Not What I Planned, But Quilts!

WM pink and gray Rev3

I was talking to May about our link-up last week after I announced my decision to reduce the number of posts I publish for The William Morris Project over the summer and possible the fall. She offered to keep the link up going on her blog, but I told her that wasn’t necessary. I can easily set up the link-ups to go live on Thursdays for those who have projects they want to share. I wasn’t going to post anything that wasn’t simple living related on that day anyway, because anything else–like, I don’t know, a round up of my favorite art supplies from Europe and Japan–after the last 18 months would be a little disingenuous.

So, the link-up option will still be here every Thursday. I know a few of you enjoyed reading everyone’s posts and keeping up with efforts to create a more intentional space, and I hope those of you who were participating will continue to do so.

I know I will, because guess who doesn’t have the boys’ room done after a kabillion years and dozens of empty promises?

The Quilts, 1

This girl!

This week was the third 1-week block of traveling for the Mister and I think I got a little cocky. I really thought I had it in the bag. I don’t know what happened, but it’s like on Monday my life turned into a partially inflated, untied balloon right as it slips out of a clown’s mouth. I felt like some rubbery thing making loud noises and moving chaotically.

I just typed out a long paragraph detailing the many little things that drove me nuts this week and prevented me from working on the room the way I wanted to, but: whiny. Short version: many annoying things on top of the boys behaving terribly. Just terribly. I think they have summer vacation on the brain and when I open my mouth all they hear is the ocean or a soundtrack of people having fun at an amusement park. Whatever it is they are hearing, it surely isn’t go to bed, clean your room, get dressed, let’s go we are going to be late, I said no.

Motivation to finish their room: TO THE LEFT OF ZERO.

The Quilts, 3

I did finish their quilts, so I still somewhat love them.

[Aside: do you see the bandaid Nico has on his left elbow? I didn’t notice it until I was taking his picture and when I asked him he explained that during Water Fun Day he tripped over the fire-hose the firemen brought and landed on the nozzle. I stared at him for a minute and said, “Nico, buddy…” and Mikey just closed his eyes and shook his head.]

These are the quilts that my friend, Larissa, and Anne of Green Gables (I and II but not the WWI special sequel), Pretty in Pink, Footloose, North & South, Like Crazy, and Daniel Deronda built. I didn’t realize it until just now, but if you add the running time of every movie/mini-series we’ll know how long it took me to tie both quilts.

I tied them every 4 inches because my batting called for every 4-6″ (did you know the batting package will tell you the minimum spacing you should use for best results? I didn’t) and I chose 4″ because Nicholas is a thrower-upper. These quilts–particularly Nico’s–will see plenty of wash time. I erred on the side of caution and it’s a good thing. He threw up Tuesday night.

The Quilts, 2

The Quilts, 4

Okay, it was worth it. Nico was excited. Mikey was, too, but in his more subdued Mikey-way.

Both of them were tired from Water Fun Day. Who knows, Nico was probably recovering from the effects of a concussion he “forgot” to tell me about. They both wanted to snuggle under Nico’s quilt since it was the newest.

The Quilts, 5

Of course, once I told them they could settle in and take a little nap they were wide awake and ready to goof off. Here they are trying to recreate this picture of them at just under 3 years old (Mikey) and 4 months (Nico).


I think I want to do another quilt. Or maybe try some cross-stitch or needlepoint. I find the whole thing very relaxing, and it’s a good hobby for me. I can read forever, which tends to eat up my sleep. I can’t tie a quilt forever. Any experts out there?

The Quilts, 6

One more picture, just because.


Now it’s your turn! Feel free to share how you have lived according to the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Made a plan? Cleaned a drawer? Bought a sofa? Tell us about it with a link or comment. A few guidelines:

  • Please link to a specific post, not a general blog address.
  • Your post must relate to your efforts to create an intentional home. I have a delete button, and I’m not afraid to use it.
  • No links to giveaways, please.
  • Let’s use this weekly link up as an opportunity to gather inspiration and motivation. Click links. Discover new people. Say hi and good job and all that stuff.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    My main craft love is crochet, but I do a bit of everything. I think you’d prefer cross-stitch, since it’s usually precision work from a pattern. I do love it, especially working from a grid, but haven’t done any in years. I don’t enjoy needlepoint nearly as much, since the work never ends up looking as I imagined it would since it’s usually free form.

    • says

      Yes, I think I would like cross-stitch more for that reason, too. Do you have any recommendations on where to start? Blogs? Books? Videos?

      • says

        There are probably loads of videos on Youtube, though I’ve not watched any. My brother and I learned basic cross-stitching from our mother when we were around six and eight years old, respectively [the same time we learned basic crochet and sewing]. Everything else I learned just by trial-and-error long before I had internet access.

