Archive for the ‘2016 My Bro’s Quilt’ Category


I had so much fun making this quilt.  I hated the process to end.

To recap – when we were home last year, my brother asked if I would make him a quilt out of his military camouflage shirts and his collection of Crown Royal bags.  This is a man who doesn’t ask for much – and I was totally thrilled and honoured to do it.  He will be retiring in 2017 after 37 years in the military.  Quite an accomplishment and I am so incredibly proud to be his sister.


To his uniform shirts and the Crown Royal bags, I added Cherrywood hand-dyed fabrics, hand-dyed wool (the flying geese) and a few Japanese taupe fabrics.


I used inspiration from Sherri Lynn Wood‘s book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.  LOVE this book.  I suppose the ‘score’ that I used is closest to her version of ‘Patchwork Doodle’.  Basically, I just played with shapes and color.  It was truly like painting with fabric.


Sherri asks for you to evaluate each creation once completed.  She encourages you to look at it for surprises, discoveries, satisfactions and dissatisfactions.  I sat in my favourite coffee shop the other day and wrote this:


What surprised me?  First that I thought about K3 nearly the entire time working on this quilt.  My memories of him, of family, how proud I am of who he is, what he has accomplished, how he and L have raised such good men.

It also surprised me how many ideas I had – I couldn’t use them all.  They just kept coming and coming.


What did I discover/learn?  I guess my continuing lesson to go with the flow and trust my instincts.  The organic style of designing is very pleasing to me.  There are no mistakes.  Perfection is over-rated – at least for me.


What was satisfying about the outcome?  Well, I think he is really going to like it but more importantly, I love it!  And, it just feels like a gift of love that I’ve made especially for him. It came from my soul, from my creativity, from my heart.


What was dissatisfying?  It’s a very heavy quilt as the uniform fabric is much heavier than quilting cottons.  I’m glad I added the hand-dyed cottons for balance and lightness.

Additional thoughts:  I wasn’t exactly sure in the beginning if the crown royal bags and military camo fabrics would go together but I’m pleasantly surprised.  I actually think they complement each other!  Also, I think the purple is a great tie-in to L (his wife; her favourite color is purple) as she is as much retiring from the military as K3 is.

I was planning to take it back next year when we visit but I’ve decided to mail it to him instead.  Better for him to have it to curl up under this winter than for it to sit on a shelf here.


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Score 2 is made of strips.  I curated three different sets of fabric.

Set 1 consisted of only 2 fabrics.


Below are the results of set 1.  At this point, I have it in two separate shapes – one long and will probably be a border and the other a chunk.


Set 2 consisted of all neutrals – Japanese taupes and the lightest uniform fabric.  Once they were sewn together, I hand appliquéd wool wonky geese onto them.  This block symbolises K3’s love of hunting.

Set 3 consisted of medium and dark hued fabrics.  My plan is to use these blocks with some of the shirt fabrics and do an improv curved block.


With the left over scraps I made these freeform log cabin-like blocks.  They will probably be used as filler blocks.

I am really enjoying this quilt – and especially enjoying the improv style.  I’m in a holding pattern on it for now as I await more shirt fabric so it’s back to working on The Circle Games top.  I’m experimenting with doing an improv drunkards path for the border of that.


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I’ve been going to do a post or two about K3’s quilt but it just seems a bit overwhelming so I’ve been putting it off.

As you may recall, when we were back in the USA last year, K3 and I were talking and it came to light that he would like a quilt made out of his military uniforms (4 different styles of fabric over his 25+ year career) and his collection of Crown Royal (CR) bags.  I jumped on the request!  I really do like making special quilts for people.

Home I came with several uniform shirts, his collection of Crown Royal bags and my friend Candy’s husband’s collection of Crown Royal bags.

I also came home with the book from Sherri Lynn Woods called Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.  This book is amazing.  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that here before.  I have not bought a more inspiring quilt book in – well – in FOREVER.  I’ve been doing improv/wonky/liberated quilt making for several years now but this book has given me ideas I’ve never considered – plus it brings in the spiritual/emotional/meditative angle.  A total win/win in my opinion.

So, back to K3’s quilt.  He gave me free rein.  Potentially he’ll regret that as what is developing is a bit OUT THERE on the creative front.  However – I’m sure he’ll love it because not only does it reflect him and his life and career, but it reflects me and my creative path.

First, on the recommendation of K2, I googled CR quilts.  And military quilts.  A TON of ideas out there but they were all just a little on the safe side for what I was looking for.  I decided to embrace the improv/wonky/liberated style for this quilt.

I started by developing my palette of fabrics or ‘curating’ my fabrics as Sherri says.  (Just that word – Curate – makes me feel like an artist.)  I decided a quilt made of 4 different camouflage fabrics and purple CR bags would be a tad boring.  Digging through my stash, I came up with the stack of Cherrywood (a Minnesota company) hand-dyed fabrics that I had bought in Houston.  Some of them were a perfect match, many of them blended in and some of them just added the spark/splash of unusual color that was needed.  I also used the remains of my neutral Japanese taupe collection.


Once I had my fabrics curated, I opened the book and started on Score 1.  I believe there are 10 scores in this book – each a different style of improv piecing.  The first one is called Floating Squares.  I selected 3 fabrics (dark camo, beige and a warm chocolate brown).  My squares were more rectangles but I like what I did.  I will probably add more once I get further along in the lay-out process.


In the meantime, I decided to make a couple wonky stars.  I used Bonnie Hunter’s Maverick Star tutorial.  I also liked the idea of taking some of the CR bags and using them without much modification.  I came up with the idea to appliqué the ‘tongues’ onto a long strip of fabric

IMG_4214 (1).

Next, I was on to Score 2 – which I’ll cover in the next blog post.


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A quilt for K3



My Bro is planning to retire from the military after 30-odd years of service within the next couple years.  To celebrate and honour him, I am making him a quilt, with his knowledge and ideas.  His requests…..include the Crown Royal bags he’s collected over the years and use the three different styles of camouflage uniforms he’s worn over his career.  Oh, and make it MAN SIZED – cuddle up in the recliner sized.  Other than that….I’m on my own!

My friend Candy had some extra Crown Royal bags so I have about 35-40 of them to work with (GREAT plenty!).  I brought back 3 uniform shirts from our last trip which I have deboned and have been looking at, waiting for inspiration to hit.


I also added in some Japanese taupe fabrics and some of the Cherrywood hand-dyed fabrics I bought in Houston.  I’m liking the way the fabric palette is developing.


This won’t be a quick project.  I actually intend to work on it through-out the year.

The pattern?  hmmmm……it will be one of those quilts that develops.  Mostly without a concrete plan.  I’m thinking to do it in a more wonky/improv/liberated style.  Think Sherri Lynn Wood, Gwen Marston, Gees Bend, Rayna Gilman.  I also think there might be some stars – probably wonky stars of some sort.  I’ll include his name badges & stripes.  A pocket or two.  Other than that – I’m winging it.

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