Monday, July 10, 2017

#83 Celtic Midnight

Awhile back, my SIL asked me if I would make a quilt for a friend who has really helped her a lot over the last few years as she has been dealing with some health issues. As someone who lives with a brain injury, I understand the depth of gratitude one has for those who help instead of fade away. 

When I asked her what kind of quilt her friend might like, she said her favorite colors were black and gray, and sent me a picture of the tattoo she has.

I was told that the tattoo is a family tattoo. The Irish coach we hosted a few weeks ago told me that "family tattoo" could mean family in the tradition sense of parents and children, but it could also mean that it is the recognized knot for a particular family name. Both Eimer and I spent entirely too much time looking for the name of his knot with no luck. Now, sometimes, when I want to make a quilt, the idea materializes immediately and I know exactly what I want to do and how it can be made. And other times, my brain just doesn't seem to cooperate and I have complete mental block.

I still think I could translate this design into an angular version, but time's a-wasting and I wanted to be sure I had enough time to finish the quilt before we left for the Netherlands.

I did find this Celtic knot as a perler bead pattern by tacobell105527 on

(I saw the same pattern in a different colorway on Kandi Patterns. Both were posted in 2014, but I don't know which was first).

Fortunately for me, Ingrid like the pattern and told me to run with it! I recreated the pattern in EQ7 so I could get fabric yardages. I also added the corner sections.

I had a lot of fun playing around with the colors on this one. I'm keeping this Irish flag version in my back pocket as a possible quilt to make after we return from Ireland.

I made the quilt using Pellon 445JAS fusible interfacing for quick assembly. I may do the Irish one with pieced strips to see how much time that takes in comparison. But to give you an idea of how quickly it went together. I made the first block on June 28 and finished the binding on July 7, so nine days sewing a few hours a day. Not bad for a quilt that looks complicated!

The only tricky part about quilt assembly was making sure I kept my template in the same direction. I marked the top left side, which made it easy to adjust it as the paper got moved around as I worked. 

I also made sure that I measured after every row to make sure my squares were 2". It saved a lot of time when I only had to rip out one row to make adjustments rather than discovering inconsistencies when the whole block was done. 

Ironing seams open is my least favorite part of making quilts this way, but it went pretty well this time.

Fun fact: I almost always wear my hair in a ponytail. I don't like hair in my face. Because my hairstyle is very simple and my hair is very healthy, I rarely get it cut. While I was making the quilt, it was starting to bother me and the grays were annoying me--the grow only on my hairline, which means that a pony tail is probably the worst way I could style my hair if I want to hide the grays. A few weeks back, I learned that the beauty college where I have gotten my hair cut in recent years closed suddenly. It took me a bit to decide on a new place, another beauty school where I could get a cut and color, hour massage and 30 minute facial for less than $100. God bless students! It's a little a shorter than I planned, but I love the purple. And I learned that quilts-in-progress make great backgrounds for selfies. 

I love my Pfaff Expression 4.2 for piecing. So much that I bought another Pfaff for my travel machine (a Passport 3.0) But I really, really REALLY want a BabyLock Coronet for quilting. I've played on one several times and love how intuitive it is. My local dealer knows I am saving my pennies. I'm hoping he will let me rent some time on it while I'm saving. Niels and I agreed that I should save up for it and pay for it in cash rather than financing because we have other big expenses. Darn, I hate when he makes sense. So, in the meantime, I used a spiral to quilt this quilt. 

My binding continues to improve. I only had to fix 2 spots this time!

Since this quilt is going to someone in the Netherlands, I used Dutch for the label. It says, "Give with appreciation for Jolanda from Ingrid de Jong. Made by Jen de Jong of" The font is called Paul's Celtic Font. The center of the capital "O" is the design of Jolanda's tattoo! I worked a little editing magic to include it on the label.

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #CelticMidnight on Instagram.  If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

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  1. What a beautiful quilt. Love the story of your pattern making! And the tattoo on the label is special. Grote waardering voor deze quilt. O, en je haar ziet er leuk uit, een heel verschil. Behoorlijk stuk eraf! Maar...het paarse speldje doet het hem echt!

  2. Lovely finish...and you made it with time to spare before you leave. Love the hair cut. --Andrea

  3. This is a beautiful quilt. I wouldn't have thought of the off-center spiral quilting for this design, but it really makes it pop!

    I've been searching for the "right" Celtic knot design to make a Christmas gift quilt for a pair of friends. Would it be all right if I used this design? I would of course credit you as the designer on the label and on any blog posts I made about it.

  4. Neat quilt - I really like it in black and white.

  5. Nice design! Great idea to use the Pellon to make construction easier. Thanks for sharing today on Midweek Makers

  6. WOW great quilt and lovely story behind it, well your brain must be working pretty good now Jen to make this stunning quilt, how nice that you were able to help some one else who is going through a difficult time. I'm sure making this quilt for her helped you also. Thanks for sharing how you made it step by step, Iv'e learnt a lot from your tutorial here. My brother had a nasty accident when he was in the firefighters Jen and hit his head and had to give up work for years, but now is back working full time still at 70 so just rest when it says it wants rest that the best help you can give your self. Hope you have a great trip to Holland. Kind Regards Glenda OZ

  7. That quilt is a great accomplishment. I don't know how you ever did such an intricate design and carried it out perfectly. Congratulations!

  8. What a beautiful quilt and I'm sure it will be loved!

  9. You did a wonderful job on this quilt. Thanks for sharing the process behind the creation - I always love hearing about the details of quilt making. I'm sure it will be much loved! Thanks for sharing your quilt on Main Crush Monday!

  10. What a wonderful quilt. I'm Irish but had no idea that families could have special knots so now I'm off to go look up mine. Thanks so much for linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss.

  11. Love the quilt! And it looks like a much easier construction then a similar one I drafted and put together! I have used bead patters as a starting point on a couple of quilts also but nothing as intricate as this one

  12. Wonderful quilt with a beautiful story.

  13. What a beautiful quilt! What a thoughtful thank you gift! Thank you for sharing!


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