? I mean, is machine sewing them a no-no? And how exactly does the batting come in? My aunt happens to be a famous textile artist who charges thousands for her work, but I'm afraid her talents do not run in the family. I get intimidated sewing on a button! My husband says I should just get a quilting book, but I doubt there are any that 'tailor' to the absolute beginner...

so inspiring!! makes me want to make one, even though i have no idea how...

again, you have done an amazing job. :)

Oh, I love it so much. I can't stop looking at the photos.

Count me as another who would love a bit of instruction/advice. I've made two baby blankets with patchwork tops, flannel underside, but no stuffing or binding. Total novice here but with a bevy of young daughter itching to learn!

Where do you shop for fabric? Those colors/patterns are truly scrumptious. Is there a good (not too pricey) mail-order source for fabric? Getting to the fabric store with my crew of younguns can be a challenge.

I went to the FAQ page....what do I click on to find details of quilt and the slippers? I could not find it. But then it's Monday and I have had only one cup of coffee.
Great site / great projects...
looking forward to the book!

Your quilt made me smile, because it really is beautiful. Your post made me smile - because I know EXACTLY what you mean. I had a quilt from that I started for my SILs birthday sitting around for 3 years because I didn't have the motivation to deal with the backing/quilting/binding bit. It was such a huge high when I finally finished it.

I have a question about the tying (as I always quilt mine in the valley) how did you do it with the multiply strands of thread? It looks wonderful.


The quilt is beautiful.
I followed the link "Why can't the world be like a fabric store?" and I am so happy I did. I really needed to hear that and take a second to absorb what you said about inspiration. Too often I try to sit and paint, but feel so much anxiety that I give up too quickly. You are so right; the sitting there, working through the jitters and just putting paint to canvas is what creates the inspiration--the habit. Twyla Tharp wrote a book, "The Creative Habit--Learn It And Use It For Life", I should read it again. Or maybe I should just go and paint!
Anyway, thanks for sharing.

Ah so beautiful, a lot of work but time well spent for certain :o)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com