Friday, May 21, 2010

Free-Pieced Castle Quilt for my Little Princess

This quilt is my exhibit in the Blogger's Quilt Festival. The timing of the festival couldn't be better as I just finished this quilt two days ago and it is for my daughter's 3rd birthday which is tomorrow. It is called Royal-T aka Tess's Princess Castle Quilt.
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(Click any photo to enlarge if you wish)

As you can see, I used muted tones and matching fabrics ... ;-) Ha!
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Oh well, I like bright colours and it looks coordinated to me anyway. (... and I actually find the pictures make the quilt look more pale than it is in person)


I like to free-piece without a pattern because then I can make it up as I go along and throw in anything I want (also, mistakes can just be called design decisions instead, perfect!). Plus it gives me lots of opportunities to fussy cut, which I love. See my daughter and me up there in that tower? (It is amazing how much that little fabric girl looks like my daughter. Me? My fabric lady is more of a flattering approximation, but my daughter knows it represents me so that's what counts.)
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The flags are the provincial flag of New Brunswick. I was able to cut them out of fabric that showed flags of all the Canadian provinces. I love, love them ... castles always have flags and we are proud New Brunswickers.


One of the first things I made for the quilt was the door. Those birds are of course another fussy cut, from some Jennifer Paganelli fabric. I just thought they looked regal and elegant. I was also able to use some of the same fabric for window trim which worked well.

The birds also guard the corners of the quilt. At first I made free-pieced princess crowns for the corners but it just didn't look right. The birds are way better.


The back of the quilt got the royal treatment with some Flea Market Fancy fabric. Most of the back is the yellow seeds fabric. The other portion shown in the photo is a strip down the back. I don't sign my quilts, but I use that I Love You fabric somewhere on the back of the kids' quilts. And see the fussy-cut me there again?

Blooper reel ... That's my husband under there. He rests the quilt on his head when his arms get tired and I am still insisting on more photos. It is to appease me as I am saying "Don't let it get on the ground!" You understand, right? I mean, it had even rained earlier ... the grass was still damp!

This quilt definitely had its frustrations, but was worth it. I am glad I stuck to my idea of making fabric bricks for the castle. I sewed strips, then sliced them up, then lined them back up in a staggered pattern, then sewed. It worked well! The trickiest thing was trying to get the whole castle and background neatly put together using the least amount of pieces and knowing I could only sew straight lines. Any angled pieces were big, big annoyances. I am still new at this (5 months since I got my first rotary cutter) so I figure I will eventually learn how to do angles easily ... or I hope so anyway.
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The next most challenging thing was choosing fabrics. I rejected many of my early choices. Honest.
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Speaking of fabrics, a few others that are in there include Michael Miller Speckled Bird for the fantastical bird-filled sky. Rainbow Print from The Rainbow Garden by Prints Charming was used for the mountains. Others are Kaffe Fassett Stencil Carnation, more Michael Miller, more Jennifer Paganelli, Bubblegum Basics flowers, Henry Glass Fandango in turquoise and magenta, a Moda fabric that looks like bricks for the front step ... and on and on. The binding is Woodgrain in pink by Joel Dewberry.

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The quilting is a simple overall stipple done by long-arm at my local quilt store (Thanks Tina!). Thank goodness someone else did it as I would have been petrified to wreck it.

It is a twin-sized quilt. Earlier posts showing the quilt in progress can be found here, here, here and here. (You will be able to see some of the changes I made along the way)
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Thanks so, so much for stopping by! If you would like to see more quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival just click here or on the icon on the sidebar. You'll be glad you did!

58 comments:

Leah said...

What a fabulous quilt - I love it, and I'm sure my daughter would too!

Rafael's Mum said...

What a lovely bright quilt! I am sure your daughter loves it! Like the pics with your husband struggling and the green trees best.

Jackie said...

An absolute perfect quilt for a little princess. Love the blooper and I totally understand about not getting it on the ground. Beautiful quilt with lots of wonderful thought and detail.

Julie said...

This quilt is too clever! Thanks for sharing it.

Wanda said...

Beautiful Riel! You were always so artistic! You are inspiring me to do a quilt.

Lesly said...

What a knockout! I love the bright colours and your fussy cutting is spot on! Great job - thanks for sharing with us!

Anne at Film and Thread said...

What a treasure! Esp. impressed that you did it free-piecing.

Bethany said...

What a great looking quilt! I love to see free pieced blocks and quilts.

Dresden Quilter said...

Wow, what an incredible quilt. I love all the thought and fussy cutting you put into it. I like bright colours too. Your daughter is very lucky.

badlandsquilts said...

Great quilt! And I love the use of the I love you fabric, great idea!

shellysquilts said...

This is a fabulous quilt! Well done!

Martine said...

très lumineux ,superbe,félicitations

janet said...

I adore this, it is so creative!The colors are fun and fabulous. I love the birds you put in it too;)


And Happy Birthday to the little
princess!

Katie B. said...

Oh, my goodness. What little girl wouldn't love this?

Carol said...

What a fun princess quilt. Love the little details.

Michelle said...

