Friday, January 10, 2014

A Briar Rose Finish

My husband and I have a little joke: "75 Tokyo Drive: that's where toads come to die."  (Not our real address.)  We have many toads in our yard, and our oldest two kids just love them!  They have no fear of little critters like I do.  Sadly, though, despite our kids' enthusiasm for "caring" for the toads, the toads inevitably end up dead.  I'll spare you the details, only to say that our new rule is, "We look with our eyes and not with our hands."


Enter: Heather Ross's latest fabric line, "Briar Rose."  It is the perfect way for my oldest daughter, Elyse, to have toads to her heart's delight and to keep them "alive!"  (Not to mention crickets and honey bees, too.)

I purchased a layer cake at a deal, then let it taunt me.  For weeks and weeks, there it sat, and I just could not figure out what to do with it.  This fabric is just too perfect, and nothing seemed good enough.  Meanwhile, a little lady's sixth birthday was creeping closer and closer!


So, back to my default: patchwork.  I left half of the pieces in the 10 by 10 inch size, then quartered the other half of the pieces.  I stitched in some half-inch sashing all around, added a border or two, and I was done.  I like to let good fabric speak for itself.

First up: the aforementioned toads.  This photograph really does not do the illustration justice.  Of course. That said, I just LOVE the little daddy toad helping his baby wade into the water.  The baby toad left his romper on the picnic blanket, see?  It's these little details that make the illustration so wonderful.  And the other little toad learning to dive?  Too cute.  Not to mention the toad that is swimming with his child on his back.  And the details of the picnic? Oh, I could go on.


I think one reason I love this illustration so much is because it reminds me of a happy time our (then little) family had when we lived in Arizona.  We had recently been reunited after 5 1/2 months apart for my husband to do his Army training.  We decided to take a trip to the Grand Canyon and its environs.  One day, we were driving through Oak Creek Canyon on our way to see the red rocks of Sedona.  We stopped to picnic at a place called the Banjo Bill picnic area.

Henry was only 1 1/2 and Elyse only 2 1/2 and we hadn't planned for water, but they wanted to wade.  So I just undressed Elyse down to her underwear and let her go in!  (Henry was a bit more timid and was content to keep dry.) Well, we just lingered there and lingered some more, enjoying the water, the delight of the children in splashing, the light blazing through the trees and striking the water and the rocks.

My favorite picture from that day... see the glee on Henry's face?

What I remember most of all, is how we enjoyed just being together.  It was one of the happiest days of my life.

This toad print reminds me of that day, and I really wanted Elyse to have plenty of those little guys, so I did the backing in it.


Elyse also loves crickets.  Again, when we lived in Arizona, she would chase those around the backyard.  Catching and releasing, all evening long.  Such lovely weather, such lovely memories.

See my mistake in the quilting?  I tried to greet Anne's husband and daughter... while still quilting!  Clearly a no-no.

Next up: honeybees!  Look, this one is carrying pollen in her apron. In her apron !  So clever and so cute!  I love it.


And this one is knitting with a baby in a basket beside her.  Oh my.  Homemaking bliss.


Despite all these adorable creatures, I think that the strawberries on green are my absolute favorite.  I could look at these sweet illustrations all day long.


Did I actually just say, "I like to let good fabric speak for itself," and then ramble on and on?  Typical me.

Well... shall I tell you about the quilting?  It's my first time "longarming" it!  I really enjoyed it!  I chose these figure eights, sometimes called the Denyse Schmidt Scroll.  It was so much easier than wrangling this baby through the very small throat space of my home machine.


I think the middle of the quilt looks great, but I had a hard time doing just half the loop to finish the last row.  You can see messed up loops and the bubbles below.


Then Anne saved the day by offering to stitch Elyse's name into the quilt.  How wonderful!


Then I got back to my specialty: ruining the final touches.  Oops.


All that to say: despite my quilting mistakes, I love  this quilt.  Better yet, the birthday girl loves it, too; I'm so glad that this one is staying in the family!

(Linking up at Crazy Mom Quilts and Needle and Thread Thursday.)


