A “Fine Finish” — A Special Quilt is Florida Bound! (Giveaway, Too)

As you are reading this, a special quilt is winging its way to a special little boy in Florida. In my June 15 post, I told you about a quilt I was making to welcome the new grandson of my dear friend Christy–a quilt made from shirts belonging to her husband Ray, who died last August after a valiant battle with cancer.

The talented Jo Ann Carpenter did a wonderful job quilting Hugs and Kisses from Grandpa. She outlined each hug and kiss, and crosshatched through the pieced squares and border–just the right touch for this clean, simple design.

“Hugs and Kisses from Grandpa”–Made by Darra Williamson and machine quilted by Jo Ann Carpenter. Click on Free Pattern tab at the top of the page for instructions and applique patterns for making this quilt.

To bind the quilt, I cut 2 1/8″ strips from the various shirt leftovers, and pieced them end to end with right-angle seams.

I join my binding strips with diagonal seams to reduce bulk.
The first of Cyndy’s three books about printing on fabric

I knew I wanted something special for the label, so I called on my buddy, Cyndy Rymer, coauthor/editor (with Lynn Koolish and Hewlett-Packard) of three books on transferring photos and text to fabric. Using an EQ Printables Inkjet Fabric Sheet, the Photoshop program on Cyndy’s laptop, and her trusty inkjet printer, we created a label that I think is the perfect finishing touch for this special quilt.

We combined a photo with text giving the specifics of why, for whom, and by whom the quilt was made. In one of those instances of amazing serendipidy, the shirt “Grandpa Ray” wears in the photo is one of the shirts that I used in the quilt!

I fused the label to a “framing” fabric, topstitched the label edges, and then turned under a 1/4″ hem and topstitched all around the edges of the frame.

Story almost finished. It so happens that there are also two granddaughters in the family, and I couldn’t very well leave them out! These two young ladies are a bit older (both in “double digits”), so I settled upon a pillow for each, using the same 5″ cut squares and appliqued  Xs and Os that I used in the quilt. I wanted a pillow that would fit a standard 18″ pillow form, so I cut border strips 2 3/4″ wide, sewed them on using a standard 1/4″ seam, and added a pillow back, once again using my pillow-making Bible, Jean and Valori Wells’ Oh Sew Easy Pillows as a guide.

I made two 18″ pillows, one for each granddaughter.

I added a little surprise on the back, perfect for tucking tiny treasures.

A pocket from one of Grandpa’s shirts makes the perfect place for special treasures.

If you’d like to make a special label for a special quilt, we’re here to help. EQ (Electric Quilt) has generously donated an EQ Printables Inkjet Fabric Sample Pack as a giveaway to one of our readers. Leave a comment by midnight (PDT) Wednesday, September 5, telling us about a special quilt you’ve either given or received, and I’ll announce the winner in my next scheduled post.

Before I wrap up, I want to thank the many, many readers who took the time to comment on my post about Mary Elizabeth Kinch and her new book, Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts. If you haven’t read the comments, you should: some of them are really funny! The winner of the book, chosen by random drawing, is Judy in SC. Ms. G, please refresh me on your snail-mail address via seehowwesew@gmail, and I’ll get your book on its way.

That’s it for now. Don’t forget about Quilting in the Garden, which will be here before we know it! ‘Til next time, happy stitching!


24 thoughts on “A “Fine Finish” — A Special Quilt is Florida Bound! (Giveaway, Too)

  1. On Laura’s website there is a gorgeous pink, red, black and white quilt with a huge star in the middle. it’s on the cover page with Etsy written below. I went to Etsy, but could not find the pattern. Where do I find this pattern?


      1. Thanks for your fast reply and thank you for passing along my query. Enjoyed talking to all of you at Quilting in the Garden and loved your display area. What a glorious day.


  2. I made a Hawaiian applique quilt for a very good friend who was battling cancer, even though I don’t do applique. Laurie had lived in Hawaii when she was younger and when she got sick she asked me to accompany her on a trip back to the islands. She admired the beautiful quilts we saw in the shops there but said she could not afford one. After the trip, I made her quilt using beautiful hand dyed fabric in her favorite shade of aqua and using Stacy Michell’s applique methods. I echo quilted all of the applique. I named it “malu lani” (protected by heaven), commemorating our 40 years of friendship. She enjoyed the quilt for two years before her death and used it for warmth and comfort through her treatments and final hospitalization.


  3. The most special quilt I made was a memory quilt for my mother to celebrate her 80th birthday. I collected squares from all her many friends, and multiple relatives. It was quite a surprise and she was overwhelmed at the gift. She’s still using it, 10 years later!


  4. A co-worker and wife recently had twins and I had a brilliant idea 🙂 to make quilts for the babies. Each employee designed a block, using their nursery them “Sea Turles” and decorated with fabric crayons and paints. The quilts are now sashed and quilted and waiting for the shower. It would be lovely addition to make a special label with the signatures of the designers of each quilt.