        This page looks informative, and even says you can send in for a free beginner’s kit:

        A page with lots of vintage patterns in a wide variety of difficulties that I’ve bookmarked:

        You can search for filet crochet patterns on Ravelry to use for cross-stitch. These aren’t usually for colorwork, but some designs look great in just one color, or when using multicolored/ombre thread/floss.

        There should be loads of books at your local library with basic instructions for beginners as well as patterns of samplers and designs that are more complicated. “The New Cross Stitcher’s Bible” by Jane Greenoff is a good one.

        If you’d like to dive right in, I’d suggest you start with a counted cross-stitch kit that comes with almost everything you need: Aida cloth, thread/floss, needle, grid pattern. This is easier for a beginner because trying to find the correct thread/floss colors separately can be a pain. I dislike stamped cross-stitch kits with the pattern colors printed onto the fabric, in my opinion they aren’t as nice and can be difficult to follow.

        Kits rarely come with embroidery hoops, though I prefer to use a wooden dowel frame since it doesn’t pull on the stitches like a hoop can — I have this:

        With more complicated patterns I like to lightly shade in the parts I’ve already stitched with a pencil, and put my grid on a clipboard or a metal board with magnets while I’m working so that it’s easy to glance at while stitching [my trained eye has learned to ignore the shaded areas so it can instead go directly to the section being worked]. I’ve found that using a disappearing ink pen is a huge help — I put a dot in the centre of the Aida cloth squares that I need to stitch with the particular color being worked — this means only having to count out the stitches once or twice instead of every single time I need to move around the fabric.

        Feel free to contact me with any further questions.

  2. Larissa says

    Ahhhh! Just look at them!! I absolutely love these pictures of your boys with their quilts. You can just see the love and excitement coming out of them! It makes every safety pin and little knot worth it. Onto the next project!! 😀

  3. says

    Congratulations on finishing the quilts! How exciting! I can feel the boys’ excitement through your pictures; the quilts will be special to them forever. And the picture from when they were little is so, so adorable.

    “I felt like some rubbery thing making loud noises and moving chaotically.” – I snort-laughed at that. It so exactly describes how I feel some days. I hope your summer goes more smoothly, with days that feel like you’re a helium balloon, gracefully floating through the air.

    • says

      Haha! And he was a quiet baby. Still accident prone, but calm and quiet. Everyone told me he would be my little house mouse. Uh, no.

  4. says

    I’ve been really moving stuff out. Love the William Morris project. I’m not sure how to link? I followed add the link… And a picture of mine showed but do I add text on my blog? Help!

    • says

      No, all you need to do is add a link to a specific post on your blog, which it sounds like you did. Give it a title (you’ll see a little box) and then hit enter or whatever the prompt is and you should be good to go! If you have any problems let me know–I’ll be away from my computer until afternoon, but I can walk you through it then. :)

  5. Shannon says

    Oh my, that baby picture is too priceless!!!!!!!!!!!! The quilts look great but I wondered if you would do a tutorial (with measurements, etc.) on how you did & your friend made them? I attempted an “easy” quilt this spring and it was so far over my head!!!

    • says

      Yes, I’ll see if Larissa is up for it. I’ll do a twin, and maybe I can make a quilt for my niece’s birthday in September. :)

  6. Beth says

    Great Quilts! I love to crochet or do needle point. I do simpler patterns when I am watching TV or more difficult things if I need to concentrate. I love that I feel like I have been productive – even if I am just decorating a tea towel!

    • says

      Yes, I think that was part of the draw for me! In a way, I felt like I was doing two things at once. I mean, technically I was, but you know what I mean. I was doing two things but both are relaxing so it was all sorts of decadent.

  7. says

    Hi Jules–I will continue to link up, but not today. That kinda week going is going around, I guess. I might (maybe) come back tomorrow to share something, but no promises. Last week of school is killing me. The idea of sitting on a couch and tying a quilt while indulging in some TV sounds heavenly.

    • says

      It was soooo heavenly, Rita. First time I’ve ever done such a thing and it won’t be the last. I finally get the whole TV thing now that I have Netflix and something to do with my hands.

  8. says

    I actually embroider and it’s a GREAT way to relax at night. I like it because it starts simple and it can stay that way or you can always learn more stitches. And you don’t have to invest in a bunch of stuff to begin. A pattern, the floss you’re going to use, needles, and a hoop and you’re golden. ($10-$15)

      • says

        My Gram actually did it when I was a child, so I looked at a lot of the pillowcases/dresser scarves, hand towels she did to get a feel for how it worked. Then I bought a book (of course) that called the embroidery bible. I bought a pattern – stamped pillowcase – and just gave it a try. Now when I get a stitch down, I like to challenge myself to learn a new one. Dropcloth Samplers has a great subscription service I’ve been doing this year and learning a lot from.

  9. says

    Jules, have you ever snooped through Oh, Fransson!? { } Even though it is labeled modern quilting, and I am not ultra modern, I think her designs are amazing, and there are tons of free quilt patterns. I have always wanted to make a Tokyo Subway quilt, why? No idea. You could just start having a quilt linkup. haha!