  1. What an absolutely delightful quilt Lauren! Do not put yourself down with less that perfect sell yourself short! The design you chose is perfect- it beautifully shows the details in this amazing fabric. I am now the proud owner of your scraps which I am still choose a project for! And I am sure Elyse will treasure this quilt always!

  2. It's wonderful. My favorite Briar Rose quilt yet. (The green strawberries are my favorite too.)

  3. I absolutely love this design for using a layer cake and wanting to show off the fabric. Its' perfect :-)

  4. Beautiful! So glad Elyse loves it!

  5. Gorgeous, Lauren! And the "mistakes" are there to show that the quilt was lovingly made by someone who is not (yet) perfect.

  6. this is so beautiful! Happy happy birthday to Elyse! And I can't believe sweet pretty lady is coming up on a birthday, too! Love to all of you from the Groovers! We are praying for you!

  7. Oh this is beautiful! I have been back and forth about getting this line because I was unsure what to do with it. It's going back on my wishlist. What a perfect display of this fabric! Great job, it's just lovely!

  8. It looks great and I bet she loves that quilt forever :)

  9. I know why you LOVE this line of fabric!! It is quite appropriate for your family's adventures isn't it?! Sedona is wonderful isn't it?! I was only able to visit there once,but I am so glad I was able to at least that many times;)

    Elyse is a lucky girl to have this quilt!!

  10. What a great quilt! I love the idea of keeping some of the squares quite large to show off the fabric. I often have a hard time cutting up the cute prints my daughter picks, this would be a good way to use them.

  11. What a cute quilt. I love that fabric. What a great way to use a layer cake for fun fabric.

  12. Lauren, it is darling!! How sweet that you have such great memories to associate the quilt with. I'm sure Elyse is loving it!

  13. The longarming is awesome!!! I didn't know you had a chance to do it yourself, how wonderful. It looks beautiful and I love how Anne added Elyse's name. I love the pic from the picnic too. <3

  14. I LOVE this fabric line, and I think the simple pattern really lets them shine. I do that too- when I am absolutely in love with fabric, I find it so hard to cut into it. I always worry that putting into a quilt that isn't the "perfect" pattern will ruin it, ha!

    Thanks so much for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  15. What a sweet, sweet quilt. You picked just the perfect pattern for showing off that fabric, and I enjoyed reading the memories evoked by the illustrations. I'm sure Elyse won't care one bit about an uneven loop or two in the quilting.

  16. I like letting fabric speak for itself too. I enjoyed reading your sweet reasons why you loved each fabric. I have fabric I am emotionally attached to because it represents a precious memory to me. I love the simplicity of this pattern too. It was a perfect pattern for this fabric, so that the fabric could do the talking and not the block design. Happy Quilting!.

  17. So cute and pretty, I love the fabrics you chose, and the story behind them.

  18. Very nice! I have a fat quarter bundle on my table, pressed and needing a pattern. We just moved to Arizona and you are right about the crickets--our kitties love to chase them inside the house. Easier for me to find. I love your story that goes with the quilt. Your quilting is fine. Your little girl will love every stitch. Best wishes.

  19. It's totally wonderful! I love your story that went along with it!

  20. I know exactly how you feel about cutting into fabric that is exactly what you wanted. It's hard because nothing ever seems good enough to show the fabric off to it's best, but I think that you did a terrific job. I've been thinking about doing something similar with some really special princess fabric that I got for my little girl :). BTW: you are too hard on yourself about your perceived mistakes. Mistakes just prove that a human made it :)

  21. The quilt came out beautifully Lauren and I so much enjoyed your trip down memory lane.

    Thanks for sharing!

  22. What a lovely way to make the fabric speak for itself - beautiful :)

  23. I love how the simplicity of the design (while not being simple at all!) allows the fabrics to speak.

  24. A really great design and a really stunning birthday present for your daughter. It's not only a beautiful quilt but also has so many wonderful memories already attached to it.

  25. This is absolutely lovely! I have a layer cake and I've been searching for a quilt that will show off the fabric. Is this pattern online anywhere so that I can purchase or download it? This is just the quilt for me :)


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