You're new to quilting??? I'm totally impressed. I've been quilting for 15 years, and free-piecing is beyond my ability. Such a gorgeous, vibrant quilt. Your daughter is going to love it!

Barbara said...

Love it!!!

Rachel said...

Oh I love it, Riel. Did you give it to Tess yet? She will treasure this forever!

I can't remember what you said about the quilting - was this sent to a long-arm quilter or did you do it yourself?

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow you did an amazing job on such a fun quilt!

Allie said...

What a beautiful, inspired treasure of a quilt! Love all the special touches and your story of it!

Kate said...

Great quilt! I love all the little details that you've put into it.

Candi said...

You're new to quilting and you made this??? Holy moly! Its incredible and one of the best quilts I've ever seen. Fantastic job!

Angie said...

Kudos for the free piecing. You've done a wonderful job and it's a lovely quilt. I'm sure your daughter is going to love being wrapped up in it!

kwiltmakr said...

Wonderful quilt. It reminds me of the Narnia series of books.

wishes, true and kind said...

A gorgeous and very special quilt! Your daughter must adore it! Every girl needs her own princess castle, right? I have been watching since you first posted about this and sent a link to Jennifer Paganelli. Really fun use of her fabulous fabrics.

I had to laugh at your husband resting his head so the quilt wouldn't touch the ground. I wanted to take one more outside photo of my daughter's quilt that I posted for the festival but she nixed the idea because it was damp outside from rain. :)

Kathy said...

Awesome princess quilt! I have followed your progress on this one as you made it and it was fun to see more photos of it today. Your daughter is very fortunate to get it for her birthday.

Victoria @ BUMBLE BEANS said...

great use of those fabrics! very fun!

Marjorie said...

Every princess needs a castle. I bet it was as fun to make as it is to look at.

Riel said...

Wow, everyone is making my day! Thanks so,so much for all the wonderful comments!!

AJ said...

OMG!!! Stunning!! Perfect for a princess!!

Helen said...

Fantastic colours!!! Just beautiful.

canuckquilter said...

You are one creative lady! This is wonderful and I'm sure your daughter loves it.

Leslie said...

this is so pretty bright and fun. you did such a great job on the castle

Jill said...

What a great quilt for a princess! I love how bright and happy it is.

Karen said...

What a simply outstanding quilt!!!! Love it and all the wonderful touches you added.

sewshesews said...

That is a work of art! Just gorgeous! What a treasure for your daughter :)

Stephanie said...

Amazing quilt!

Jennifer said...

Some regal fussy cut...nice work...

quiltmom said...

I love your piece of art- very pretty and fun and what great fabrics you used. I have just bought a few Kaffe Fassett fabrics and I am still pondering how I am going to use them.
Your daughter will treasure it always.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful quilt.
Regards,
Anna
http://quiltmomsjourney.blogspot.com/

mary said...

What a great quilt for a lucky 3 year old.

Oddbjørg said...

A great quilt for a little girl!

Deborah said...

Beautiful! I love the colors!

piecemealquilts said...

Normally I like quilts to have a little "white" space - someplace for the eye to rest, whether it's actually white or another neutral solid. This quilt, however, is perfect exactly the way it is. It just screams active little girl, and it has so much meaning in the details.

szkornelia said...

Such a lovely quilt! I am sure its little owner loves it.

Mary said...

This turned out so well! I love how you just do your own thing and don't use patterns. Sometimes I'm like that and sometimes I get hung up on doing a very traditional quilt. I really need to just play more like you do and hope to get the same spectacular results that you do...although I suspect that you are more artistic in nature that I am :-) This castle is worthy of any little princess and I know she will treasure it forever!

Rose said...

Oh, this is wonderful!!! Mary sent me here and it was well worth it.

You can see my entry for the festival HERE.

Chancy said...

That is adorable and really impressive, especially for being so new at it all.

GLÒRIA said...

Very, very, very nice quilt!!! Good work!!! Happy Festival!

Vesuviusmama said...

No way! You've only been quilting for 5 months!?! Fantastic! I love the quilt, and hopefully your little princess did, too!

erin lebeau said...

wow! too cool! this is a little girl's dream quilt (i know one who would flip over it!) very impressive for a newbie--you just jump right in dontcha? http://erinlebeau.blogspot.com/

SewCalGal said...

Vibrant quilt. Delightful design. Just love it!

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

Randi said...

Love the colors and the fussy cutting.

Angie said...

Cute windows in the castle - - she is one lucky girl to have a fun castle quilt.

Amy - Park City Girl said...

I love your quilt - all the little details are so special! The colors are great - thanks for sharing :)

Riel said...

This has been such a wonderful quilt festival. Thanks so much everyone for all the kind comments!

Eileen said...

marvelous quilt, and fun story to go with it--always interesting to read the details! lucky little girl to have such a talented momma. love the bricks, love the flags, love it all. thanks for sharing

jodi @ Pleasant Home said...

A simply fantastic quilt!

Sandra said...

wow, first timer-- it is amazing what people create when they don't know they can't. What a blast of pink and fun.
Come see my antique quilt entries
http://utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com
http://starleyquilts.blogspot.com