Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quilting for Woman’s Best Friend

Challenge # 1: free motion quilting requires a lot of practice.  Challenge #2: I needed more blankets on the couch to keep the couches clean and to make Bandit, the dog who adopted us last winter, more comfortable. Solution: I made a doggy blanket for Bandit and practiced my free motion quilting. It was a win-win situation. No matter how good or bad the quilting, Bandit won’t complain. That’s one of the reasons he’s our BF!

Bandit on the pink blanket
Bandit on the pink blanket
There are several blankets already on the various chairs and couches around the house, but none had been made specifically for our Bandit. Here’s Bandit on one of my very pink quilt. It’s a good thing that he’s quite confidant in this masculinity!

While I was in Philadelphia, I bought a few doggie fat quarters. Unfortunately, the colour palette leaves a lot to be desired – brown, grey, beige and black. I know that dogs are colour blind, but I’m not!
The Gallery pattern adapted to lap size

Thank goodness one of the fabrics had a hint of a teal blue on the dogs’ collars. I also picked up an interesting promotional pattern on that trip. The pattern is The Gallery by Heidi Pridemore that was used to feature the Illustrations fabric collection by P&B Textiles.
Free motion bones

Free motion hearts / leaves

I wanted to make Bandit’s quilt lap-size so one evening I sat and adapted the pattern. That was trickier than I expected, particularly keeping track of those ¼ inch seams. I made a few minor calculation mistakes, like the top-right panel that’s a couple of inches too large.  Since I’m trying to keep my quilting in perspective (i.e. it’s a practice piece for the dog), I didn't redo the block.
Writing on the quilt

I had a great time free motion quilting it. I did quilt some bones but I didn't see myself quilting bones for 5 or 6 hours! I loved the heart/leaves that I came up with.

To keep practicing and for variety, I wrote out Bandit’s name and “Woof” a few times. I also quilted a design by Leah Day – Icicle Lights. I included them on the quilt since they look like snowflakes and Bandit loves to eat snow. He’s originally from Florida so his first winter here was an adaptation. Bandit loves to eat and it was a momentous occasion when he discovered that 1) he could eat snow chunks and that 2) they were everywhere! He’s now a huge fan of winter!

 Here's Bandit enjoying his quilt.

Lessons learned:

  • Adapt patterns when you’re mind is fresh – not after a full day’s work! It will probably lead to fewer miscalculations.
  • The amount of un-sewing on a quilt should depend on the context (like who gets it and what it’s for).
  • Even if a free motion stitch is easy, practice it on a scrap before using it on the quilt. That’s why there are no pictures of that lovely Icicle Lights pattern. It’s worth checking it out.


  1. Bandit it gorgeous. Dogs are such good friends!

  2. lessons learned - very useful hints. Thank for spelling them out.

  3. Making a doggy blanket for my bdf is on my list of things to do. And you're right... it would be a great place to practice fmq.


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