Friday, May 30, 2014

Winnie Goes to College

This post has been a long time coming as I have been in the trenches with a quilt. You know exactly what I am talking about, right? Gritted teeth, steely eyes, it’s-gonna-be-you-or-me contest of wills. Well, it wasn’t just that I felt like progress ground to a halt a time or two. Matters were not helped by listening to the entire Hunger Games trilogy WHILE doing a ten day juice fast and trying to sew as fast as I could. Do you have any idea how much Suzanne Collins goes on and on about food? I may or may not have shouted, “For the love of Peeta, stop talking about bread!...and that lamb stew!...and…and…freshly roasted game! YOU ARE KILLING ME!” and then I’d sew some more.  The result is a quilt that I look at and see equal parts beauty and achievement. Strangely, I also seem to want a snack.

This quilt is a commissioned piece meant to celebrate a high school graduation. In the conversations leading up to the design, I learned that Miss E, the graduate, had a special affinity for Winnie the Pooh and the color blue. Her mother liked classic block structures like rail fence. So, in short order this quilt became all about the finding the perfect fabric and the perfect block.

After much searching I finally checked out Etsy. I found a seller (here) that had out of print Winnie the Pooh panels that were just fantastic; expensive, but perfect. The fabric looked just like a copy of the illustrations from a vintage Winnie the Pooh book. I also found a warm honey tonal print with bees and a pale blue tonal with outlines of Winnie. I really love the quilter’s reference books with black and white illustrations of classic block patterns. Those books are a great starting point for blocks and quilt ideas.  The particular book I used for this quilt was 1000 Great Quilt Blocks by Maggi McCormick Gordon. I snapped a few pictures of what I felt were good candidates to go with the vintage-style print. Miss E’s mother chose the block called God’s Eye.

I decided to make the background pieces all 2.5” with an assortment of low-volume prints. I love the look it gives. The geeky glasses print from Riley Blake is my favorite part and is the bridge from vintage to modern. I also made a few fussy cuts from the Winnie the Pooh illustration panel and placed six of them throughout the quilt. Winnie is chilling with his friend Piglet in an ocean of cream, white and gray.

Miss E’s mom shared with me the quote that inspired the whole Winnie themed quilt.
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”
We decided to make the quote a permanent feature of the quilt, so I did some improv piecing and included it in the back of the quilt ala The Babar Triangle. Really, I think my future as a ransom note writer is assured. Ha!

I quilted this in a continuous line design. I used a cream So Fine thread on top and a minty Aurifil on the bobbin. This quilt finished at 48” x 64.”

Every graduate deserves a bit of advice, so I thought I’d offer up an important formula necessary for college success. Ready?

Winnie the Pooh + God’s Eye + a message from your mother = a dorm room with LOTS AND LOTS OF STUDYING!

I am mostly kidding. Mostly.


  1. Oh, I love the pooh print and text for the backing. Congratulations on the finish and powering through it! :)

  2. That is absolutely gorgeous! The pattern is beautiful and I love the Winnie story!

  3. Really like your quilt. The backing is wonderful!

  4. Beautiful design, what artistry! Well done :)

  5. This came out beautifully! The low volume and the block are just the right amount of vintage, but the prints make it modern for the cool college student. I'm sure she'll love it.

  6. Wow, this quilt is a stunner. Beautiful work. I clicked over to check your blog out from sew mama sew. I will be back to look around more later. Thanks!

  7. Lovely quilt. It does look quite contemporary. Glad you were able to find the Pooh fabric.

  8. Love, love, love this quilt AND your style of writing! I will be a frequent visitor!!:)

  9. I am in love with this quilt! You did a wonderful job and I'm betting the graduate will love it. :)

  10. This is such a well-done and pretty quilt and I love the story that goes with it! Thank you for sharing!

  11. When we visited for parents weekend last month, it was on a neatly made bed, cozy with pillows in a sweet room, low lit with Christmas lights. She loves her quilt. I miss seeing it but it's where it needs to be. Many thanks.

    1. Wonderful! I am glad that instead of languishing in the closet, Winnie is enjoying his college experience (complete with Christmas lights)!

  12. Thanks for this post. First of all, love your quilt. I've been trying to find the pattern source for the God's Eye block for some time now, so I'm glad I read through your post.