Oh this beast turned out so simply and complicatedly adorable. I love it. Yes, it has some funk and whoopsees! But, for the most part, it is just grand. And warm. And I feel like the build up to this project completion and post should satisfy my blog quota for at least three months.

We have been sleeping with it even though it wasn’t done for a few weeks. The binding sewing was eye-bleedingly tedious but, I have to admit, it is lovely and beats machine-stitched binding. See how I get all quilt snobby and uppity now? I deserve it. I quilt. I hand-stitch a million yards of binding.

The pattern I designed is super simple. No baskets or holly hobbies or even diagonals. It was still a lot of work just to get the corners square. And, I am not just saying that. This whole business of exactness is not my strength. I am used to sewing on a lick and a promise and that behavior doesn’t fly in Quilt World. And, for the most part, I am proud to say those bastard corners are square yo. I for sure have a new crazy appreciation for the real Quilters out there.

This all started when I realized that I never ever prioritize our bedroom. The place where I sleep and wake. Where Margot was conceived (too much info? deal. true.). Where I was in labor for hours, where I regularly cuddle with any combination of the mammals in my household. When I do a shiquat (wish I knew how to spell this…my Italian brother-in-law uses it for a quicky clean) on the house for dinner guests, all the random stuff is piled in my room. We don’t dust our room. We rarely vacuum our room. We don’t change our sheets often enough. We don’t have dust bunnies in there. We have dust elk.

So, I decided I’d start with my bed. The tj maxx score was fine for a few years but I wanted a special, cozy, sexy covering for me and my man at night. Last year, I took a sewing class and learned very useful information that gave the necessary (misguided?) confidence to sew a quilt. The quilt colors were inspired by the pillowcases I made in that class. It took me a million hours to decide on the size of the quilt, the size of the squares, the number of fabrics, the picking out of the fabric, the binding, the composition. It took me a million hours to cut out the perfect squares and assemble and press.

And then the back side was slightly nightmarish because the size I picked for the quilt is larger than two widths of fabric selvage to selvage (like I had planned. ahem.) but the shenanigan evolved into a happy mistake because the border rocked but then I totally messed that up by not buying enough fabric but I had *just enough* of some fabric from the other side to polish the turd and make the corners…and…it actually turned out prettier than if my original fix for my original idea had been realized. yessssssssssssss.

The putting together is hard. I had my perfectly square front and my perfectly square back and my batting and laying those puppies in a stack is no small feat. A martini didn’t even help my clarity. I used the pattern on my giant rug as a guide, smoothed and smoothed the layers and pinned the pehjesus out of it.

When sewing I felt like Queen Margot must have felt at one of her obligatory balls. For the love of all things holy that it a lot of cloth to schlep around.

This book I love and refer to often. This video saved my life for the binding even though I hand-sewed instead of machine-sewed the back side (and she makes it all look like it is as easy as eating macaroni and cheese when the reality is that you are dealing with a tsunami of fabric and a toddler demanding your attention). This video saved my life for the tying. This video rocked my world regarding knot tying (!!!).

Two distinct yet conceptually connected sides.

One for the earthy, effervescent, sun-kissed spring and summer months of peas from the garden, breath-taking dips in the river and one, sultry air-exposed leg resting atop the covers:

One for the the hibernating, introverted, frost-kissed fall and winter months of root vegetable soup, rich wine with dear friends and laying spoons all night with a partner, kid, dog and two cats:

And, naturally, it is best when wrapped, cuddled, nestled and used. (About that maraca: My chicken refuses to let go of her stripedy maraca. She keeps a firm grip on the instrument during all manner of daily activity such as eating avocado, petting Alice, driving to the museum, sleeping in her crib. And so the maraca is, of course, played with in The Quilt.)

40 Responses to *quilt*

  1. TRB Holt says:


    BRAVO!! You done good, no not good…GREAT!!!!! I am so proud of you, this is truly beautiful sweetie. AND those matched corners, well I know! The pillow cases truly complete the LOOK.

    xoxo, Mom

    PS Bug’s foot is my new background!

  2. A labor of love, and what a lovely labor.

  3. Kelle says:

    Commenter #3: not bad.

    Oh, where do I begin?

    a: the reversible-come-season thing? profound. just brilliant, my dear, especially with your description of…what was it? the air-exposed leg resting atop the covers and the…frost-kissed fall. oh, write a book already.
    i love the sides equally. but the pillowcases? yum. amy butler fabric? love, love, love.
    b: and then the sewing machine? wherever did you find such a polished, vintage-looking beaut?
    c: the miraca. lainey went through a miraca stage, and i loved it. they are lovely little instruments, are they not?
    d: the foot. hello, wonderful, beautiful little foot. those pruney little lines. it looks almost newbornish.

    …oh, and the cat. love when your cat just randomly shows up in these posts.


  4. Kelle says:

    oh wait…will you send me your mama’s e-mail address? she sent me this beautiful poem on facebook, and i wanted to thank her…that sweet trb holt.