    • says

      Yes, I should do a craft link up! There aren’t any of those on the internet. 😉 I’ve always been intimidated by those. There are some seriously talented ladies out there.

  10. Phaedra says

    I’m not sure what else your post said because once I saw that baby photo I went all squishy. I think you were saying something about still loving them after bad behavior & getting quilts done (HURRAY!) but all I can think of is ‘cute babies!’

    • says

      I know–Nico was so little there he didn’t even have his beauty mark yet. He might not even be four months in that picture! Sniff.

      • Phaedra says

        So cute! I would not have been able to resist kissing those cheeks all the live long day! Plus, that smile? He looks like he’s already practicing the ‘how you doin’?’ so he can be a ‘chicks dig me’ kinda guy. lol.

  11. Susan G says

    Loved your post, but seriously? Favorite art supplies? I could talk about that forever – talking is almost more fun than using!

    • says

      Haha! I was actually being sarcastic about the art supplies–at least the Europe and Japan part. :) I don’t have special countries I shop from, but I do love supplies! I was going to do a round-up of all the tools I used to make those little hand knots because a few of them were called gimmicky and they weren’t at all for a newbie like me.

      • Susan G says

        I suspected the sarcasm. :) But seriously, the quilts look amazing and those happy faces are the best!

  12. Edith says

    Adorable boys and quilts! I dread the day your boys need more privacy and will disappear from the blog… I love the pictures of them and the stuff they say. (And the way you record it all is fabulous.)
    I like to quilt, you’re right, it IS relaxing. I do it not often enough, but when I do, it makes me happy. I have never tied a quilt (I quilt them on my domestic sewing machine) but when I do, I’ll probably try this technique:
    I haven’t finished a lot of quilts yet (I have 10 works-in-progress) you can see them here, if you’re interested: (I abandoned that blog since then…)

  13. says

    I was delighted to find this post here today! I hope having the links there even on those weeks that were not so very productive will be encouraging and you will feel our support. Oh, how I do love the William Morris days!

    Nico’s 4 month face…..was there a bit of foreshadowing there or what?! Loved all the photos.

  14. says

    Hooray for getting the quilts done. How wonderful that your boys appreciate them. So happy for you.

    Thanks for continuing with hosting William Morris. I had been so bummed. (Big exhale)

  15. says

    I finally got my act together for a post last week, just as you decided to take a break! Knitting, pretty much the only thing I’ve ever actually devoted myself to, is quickly taking over my life/house so I finally cut myself off for a bit. I’m now realizing I often have to do this with books, too.

    Congrats on finishing your quilts! My mom is a quilter. I have great appreciation for the work/patience involved, but cannot imagine doing it myself. If you try out needlepoint, I hope you’ll post it here. If you have any interest in knitting, I’d be happy to share info!

    Finally, I love that this is a place where a post about favorite art supplies or, in my case, just the pen aisle at Office Max/Staples is a welcome thing.

    • says

      Well, now you don’t have to worry! The link-up will still be going strong. I just won’t always participate with a project. :)

      I would love info on knitting. That seems like another project I would like to try. I’ve tried it before and did quite well at it. Don’t know why I stopped after a couple of tries, actually.

      • says

        If you’ve tried it before, I bet it’ll come back very quickly! For me, the big turning point was moving from straight needles to cable needles that allowed me to knit in the round. On straight needles I was thinking, “ok great, how many scarves can I really make?” Learn to knit in the round and you can do hats, cowls, sweaters, toys… almost anything.

        I’ve done some tutorials here: has the best, clearest videos is the biggest online knitting/crochet community. You can find countless free patterns and track your own projects. If you decide to join, I’m here

        And I’ve never been to a local yarn shop that wasn’t full of helpful, friendly ladies. I’m not one for classes, but its still great to chat with experts. Plus, a gorgeous skein of yarn is the best motivator for trying out a new project.

  16. Fairfax Avenue says

    A really bad habit of mine is unfinished projects. I have a number of craft/DIY things that make me feel very guilty, like the needlepoint trains for my baby son’s room. He’s going to be 20 next week. At the rate I’m going, I’ll give it to a great-grandchild. I do crochet, because I can choose a project that I can finish. Things that are small, like cotton bookmarks that I can finish in 1/2 an hour. Or, things that I really want like an afghan in charcoal and hot pink (which encouraged my husband to ask for his own afghan!). I hope that finishing these will teach me to finish other things. Like the dishes.

  17. says

    Ooh they look gorgeous! Great job. I find crafting SO relaxing – I think it’s very meditative. One thing I’ve done is take up knitting from YouTube videos. It’s great because it’s not a table-dependent as quilting so you can take it on the move (in the car, on holidays, in the front of the TV etc). You might like it, too!

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