  5. I have been quilting for 8 years and never thought it important to label a quilt until my Grandmother passed away, and we pulled out an old quilt she had packed away. I wonder who made it, when, where, etc? The quilt is special because it was my Grandma’s, but I wish I knew all the details!


  6. I received my grandmothers quilts after my aunt passed away. They are such a treasure but unfortunately none of them have labels. It would be fun to make a photo label with my grandmothers picture so that the future generations can know a little about my grandma. Thanks for the chance to win the inkjet fabric sample pack!


  7. When I made a quilt for my grandson, I was too lazy to treat the fabric first, so only the black ink, with the text, made it through the wash! Would love to have these EQ Printables to play with! Thanks, Darra.


  8. That is a wonderful quilt and so special, a treasure from her grandpa. I have made quilts for two of my sisters, one was in a bad accident, so I worked straight for two weeks and made her an angel quilt with inspirational words, to have when she got home. Another sister had breast cancer, so I made her an angel quilt with words and sayings to comfort her, during her recovery.



  9. My cousin is having a baby girl in January and I wanted to make her something instead of just buying something from the store. I decided I would give her the very first quilt that I have ever made. I was very nervous about it, but it turned out pretty well. It actually looks like a quilt! I am somewhat proud of myself 🙂 I did put a label on, but I hand embroidered it. It would definitely be much easier for me to just print the label, but my way is working quite well for the time being.


  10. Darra, I just want to say you are freaking awesome! Oh my stars what a great quilt!!! You and Jo Ann make a great team. I teared up reading your post. Thank you for your kindness… it shines like the brightest stars. I know they will adore the quilt and pillows. Way to rock the quilt world with love to infinity and beyond!
    ~Christina in Cleveland


  11. Thanks for sharing this beautiful quilt and its story! I love the quilt and the idea and will keep it in my head for a future quilt or pillow. I have a granddaughter born June 12 this year and I made her a quilt that I still need to put a label on since we didn’t know her name util she was born. I* wish my grandmother would have put a label on the quilt she made for me before 1950 but that wasn’t common then.


  12. Last time my granddaughter visited I had her choose 12 fat quarters from my stash for a quilt. The top is now finished and quilted. The backing is her favorite color, turquoise, also from my stash. All it needs is binding and she’ll receive it in time for her 11th birthday.


  13. I made a special quilt for my daughter who lives in Portland for her birthday last November. Though I sewed all her clothes when she was younger (including her senior prom dress), I was so nervous about this quilt. Her instructions were: “I want to have something you made to keep but I don’t want it to look like a quilt”.
    After shopping together and picking out fabric it took me months to come up with a simple pattern of 15″ blocks with some fussy cutting of the French General design she had picked.
    It ended up such an incredible quilt (and one of my first) and I proudly handed it over to her. She loved it!


  14. I received a quilt for my retirement from the University of California, Berkeley. My quilter friend from UC Irvine appliqued the mascots from the 10 University of California campuses. In the center, using inkjet fabric, she included a picture of the UC seal as well as a picture from my retirement party. On the back she included a number of pictures of my colleagues from the other UC campuses. The machine quilting was absolutely gorgeous.
    I always use the inkjet fabric to make unique labels, including an image related to the event (wedding rings) or the quilt theme (Dr. Seuss).


  15. Great story today, Darra. I read the post in June and it is good to hear the quilt is finished. What a special thought–making the pillows for the girls!! I recently made a quilt for my son to acknowledge his retirement from the Air Force after 22 years. A quilt label was a must, according to my friends. So I experimented with the ink jet fabric and after several tries, successfully printed an Air Force insignia and the wording to detail the significance of the quilt. He loved the quilt!! Looking forward to meeting you in Livermore at Quilting in the Garden.


  16. I just finished a large lap quilt for my Granddaughters 18th Birthday. She loves Hello Kitty so I appliquéd 12 large kittys on the quilt blocks. Having the EQ printable fabric sheets would have been great to document the occasion. Thanks for the opportunity to win.



  17. Making bed quilts for all six of my grandchildren for Christmas this year, I can really use the EQ Printable Inkjet Fabric Sheets! Thanks for the chance to enter. I totally love the Hugs and Kisses quilt! Grandpa had some wonderful shirts and a loving heart that shines through. What a lovely heirloom for the new grandbaby!


  18. I have recently finished a quilt top for my sister Janet and her husband’s 60th wedding anniversary. I named it Diamond Jubilee. I received the top from their daughter-in-law in February when I was back for our other sister Nancy’s funeral. The top was a double wedding ring pattern so appropriate for the anniversary celebration. It had been hand and machine pieced by 3 generations of their daughter-in-law’s grandmothers. It is all 1930s era. Surprisingly, it laid out well and had been pieced very well. I missed the anniversary party in June because of my having foot surgery, but I am flying with the quilt next month to give my gift as I want to see their faces when they open the quilt and see the transformed “top” to a magnificent quilt.


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