How to make a quick quilt: 1

I’ve decided to take a break from my embroidery and dollhouse projects for a bit, and make a quick quilt. This because I’m due to go on holiday in a few weeks, and I want to get a project started that will be very portable and simple to do while I’m on the move.

I’d actually been looking around for a simple embroidery project, but then I saw this lovely fabric, and decided that I really wanted it!! It’s a fabric by Northcott, called ‘Stonehenge: A Stitch in Time – Quilt Blocks panel’. I got a half yard piece for £7.50 from The Corner Patch, which is based in Sheffield. They have a really good website. I bought the yellow gingham (a Makower fabric) at the same time. The mustard colour fabric was just lurking in my stash  🙂

cheater quilt

I’m planning to use the yellow gingham for the backing, and the mustard fabric to bind the edges. The quilt is only little – it’ll be about 20 by 25 inches when it’s finished – more like a tabletop quilt than a cot quilt, even. Sometimes these panels that you just do quilting on, without having to make the patchwork first, is called a ‘cheater quilt’. I can see why! I’m planning to use it as a sort of blanket for my reproduction dolls to sit on, at the base of one of my doll’s houses.

I bought some wadding for the quilt from Cotton Patch, based in Birmingham, for £7.95 – they stock loads of different types of wadding, but the kind I bought is cotton/polyester blend, specially for hand quilting. I only needed a small piece, obviously, so I bought their small pack for crib quilts, and I’ll still have enough left over to make several more of this size.

cheater quilt fabric yardage

I sandwiched up the layers, and pinned them one on top of the other, then tacked the fabrics together in both directions, starting from the centre and using long straight stitches, with the rows about three inches apart.

patchwork fabric

Then I just have to do running stitch along all of the lines on the fabric where they have already printed little running stitches! This is so easy, and it’s a great project to do in short bursts, when I only have a few minutes at a time. The ‘patches’ are about four inches square on the fabric, and each one takes about an hour to quilt. The wadding is thin enough to quilt by hand, and makes nice little ‘puffs’ on the fabric, which you can see in the picture above – the patch in the top right hasn’t been quilted yet, but the one on the left has.

I like to use a number 10 size quilting needle for my hand quilting. They are very short, so they are easy to manoeuvre through the layers of fabric. I’ve got a quilting thimble, but I never use it, so I just put up with getting  a hole in my middle finger!!

I used polyester thread for the basting, and 100% cotton quilting thread 50/2 by Aurifil in a deep cream for the actual quilting, which I bought from the Cotton Patch when I bought the wadding.
hand quilting

It’s quite obsessive, once I get going on it – I love the rhythm of just making the simple running stitches, over and over again. It’ll be a good one to take with me on my hols!


Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.


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Book review: Learn to do hand quilting in just one day, by Nancy Brenan Daniel

I recently bought this slim A4 size paperback of 64 pages after seeing very good reviews of it on It was originally published in 1996, but the first edition had about half the pages, and only a few projects. This edition, from 2008, has been expanded to have eight projects (most of them new ones), but the basic text is the same.

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After the large title of ‘Learn to do hand quilting in just one day’ it is easy to overlook the sub-title, ‘…and then practice for the rest of your life’. The author, Nancy Brenan Daniel, makes it very clear from the beginning of the book that basic hand quilting is an easy skill to pick up, but it is constant practice which makes an average quilter into an expert one. There are many tips that Nancy imparts, in a friendly but informative tone. The early pages, describing equipment and materials, give the pros and cons of various things you could choose, rather than being bossy about what you ‘should’ use.

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The ‘Getting ready to hand quilt’ section shows you how to start and end your threads, and detailed descriptions with diagrams on how to make the ‘dimple-style’ running stitch that you will use to quilt. There is a good Q & A section at the end of that chapter about how to improve your technique.

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Then the projects. Personally, I am not into ‘quick and easy’ modern-style projects, even though I can see their usefulness. I want to get straight on with the difficult stuff! There are both types in this book. I was drawn to buy this book by the picture on the cover, as that is the kind of project I want to make – an almost ‘wholecloth’ look, with just a little patchwork around the edge, more like a deep border than a patchworked piece, really. Maybe that’s ambitious, but it’s likely to be the first project that I tackle from this book. The instructions for it are detailed, with template designs for all the elements printed full size on the pages, and suggestions for how to finish the quilt.

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At the back of the book are several pages of quilting motifs, to use in your own projects (not just the ones in this book), which make it good value for money, as buying individual quilting stencils can work out quite expensive.

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I can see why this book gets such good reviews on Amazon – it really is a useful book. There are many books on patchwork designs and techniques, and on machine quilting, but not many on the hand quilting side – especially the more ‘traditional’ aspects.

It is published by the American School of Needlework, and costs $9.95 (I paid £5 on Amazon). ISBN 978 1 59012 230 3.


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