East Dakota Quilter

Botanics Plus Quilt: A King-Sized Success!


A little over a year ago, I got married. It was an awesome wedding. We were surrounded by friends and family. Family members included a new sister-in-law, who offered to cook for the entire guest list. And then the refrigerator of the industrial kitchen we were renting died the night before the wedding, so she cooked the entire meal again the day of the wedding!!! Perhaps the sweetest part of all is that no one told me until the wedding was over so I wouldn’t have to worry. Yep, I have the best friends and family ever.

We talked late that night about the cool air, how quilts are great for snuggling against the chill. We bonded over our preference for really thick quilts. (Even though they’re a bear to sew and I understand why others avoid making them now that I sew myself.) I told her I would make her a quilt. It might take me 40 years, I said, but I would make her a quilt.

Just before our first wedding anniversary in September, I finished her quilt! I’ve always been an over-achiever, but 39 years ahead of schedule is a new personal best!

Botanics Plus Quilt by East Dakota Quilter

By contrast, the photo might be a personal worst. This beast is king-sized. It has both wool and cotton batting. It weighs nearly 20 pounds! The day this photo was taken, I was furiously sewing on the binding (see the Clover clips to the right and bottom?). My husband and his brother were about to drive from Chicago to Colorado Springs to visit their sister, and I wanted them to be able to present it to her in person. I sewed right up until the last second and barely had time to throw it in their car before they left. I didn’t really have time to stage a photo. I took this unfinished photo while the light was still okay, realizing I’d already missed the best window and that it would be even worse when I finished the quilt. I was working from the shop of their family business, so I threw it over the lofted area and held it there with some paint cans. (It is possible one fell, broke open, and left a tiny paint mark on the almost-finished quilt, which I noticed as I put in the very last stitch. Doh!) The purpose of this narrative is not so much to apologize for the photo as to point out it perfectly captures what sewing this quilt was like!

The fabrics are from several 5″ charm packs of Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics line, plus some charm packs of the coordinating Kona solids. (I thought some coordinated better than others.)

One final note: the quilting bar on my Janome machine made quilting the cross-hatch SO MUCH EASIER than it would have been on my Singer! The dual feed meant my top layer didn’t get “pinched” or pucker repeatedly. I thought for years that I was just infinitely less talented than every other quilter; I learned the tools make a huge difference. I even tried some free motion quilting (FMQ) along the edges. Although the plus shape is comprised entirely of straight lines, turning the quilt at every corner and jamming it through the throat space was a nightmare. Using FMQ instead was *slightly* better. I still have lots of practice ahead of me!


4 thoughts on “Botanics Plus Quilt: A King-Sized Success!

  1. This is stunning! I love the triple border — and I’m not generally a borders person! Botanics is one of my favorite lines. I am down to the last small pieces of it that I bought, and wishing I had bought the whole line when it was available. Fingers crossed for a reprint! Congrats on your marriage and this great finish. I’m sure it will be treasured.

    • I agree – Botanics are lovely! I couldn’t decide which prints I wanted, which is the only reason I ended up with charm packs that spanned the entire collection, haha. Thanks for your kind words about the quilt, too!

  2. Absolutely gorgeous. From experience I know a king size quilt that weighed half, or less than half, is a tough item to work on, especially at a machine. You are quick, and obviously strong also.

    What a labor of love, and well deserved from what your Dad told us about your amazing sister-in-law and her fantastically delicious meal. I didn’t realize the obstacles she hurtled over to prepare it, without even breaking a sweat it would seem.

    You had a Great-great Aunt Mary Lams Callewaert who learned dressmaking at a French school. When I showed her a mistake I made on an item, she told me I made TWO mistakes. The sewing boo-boo can be easily corrected. The BIG boo-boo was pointing it out to someone. I almost thought you had violated my Aunt Mary’s rule on errors, but realized that your blog is a tutorial. Well done in that endeavor also.

    You continue to amaze me with your creations.


    Great Aunt Sue, Curator of THE Tie


    • Thanks for the sweet comment! I am teaching my sister to sew her first quilt, and I keep telling her the same thing – DON’T POINT OUT YOUR MISTAKES! I see this blog, as you said, as more of a learning/growth tool where I explain what I might do differently or how I can improve. It’s not intended to detract from the finished product, just point out some variations.

      If I wasn’t strong before I started on this quilt, I definitely had some new muscles by the time I finished!

      Hope to have more time in South Dakota soon and to plan a visit. The last few trips have been only a weekday or two long each with a stopover in Minneapolis each way.

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