Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Surprise Doctor Who Quilt - "Allons-y, Allonso"

Here's the quilt I've been hiding in my closet under rolls of batting for almost a year! It's HUGE (nearly queen size) and was only supposed to be lap-size... oh well. If you're gonna go for "special quilt," going big works!

I thought it might be fun to explain the process in list form. Without further ado, 8 Steps to making a quilt for your significant other:

  1. Get inspired and spend the money: The Doctor Who quilt idea was conceived last February. Mike and I were nearing the end of Season 6 (the newer episodes, not the ones from the 1960s) and I discovered this lovely (though understandably pricey) website called Spoonflower. Mike didn't have a quilt yet, and I wanted to make him something manly, tasteful, and special. Enter browsing and agonizing over several days about which prints to buy.

  1. Hide all supplies: When the Spoonflower order came, it took EVERYTHING for me not to show him how COOL the fabrics are! OMG! Seriously, Whovians, you get me, right? For most of the year (until this quilt became a full top), all fabrics and blocks were stashed in an innocent plastic bag, out of site.

  1. Be a sneak: Send him/her links to quilt ideas and ask for a ranking. Mike LOVES consistency and order, so it's no surprise he loved Churn Dashes the most. That happens to be my favorite block in the world, so this project got even more epic. Also, this survey was done shortly after I received the fabric, so it's safe to say he forgot all about it in a year's time.

^A catchphrase from one of our favorite characters, River Song. Plus, "sweetie" is a name we've been using around here for a while, so it fits us.
  1. Work on project whenever he/she isn't home: Since my sewing time often collides with times Mike is around, I brought this project  to at least 3 separate sewcials throughout the year. The added annoyance of pressing blocks that already had been pressed (but had been in a bag for a month or two) was part of the whole process. I learned to savor any time I got to work on this thing.

^Catchphrases of the 9th, 10th, and 11th Doctors

  1. Kick your butt into gear: When the New Year came, it suddenly occurred to me that there wasn't much time left (his birthday is February 22, and I definitely didn't want to keep the secret longer than that). I hastened to work on the top any time I was home and he wasn't. I also found the PERFECT backing (he loves the Hooty Hoot Owls by Riley Blake, and Hawthorne Threads had the flannel) around that time.

  1. Avoid social media: Just in case he's sneaky like my sister, I didn't post ANYTHING on here or on Instagram about this quilt. I worked on it so much lately, so this was a difficult feat!

 ^Silly sister

  1. Try, try, try: I got it basted  with a week until his birthday, but the week just didn't present the time I needed to quilt it. Also, I couldn't decide on a quilting design and that was bugging me. I'd rather wait than commit and/or rip (for something this special, it was worth it).

  1. Surprise!: My original idea was to throw the (just basted) quilt over him on the morning of his birthday, but I couldn't contain the fact that I had a really awesome present. He was so excited so I agreed to give it to him at midnight. :) I made him close his eyes and sit facing away from my closet, and I just threw it on top of him. HA. It ended up being QUEEN SIZE (non-intentional but perfect for another bed quilt), so it was pretty much impossible to wrap a just basted together (they are always so much bulkier before being quilted... right?).

I quilted all of the squares and triangles made from churn dash intersections with square or triangular spirals. Each churn dash and background got special treatment (I'm especially loving large pebbles right now). This was the second time I used Aurifil to quilt, and I was NOT disappointed! My machine loves it, too.

The quilt is bound in Lizzy House's Constellations, a line which also served the rest of the quilt perfectly. I threw some manly black and some teal in for good measure!

 Can you tell it was a bit windy on photoshoot day?


I'm really glad this quilt is finally with its rightful owner. After his birthday, all I kept hearing was, "when is my quilt going to be done?" Now he can stop bugging me and just enjoy it ;).

Oh... and if you're wondering about the name - I mentioned above that "allons-y" ("let's go" in French?) is the 10th Doctor's catchphrase. There's a really great random moment in one episode that we have recounted many times around here (geeky and proud!):



  1. oh man I'm still geeking out about the fabric--seriously some of my favorites from Spoonflower that I've pined over! Love all the quilted catch phrases! Your quilting looks better and better every time I see one of your quilts. I love that you made a list on how to make you SO a quilt in secret--it's on my list for the next yearish.

