Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doll Decisions

I really resonated with a recent blog post from Freshly Pieced last Wednesday.  She spoke of lots of thinking and planning and not much doing so I decided to post on this top I have been sitting on since 1993.  I belong to a small at work quilt club and each month of the year one member would present a block pattern and give a color combination preference. Those participating would make one block and give it to the owner who then had a lots of blocks that she just had to assembly in some fashion to be well on her way to a quilt. I provided the pale blue background fabric and requested that the dolls of the pattern I presented be dressed in jewel tones for a sort of UNICEF type feel. Their aprons be shoudl be white and could be made of any fabric and finished any way.  I loved the different aprons each doll has.  I learned from this experience that the ladies were quite creative, had different tastes, and slightly different variations of 1/4 inch seams.  The different block sizes I could deal with no problem and the extra effort in assembling was was well worth the variety of doll blocks I got back.  I inserted hearts between the dolls holding hands.

However, I did realize that I much prefer to create blocks than finish a quilt so this type of guild project, was good for me as a block giver but not as a block receiver.  Also each lady signed a 4"x6" rectangle of the pale blue background fabric with her signature on the wrong side of the fabric.  I was going to incorporate these somewhere on the back of the quilt.  And so the top is still not a quilt to this day.  I could not decide how to incorporate those signature blocks and also could not decide on a border and backing.   I have decided on a  border of coral paisley to pick up the color of the hearts with a binding of coral basket weave.  I did not have enough of either to do border and binding the same but I think the two together will add texture.  I plan to insert the stripe, about the width of a doll's leg or arm, between the  coral paisley and the quilt top as an edging to bring out and tie in with with most of the dress colors.

So this is my WIP but I cannot complete it until I figure out how to incorporate those twelve signature blocks.  I have them stapled to a piece of paper in the same placement as each associated block on the quilt so I know which lady did which block.   Since this is almost twenty years ago (gasp!) would any of them really care if their name was on it or not?  Some of the ladies I remember very fondly; other names I am quite embarrassed to admit I read and say "Who?".  Many have moved away and several have passed away.   This is the year to complete these random tops that have been "in progress" far too long.   But at least I can move forward and make a bigger top to sit around for awhile... and I am determined for it to be far less than another nineteen years!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


  1. I love those hearts and that top! And the paisley/stripes combo you picked is just about perfect, I think. I might do more stripes instead of the outer basket weave if you have enough fabric, but I think it'll look cute either way.

    On the back, could you find an appropriately sized/colored heart print, and then create a guide to the front in a block on the back? I love the look when people sew a block or two into their quilt backing, and then you'd be paying homage to the women who made each block.

    Alternately, you could just put the names all in one list and then use a little bit of that coral paisley to frame it on the back... I guess it sort of depends on what the signature blocks look like.

    Or, since I'm in an "A-word" state of mind, you could make a regular backing and then just applique the names on directly behind the dolls they made. I suppose that could be done with piecing too, it'd just (I assume) take longer.

    Any way you do it, that is one heck of a cute quilt - and assembly tends to be my least favorite part of quilt-making too, so I hear you!

  2. Wow! This is so cool. I really love your dolls, and what a fun story for the quilt. Good luck figuring out how to use the sigs - can't wait to see this one emerging. :D

  3. I absolutely love this quilt! What a great job you did? Did you design the pattern for the little girls? I would love to buy the pattern for the little girls if it's for sale. Thanks.
    Elaine Hill

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and glad you like the dolls. The pattern is in an old, old Debbie Mumm book Quick Country Quilting, but still available from Amazon at

      A new book sells for $12.00 and a used one for as little as $1.63.

      The heart border and the hearts scattered throughout the quilt are my own customization but I am sure you could figure it out or do something similar.