Monday, July 18, 2011

"Windows into Europe" - A Finished Quilt

-My giveaway ends tomorrow night (Tuesday)! Did you enter yet?-

This is the quilt I've been slaving over for the past three weeks, and it has quite a story behind it! I'm so ready to share with you all!

Julie is my best friend from high school and soon-to-be maid of honor. Julie and I both went to Europe this summer on separate trips - a dream we both had.

Julie is an amazing photographer. She also blogs like nobody's business. I knew she was going to come back from her trip with FANTASTIC pictures, so I concocted a plan to make her a quilt for her birthday/college graduation gift (usually I don' t like to combine gifts but you all know how expensive quilts get - and I'm still a relatively poor college student). And this was a very special quilt.

I ordered a bunch of Echino fabric from various etsy shops - trains, cameras, buses, the London print - as well fabric with a map of Paris, and Michael Miller Bicycles in Haze (she loves biking). London and Paris were her favorite cities. I also recently won two Lecien FQs from Kate - which was PERFECT - candy shop fabric (Julie went on a Harry Potter tour in London), and the other fabric said "Paris" all over it. How's that for timing??

So I ordered, like, 60 dollars worth of fabric :) And planned to use part of my stash of Soul Blossoms, Kona and Bella solids, and various purple/greens/blues from my stash (this was the hard part - those are my favorite colors, and I wanted to keep this quilt like you wouldn't believe).

Julie returns. I get very impatient for her to post her photos on Facebook so I could get started. Julie posts them in little bouts and wait for me to start commenting on them. I didn't realize that and started to get restless - she went to so many places - besides London and Paris: Innsbruck, Austria, Venice, Amsterdam, Switzerland, and Munich and Heidelberg, Germany.

I added all the pictures that were her favorites into a folder - which became 70 photos! I narrowed it down to less than 20. That was really difficult.

Last part of the story: As soon as the fabric I ordered arrived, Julie asked me to make her a T-shirt quilt! Gulp. She gave me her box of shirts, and we even went out and picked backing and binding fabric. I worked on the Europe quilt under the ruse of working on her other quilt... :) So yesterday I told her that her quilt was done...

This is when she's thinking "...I don't see my t-shirts!"
And the question everyone asks me: "How did you get the pictures on there!?!?" - I have a tutorial with how to use Bubble Jet Set coming up soon! - and my experience using it.

We had a lot of fun with this quilty photo shoot - can't you tell? :)

I LOVE these little Michael Miller travel gnomes. Travelocity much?

These are my favorite blocks. The Paris block was the first one I made, and it has the Paris map fabric. I love how the Soul Blossom flowers go so well with the Eiffel Tower arch that Julie so beautifully shot!

Then, the London block. Julie took a great picture of the London Eye, so I surrounded it with everything that made me think of London, including that beautiful Echino London print and umbrellas from Rainy Days and Mondays. And the guitars are there because she didn't know London was "punk-y" :)

This is the "girly" block, because she took a picture of a girl with her pink sandals highlighted against the black and white (sorry that it's hard to see her photography! It didn't come out as well in the sunlight as I'd have liked, but it looks great on the quilt).

This is a wedding shot from Germany (I think), and a bike ride through the Dutch countryside.

This is another Paris block - she took a lot of pictures from the top of the Eiffel Tower, so I put a print of the tower in the middle of two of said pictures.

Quilt stats:
57 x 62 in
Binding - Dumb Dot Charcoal

I chose log cabins in order to showcase the pictures as much as possible. Some of the log cabins were made wonky/differently - in order to put two pictures on one block. Each block took about 45 minutes to make.

Quilted: On my Brother machine. I quilted in random squares and I LOVE how it came out!! It was hard though - quilts that are bigger than baby quilts are always... more difficult =P But I made it. The title, "Windows into Europe" was also inspired by the squares - as well as the fact that Julie loves taking pictures of windows =P I also hand quilted many of the solid strips.

Basting: I tried spray basting. It was good at first, but it didn't stay long - I ended up having to do it twice and include some safety pins as well. Does anyone have any suggestions? Do you have a specific brand you like to use? Please let me know!

This is why I quilt! :)

Linking up to the following linky parties:

Sew Happy Geek

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creationsa

Fresh Poppy Design

Creative Itch


  1. I lovity Love love love it!!!! Thank youuuuu :D Its definitely in the top five for best, most thought-out and worked-on and heartful gifts Ive ever gotten!!!! Thank you! <3333 Now what am I possibly going to get you for graduating??? Ah! :-p ~Snaz

  2. What a beautiful quilt and an even better story behind it! :) Thanks for linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday and have a great week!

  3. Oh Jess, it's fabulously gorgeous! love the idea of using photos, and the colours are divine. I've used bubble jet set a little but nothing like what you've achieved, it must have taken you AGES!

  4. I greatly enjoyed the story as well as the photos of the quilt. I lived in Heidelberg for 7 years and miss Europe so much. Your quilt brought back memories and also gave me something to aim for when I can one day surprise myself and do something similar. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Fabulous choice of fabric! Love the quilt!

  6. Yay! What a wonderful surprise! Good on you, Jess.

  7. OMGosh Jess that is fantastic. She must have been so happy and you must be proud. What a heartwarming and forever gift!!

  8. What a beautiful and special gift for your friend! She will treasure it always.

  9. It's a quilt full of memories and a fantastic gift!

  10. Hi Jessica! That is so wonderful quilt! Amazing story and how you have find all those perfect fabrics for this 'story quilt'! It will be a treasure to your friend!
    Sunny wishes from Greece!

  11. What an amazing gift full of love and memories - Julie will have it forever and always be reminded of your wonderful friendship.

  12. Lovely - and as so much personality :)

    BTW I'm hosting a Fabric Giveaway over at my site and giving away 12 FAT quarters. Swing by if you get a chance:


  13. Very nice quilt, and I agree the photo shoots can be very fun!


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