Friday, April 22, 2022

English Garden Hands2Help Quilt

This is one of those quilts that say, 'meh' with the flimsy, and then say, 'Yay!' with the quilting. And yes, all it is is a simple jigsaw-style meander, but wow, it just melds all the floral prints together, and it's like looking at a veritable riot of an English Garden.
Early morning as this was, or darling evening are perfect times for quilt photos

I just know my mum would love this one. Speaking of early morning, have you ever truly contemplated how marvellous dew is? It's really quite the miracle, that every morning plants get a sip of pure water to start their day. This morning it was like a film of little beads of glass coating the grass. Sparkling and fresh. Hopeful. I needed that.

The aim of both of my H2H quilts this year was to use up some of the pieces of floral fabrics I have. These are leftovers from various projects. You can read about both here where there are tutorials for how to make each quilt.

I named it English Garden because it reminds me of my mum's. Years ago, after my dad had a garage built in the back yard for his beloved 1955 Chrysler New Yorker, she had the remaining yard turned into a beautiful garden with beds and paths around them. Flower gardening was her passion, and she didn't always cull and contain as North Americans gardeners do, so it eventually became quite a riot of crazy, colourful beauty.
My aunt, who I have mentioned before, seamstress extraordinaire, gave me a bag of cottons a few years ago, to use in quilts. That bright orange and green backing you see is one of those chunks. Perfect for this quilt!
There wasn't enough, and it was another that was only 36" wide, so I put it crosswise, and added some more chunks. The music one has such a good memory: I used it to make my piano teacher, aka second mum (I loved her so much), also a close friend of my mum, a cushion. I made myself one first because it was early days in my quilting journey: I was fussy cutting to aim for a bit of a kaleidoscope whirl, and it was a new block for me. Well, the four little pinwheel blocks turned out a fair bit smaller than they were supposed to! So I made another that turned out the correct size, and gave it to her. She just loved it. I had two chunks left, one with Swiss cheese triangle holes in it, but I was able to line the print up so the lines of hearts aligned!

All four pieces used in the back are now gone! Well, tbh, there are a few strips of the black floral which I used to make some rope baskets and a cushion for the plastic sewing chair I used to have in Florida, and there are a few 2.5" squares of the music print.
Seam sewn, Swiss cheese fabric visible, and the first attempt at the pinwheel block with fussy cutting.

Didn't worry about the notes lining up but got the stripes. You might be able to see that I sewed little glass beads in the centre of each of the four pinwheel blocks.

I used up several chunks, most pretty long, a few pretty short, of leftover binding for the quilt.
Here is a section I quite like
In the above photo I spy, a Stack 'n Whack quilt, three quilt backings, Amanda Murphy fabric used in a baby quilt, colour wash quilts, a dress with a pretty floral border, a dress with matching floppy hat I made for Dayna 25 years ago... The marble fabrics that make the whirligig shape are Paula Nadelstern's Wanderlust line I used to make three kaleidoscope cushion covers, two of which I've sold, as well as the 'Electric Swirl' throw quilt I made during my 2018 QAL, Plus Playtime. They are wonderful fabrics.

A little marketing here😉 You can purchase the pattern for the above quilt, which has instructions for two sizes, baby and throw, as well as a tote bag. Just click here or the pattern below. And the Electric Swirl quilt shown above is also for sale. Click here!

Back to the quilt at hand! When I wasvsearching for a photo of Electric Swirl, I noticed that one of the threads I used on it, I used on this quilt! After I'd finished quilting, I had asked myself why I don't use these more. They are Exquisite, very similar to Isacord or Mettler polyester. They have a beautiful sheen, and Avril loved them too, no breaks and beautiful tension over the entire quilt.
This quilt doesn't have a set-in-stone destination yet; it will either go to the Windsor Sexual Assault Centre for a child or teen victim, or to an Indigenous person. It will find its home.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: English Garden (block by Libby of Life on the Hill)
Size: 40.5" x 50.5"
Fabric: scraps
Backing: as above
Batting: Fairfield polyester
Quilted: on Avril: 29 015 stitches
Threads: pieced with various; quilted with Exquisite polyester in buff

In case you missed it on Instagram, one other 'using up scraps' project I finished this week is my second RSC project: string placemats, this time a pink one.

All four have this Amanda Murphy fabric on the back, now just a couple of small chunks/strips left.

I took this shot this morning after I'd photographed English Garden on the front lawn:
Mother Nature is wondrous. Despite all of our disregard for her well-being, she continues to amaze us if we only stop to notice. I was worried after the weekend's 2" of snow and the unseasonably cold April we've had, but my magnolia blossoms are jus fine and starting to unfurl their creamy rose colours. I hope you find lots of little ways to help our planet and implement them permanently into your life. Whenever, and it's often this past while, I get demoralized about the lack of concern on the part of most people, organizations and governments for the planet, I try to focus on the ways I am doing my best to lessen my injury on her. 

I acknowledge that I live on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Anishinabewaki, Attiwonderonk and Myaamia Indigenous peoples.


  1. I love how this turned out! You're right, it does look like a lovely garden. Quilting always brings out the beauty, even when we think it won't. Happy finish, and happy fussy cutting! Enjoy the spring!

  2. The bright, happy quilt in the morning sun is magical. It is very garden-esque. :)

  3. A great way to use up scraps and the pattern could also be done to make an eye spy quilt for a child, but I do like your garden-esque style as Yvonne puts it. You're giving me ideas for using scraps. The magnolia has so many buds just as mine is starting to lose its leaves. Take care & hugs.

  4. Hi Sandra!! Gosh, I would have loved to have met your Mum and to have enjoyed her loving English garden. Your description of a crazy riot of color sounds fab!! And what a perfect name for this lovely quilt finish. And the memories in all of those fabric leftovers that hold such fun take-you-back moments. I love how the backing has a big hug from your Aunt!! This piece is just overloaded with lots of love for the recipient. Love your pink placemat, too - I want that Amanda Murphy fabric!! I want to make a special journal cover for a teacher who is retiring and that would be perfect - I didn't know it until I saw it! Thanks for linking up for TGIFF. Take care. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  5. Both quilts so lovely. I applaud your efforts to help our planet. I too, do what I can, the best that I can. A recent conversation brought home to me that some Americans are just lazy. Sure it takes some extra effort, but why not?? We need to leave this earth better than we found it for our children and grandchildren. And in my case, great grands! "smile"

  6. I love the English garden quilt! A quilt isn't a quilt until it's quilted and this is so true with English garden! A great use of those floral scraps.

  7. Lovely, lovely magnolias. Ours is starting to blossom as well.

  8. Lovely post Sandra, your HandsToHelp is gorgeous and it's nice to see some of your earlier-days sewing too!