  2. An awesome quilt and surprise! Churn dash blocks are brilliant and you've used a great mix of fabrics!

  3. LOVE both of your Dr Who quilts!
    I've been considering making one myself!

  4. it looks amazing! and I love spoonflower, I haven't sucked up the cost to purchase anything there yet, but when I was into The Sims games, I would use their thumbnails to make custom wallpaper :)

  5. Love it. I specially like the cursive writing. Very nicely done.

  6. I really want to do a quilt like this for my husband! I've looked at the Spoonflower fabrics but haven't bought anything because of the cost; and because I don't know what kind of pattern to do, I don't know how much of the fabrics to buy. I love how you added Constellations in yours. It works so perfectly!

  7. How fun! Loved your telling of this quilt's "story" - so glad hubby is able to enjoy it now. What a great reward.

  8. I love the look of spoonflower fabrics - and I'd love to know how they wear in relation to other fabrics! There are quite a few I sigh over fairly regularly. I'm Australian so the cost is still relatively cheap to us - but there's always a million fabrics I want, and it's hard to pick!

    When it comes to the quilt... just gorgeous. I never used to be a fan of the churndash blocks but I'm really coming around now! And I love the way you managed to sneakily complete the quilt :^) Great finish!

  9. what an awesome quilt Jess, and what a fun surprise :-)

  10. Turned out great - thanks for sharing your story on the making of the quilt.

  11. That is AMAZING! I think it's one of the most subtle Dr. Who quilts I've seen. I would never have been able to keep the secret that long.

    And thanks for explaining "allons-y" My four kids all love the show and get impatient with me when I don't get all of the references. :-)

  12. What a great quilt for your Sweetie! I am so bad-I can't keep the quilt a secret from mine. Terrific job and bullet points!

  13. girl. it looks great! what a treasure - and you always get to enjoy it too!

  14. That is awesome! Love me a Doctor Who quilt! Fabulous, Jessica!

  15. This is great, love those big churn dash blocks!

  16. I love churn dash blocks and the fabrics you used are awesome. Fabulous quilt and sweet story behind it!

  17. Wonderful!! Or, I suppose I should say, "Fantastic!" The Who-fabrics are great. I love that you used so many different ones. I love the one with all the writing, and how it includes some classic Doctor Who sayings & items.

    I'm sure I'll do a Doctor Who quilt at some point. It might be fun to do something with some squares dedicated to Companions over the years. Clara's could have souffles (Where does she get the milk?), Daleks, Victorian, & Modern (what a hodge-podge Clara is), Captain Jack's would need some beefcake and a quilted "And you are?" (And did you know Alonzo met Jack in a bar?), Amy's would have the crack in the wall and an 11-doll, etc. Oh, what fun! I guess I need to work on the 4 or 5 quilts in the pipeline first!

  18. I didn't see your FMQ lettering at the meeting. You did an amazing job! Your lines are so fluid. It looks great!!

  19. What an awesome bday present! Great fabrics (those Constellations prints are favs of mine : ) and great design. What a wonderful secret you kept, Jess!

  20. Great quilt and a fun way to tell the story too. Such a great thoughtful gift!

  21. this is an amazing quilt! I love the big churn dashes!

    Thanks for linking to Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  22. GERONIMO!!!!
    What a fantastic quilt!! love the fabric with the police box…. need to get me some!
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

  23. love this!! I'm a recent Whovian (since Christmas) and am almost finished catching up so I can watch the new 12th doctor! what a great choice on fabrics and the quilted in phrases - i may have to borrow that idea if i make a DW themed quilt. well done!

  24. This is such a great quilt. My grandson loves DR WHO. what size are your blocks.

    1. Hi Grace, I don't have your email, so I can't reply to you -so I hope you see this! Try this tutorial, it's similar to what I did.


Let's start a conversation! I love comments and I'd be happy to reply to all who have an email address accessible. Thanks for commenting!


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