  5. paige says:

    You rock. Nice work Nici. Again you are inspiring for all. It is absolutely gorgeous.

  6. zarah says:

    Congratulations on finishing such a huge project. It’s beautiful!

  7. joan says:

    It turned out great. Beautiful job. I think Margot also approves. Love the foot photo. XOXO J

  8. Jean says:

    Lord, what an ordeal. Great that you stuck with it. It’s looks wonderful. Isn’t it crazy how a project progresses? Not enough fabric, etc., and then by just refusing to quit something marvelous emerges? I love that.

    hahahaha, that maraca! Hilarious.

    Are there people who read fortunes from the bottoms of feet instead of the palms of hands? Jeez, Margot, you’d have some fortuna there.

  9. Marcy Allen says:


    Very Nice Work! I can totally relate. Our room is never the priority, its never really all that clean, it gets dusty etc.
    So this month we bought a platform bed and that purchase inspired me to clean, hands and knees, corners etc. It is so nice! Just last night we were talking about how nice it is and relaxing a place to be now that its clean.

  10. Ginger says:

    wonderful quilt. wonderful tale.
    i love the big squares.

  11. I have the same Amy Karol book (I bought as a gift for a friend…at the last minute I bought them a different craft book and kept this one for myself! hehe).

    If you consider this your blog quota for 3 months, we will miss you dearly! (although I would totally understand, haha… it’s evident the amount of work you put into it).

    You really did a beautiful job with it.

  12. Patia says:

    And you did it all on an old Singer … too cool.

    Good job!

  13. Oh I am always a comment whore but I am especially loving that you all love my labor of love. Thanks!

    Regarding the questions about the sewing machine: That is my grandma’s Singer Featherweight. My mom learned to sew on it and so did I. I inherited it when my gram passed away several years ago. At times I wish I had a zig zag stitch or the ability to sew through thick stuff, but, for the most part it is just perfect. And so fun to use because of its soul.

  14. Casey says:

    You blow my mind and I love you for that! Sorry we didn’t tea/coffee/wine this week – we’ll make up for it this weekend. xx See you soon. You and your quilt are amazing.

  15. Lovely, lovely quilt! The colors are great…by fave? The baby foot of course, toes worth nibbling! I’m off to find my baby and nibble his toes!!! Kim

    BTW, first time here and I’m lovin’ it!

  16. sarah says:

    will you make me one next? :)

  17. Heather says:

    Ooooooh, girl, there I am all jazzed on my Amy Butler curtains and there you go with that quilt. Freakin’ nice job, it’s sooooo lovely. The martini thing cracked me up because I actually have a rule now: no drinking and sewing. I am prone to making myself bleed on things enough when sober….

    I wanna see a picture in a few years when it’s all loved on and worn in and even sweeter.



  18. Melissa says:

    I am going to send your blog to my mom, who is a quilter extraordinaire and will be able to truly appreciate your handiwork. Once, when I thought it would be sweet for her to teach me and for us to quilt together, we traced squares, I cut one out, just one, and decided I was not cut out for quilting. Ha ha. Couldn’t resist that. The hand-sewing is the reall deal. I love it; it’s so beautiful.
    I laughed at the Melissa & Doug instrument because it’s so familiar to me. How many times has Avi inadvertantly whacked someone (or himself) with one of those??
    And while you may have indeed reached your blog quota with this entry, I am sure I speak for your readers when I say that we would be too sad to not have another post soon (: But no pressure . . .

  19. Katie says:

    And you call me ambitious? Write the book already!

  20. Heidi says:

    that labor of LoVe is BEAUTIFUL. perfect and such a meaningful piece to pass on to bug one day. yeah, its that kind of special.

    reversible sides…HELLO! that is soooooo profound, such a great idea. love it. each season change or two, i too want something light and airy, fresh and new. however, when fall returns, i need something different. GREAT idea! coolest blog post ever about quilts!

    PS love the black (damask?) square so much… mixed with all the others.

  21. Alana says:

    Amazing work and an inspiration! oh and that wrinkly foot – so sweet. I didn’t think there was a more wrinkly foot than mine! Margot and I must be kindred souls being born in December and all…

  22. Jean says:

    I’m back again. I have mom’s old Singer just like that one. Sews only the straight line which is perfect for me. I learned how to sew on it–if you can call it learned for every minute was torture for me.

    Richard sews with it, too, now.

  23. I am so impressed and jealous! The quilt is just fabulous, and that darling little foot OMG!!! That’s the cutest thing EVER!!!

    Love your blog!I will be back for more!


  24. Love how it turned out. It is funny to see how far we each have come from our Sewing 101 class only a year ago…

  25. sallymandy says:

    That quilt is gorgeous. It’s like cooking. You can’t make a good quilt without good ingredients, and you picked out fantastic fabrics. The sweet baby foot is just the perfect accessory to the quilt.

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