Swedish Summer Quilt

comments: 81


Yay! Finished! This one is baby-sized and made for my dearest friend and college roommate, Martha, who is having a baby girl in August. I think it came out very sweet, if I dare say so myself!


Twenty years ago, when Martha and I were in school, our friend Meredith made a patchwork quilt for her sister and brought it over to our house to show us. I remember being so blown away by that — it was the first handmade quilt I'd ever seen, and it was all square patches in lots of jewel tones. I took pictures of it with my Disc camera — I bet I even have them somewhere. It was kind of an important moment. Meredith's quilt started a quilt trend among my circle of college girlfriends: Martha made a quilt and Ann made a quilt and Pam made a quilt and I made a quilt. None of us, as far as I remember, had ever made anything like a quilt before. We haunted the discount bins at Hancock Fabrics, traced each square by hand from a cardboard template, cut them all out with scissors. I don't remember us having an ironing board, but we must have. Rotary cutter? Never heard of it. We winged it all. That was our style. Over the years we have all made several more quilts (and now we have rotary cutters, too :-). But as far as I know, among all of us girls, our quilts over the past two decades are always made of a patchwork of random-ish squares. I'll never stop loving them that way. I can look at any one of our quilts now, twenty years later, and see Meredith's quilt there. And that feels like those days, to me.


The specs for this one are based on the baby-sized version from my Ollalieberry Ice Cream Quilt pattern. Finished patches are 3.5" each. This one has red gingham on the back, and a bias binding of the same red gingham (love love love). Baby quilts (like everything baby-sized!) are so nice because you can literally lay the whole quilt sandwich out on the dining-room table (which is why, as several people pointed out, there were no dogs lying on this one in-progress; I don't know where the cats were 'cause they do usually like to get in on this action [as if putting it together and keeping it smooth isn't enough of a challenge, just add a cat thinking your hand under the quilt is a mouse] ).

The quilt top and quilt sandwich came together in a couple of days. I love this pattern because all you really need is total randomnessin your design, which is my favorite way to put patches together (though this one had a pretty regular checkerboard effect going). I really wanted it to feel pale and pretty, with dots of brighter colors. But I don't lay anything out beforehand, and I don't worry about balancing colors or anything like that. I just don't like to overbalance things. I think things lose their sense of spontaneity and energy when everything is all balanced.

The funny thing is that it all sort of balances out anyway, since maybe that tendency to balance colors is innate or something. I don't know. I do know that every time I make one of these, I have this bizarre tendency to pick up a red patch every seventh time (or whatever). I don't notice it until the thing is sort of laid out and there's this big stripe of red (or whatever) going across. That didn't really happen this time, but it's happened before, and I do then try to avoid that. But mostly I just pick stuff up and put it together and don't worry.

The Ollalieberry pattern walks you through machine-piecing the patches, machine quilting the seams, and attaching the binding by machine and by hand. For this quilt, I was inspired by my other dear, redonkulously talented, and prolific friend Jane to hand quilt it. Her new book of quilt recipes and general Jane-ness is so beautiful and inspired and inspiring that it made me hand quilt this. Jane's books have such a habit of making me do things!!!


But my Martha deserves it!

When Martha's beautiful baby comes and has a name and a birthday, I will make her a little embroidered patch for the back. In the meantime, I'm making another quilt, almost like this, but queen-sized, for us Paulsons. And, er, it will be tied. Just sayin. OR as I just now see on Amy's blog, sent to her mom for long-arm machine quilting. WOW. Those ladies just seriously read my mind.


Love love LOVE all of the colors and patterns in this little quilt-you are SO good at mixing those together perfectly!

wow- really lovely- I still have the first quilt that a friend made in college as part of a fundraiser- I remember being really blown away by the final result- We still use it as a picnic blanket- Yours is so lovely and will be much loved!

Sweet. I love it that it could have been made in the 30's or yesterday. What a lovely gift for Martha's baby.

What a thoughtful and beautiful gift. You have lucky people around you Alicia. You give them the best gifts. Your blog has inspired me to quilt again. I started one this weekend and have most of the top done. My family is loving it and my two daughters have even put in an order for one.

Wow, I love this! Great story, too!

It is absolutely darling! I just love everything about it!

Love the colours in this very pretty little quilt! :)
Vivienne x

Gorgeous! You are so inspiring me to make a quilt of my own. I'm just itching to do it.

Absolutely stunning. I love all the beautiful fabrics and colours in this quilt.

Love, love, love your fabric choices! Can you show us a picture of the back?

Makes me want to finish my little quilt I just started!

I love the way it looks just hand quilting the seams. Makes a little square inside the square, gives the lovely look of being hand quilted yet doesn't seem that labor intensive with just doing the seams. I love the color combinations! This is so wonderful~

Lucky lucky Martha!! Sure am wishing I was THAT Martha...just for a while, anyway!

This is so lovely! I really want to try my hand at making a quilt now...

Awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome. I'm sure I sound like a sycophant but I can't help it and I don't care. I LOVE this quilt. Best ever.

So, so SO adorable!! What a lucky baby.

So sweet--love the gingham. Your sense of aesthetic speaks to me so. I am always so inspired by your projects.

This is so, so sweet. Quilts of randomish patchwork squares are honestly my very favorite quilts ever. They just seem so relaxed and cozy and inviting.

What a delightfully yummy quilt! I have only made one quilt (so far), but it is a random square patchwork style and I love, love, love it. It was originally meant to be for picnics, but I made it big enough for our bed. Consequently it's rather too large for picnics and I just can't really think of getting my first quilt all picnic-dirty. I'll have to make another slightly smaller one eventually. I so get being enamoured by the squares. I may never make another type of quilt and that's just fine by me.

ann (from Belgium) says: July 12, 2010 at 01:37 PM

So agree about the randomness.
Looovely quilt

Oh, dear! I love this so much!. The colors and patterns you chose are just right.
I want to make one just like it.

gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! do you ever sell quilts?

The quilt you made is fantabulous! I love the red and white polka dots and the berry patches; the gingham b inding is so playful. Plus you a hand-quilted?! I have seen those long-arm quilt machines and while they look like they make short, wonderful work of a quilt, I would be afraid to use it; though I wouldn't have any trouble enlisting someone else to do! it ;)

Oh so sweet! I can remember the first quilt that I ever saw, too. I was visiting my Great Grandma Robinson and she was working on one at a quilting frame. I was totally impressed. All the pretty colors, and all the pretty stitches. And all made by hand!

WE LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you, and your fingers. :)

M & M

So beautiful ! This inspires me to finally try quilting !

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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