On Giving It Away

*Also there will be a bit of fangirling.

A couple of months ago I was killing time at the library (it’s even better than a quilt shop because everything is free) while one of my kids was at a program. I was catching up on blog reading and found that Mary Fons had a new Quilt Scout column up. Since time was on my side, I read every one, starting at the first. I took notes as I went, thinking I would write to Mary about my reactions to her writing. (What? She likes mail!) I never did write to her and I recently recycled my notes.

A few bits from her columns stuck with me though, like this one: In the Venn diagram of “Nerdy,” “Creative,” and “Friendly,” “Quilter” is smack in the middle. Makes me chuckle. Another one that resonated with me was about giving quilts away.  Go read it, then come back here.

Back so soon?

When I was reading the entire Quilt Scout archives I had just gotten back a bag of my quilts that I had lent out for two displays at shows. It wasn’t a small bag either…it was the large IKEA bag and it was full. Very full.

The idea of unpacking that bag and shoving everything back into closets, under my bed, into a bin in the garage, and hanging things up with the winter coats exhausted me. I simply couldn’t do it. So the bag sat. And sat. And was discovered by my husband who asked “whose quilts are those anyway, and when are they coming to pick them up?”

Ugh. Quilts I made and loved but didn’t want anymore. The joy for me is in the making the quilts. Don’t want to give it away because that’s a lot of money! and time! and effort! Those are worth something. Or should be.

So the bag sat some more. Then I remembered Mary’s article. I realized I would rather give some quilts away than put them back in closet purgatory.

A rainbow batik wall hanging I got from a swap went to a friend who had liked the picture I posted on IG. She couldn’t believe I just gave it to her.

My Black Tea quilt. Giant quilt, 90″x90″. Loads of fabric. Took two years to quilt. #Quiltconreject. Best texture on any quilt I’ve ever made.

Nicole_Hannah_Black_Tea (Full)Nicole_Hannah_Black_Tea (Detail)

This went to Thea from my guild who, after I showed it at a guild meeting last fall, told me how much she liked it and how well it would match her bedroom. I had offered to sell it for the cost of fabric but that was too much for Thea. This week I left it in a bag for her to pick up.

I’m not saying you should hang around me and maybe I’ll give you a quilt, but darn does it feel good to pass these along. Maybe you’ve already discovered this and you’re all ‘duh, Nicole, of COURSE you should give quilts away.’ But try it sometime. You know you can always make another one.

Thanks Mary.

Tea Leaves, a finished quilt


Needs a wash for extra crinkly goodness, and to get rid of all the markings (especially the pink ones).

Idea was January? February? 2014 I liked the “Chai Tea” quilt from the “Vintage Quilt Revival” book. But I wanted to make mine HUGE. Not sure why I wanted to make it all grey though. Because black tea is wonderful?


Fabric bought through that winter/spring. Each block took a .25m (not a FQ because I couldn’t actually cut the sizes I needed from a FQ.) Blocks made by April 24, 2014.

I didn’t have the skills to do what I wanted in the blocks so I did the background first. Background quilted between July 2014 and November 16, 2014.


Isn’t that texture awesome?

Quilt put away after the domestic amputation of my left thumb Nov 16 2014. Bought a long arm to get this quilted (ha!)  and quilted the blocks Sept 22 – Nov 22, 2016. Some of them are awesome, some I was just trying things out. Not much shows up because the colours are so dark but all in all, it was good practice.


Some of my more successful motifs. I also tried to match the quilting to the pattern on the fabric.

Previous posts about this quilt are here and here. Most of the quilt was done before blogging.

Quilt Stats:

Title: Black Tea

Lifetime quilt no.60!

Started: April 2014

Finished: November 24, 2016 (138 weeks)

Size: 90″x90″ (unquilted top), 87.5″x88″ (quilted), still to be washed and measured

Number of pieces: 208

Quilting: dense custom quilting in each block and the background.

This is one of my thirteen projects on the Fourth Quarter of the 2016 Finish Along!

It’s a finish, so linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and with Myra at Finished or Not Fridays!

Edited to add: quilt is for sale. Super reasonable. Email me for details.

Day 443

Spent all day working away at the tea leaves quilt. Decided on binding (the grey crosshatch from the backing), trimmed, made the binding, sewed it on, and buried threads. Still to do: check the back for stray threads I missed, fix four inches of stitching, and re-do the binding. And wash it.

It seems that I’m having trouble with my binding these days…not sure why exactly. I machine sewed this one and half-way through wished I was hand sewing it. I finished it anyway so that I can take pictures and then I can re-do it at my leisure. Or not.

I’m looking forward to seeing it washed. The crinkly goodness will be amazing!


Day 441

Today I finished quilting the last block on my grey tea leaves quilt. Hooray! I had actually done all the blocks on the longarm, finishing it on October 11th, but there was one block I wasn’t happy with so I re-did it on my domestic. Doing a one inch checkerboard on a 22″ block on a domestic machine does take a while.

Now it’s time to bury threads and get it bound. I’m torn between two fabrics: the first is Carolyn Friedlander’s screen/crosshatch fabric (which I used as the backing) and the second is this cool large dot I bought to be the binding for this quilt. But now it’s time and I’m having second thoughts about using it. The dots have a diameter of 1.25″.

Here’s a mock up with the dots:


And with the crosshatch:


And a random pic:img_4046

Thoughts? Preferences?

Mid-week link ups: Let’s Bee Social and the Needle & Thread Network