Handmade Valentine

For the past few years I’ve made DH’s Valentine’s card; sometimes stitched and sometimes mixed media. And I thought I’d share this year’s card, although “card” may not be quite the right word, as this is really a mini quilt or mug rug.


First Crush: XOXO in Vanilla Black by Sweetwater with the other components, including Kona Snow.

When I saw this First Crush XOXO print by Sweetwater, I bought a yard for my stash thinking it would make great zippered pouches. At the time I wasn’t thinking Valentine’s Day. But when I was looking around for something to inspire me, I knew it was perfect.



Hoop with pencilled text

Kona Snow in an embroidery hoop with the planned design intentionally faint, in pencil.

I wanted to do some hand embroidery and first thought I’d embellish the fabric, but the print is so busy already that I wasn’t sure the stitches would show. Instead, I opted to embroider on a quieter fabric (Kona Snow) and put the two together.

The embroidery would be a word — no slogans or imagery or established patterns. Just one word. The word I chose can be interpreted in a number of meaningful ways, and it doesn’t appear anywhere on the First Crush fabric. I am not typing the word here so you’ll just have to check the pictures. That’s because as soon as I typed it and put it in quotes, all I could think of was feminine hygiene products and that wasn’t one of the meanings I had in mind.

The background fabric is reverse appliquéd to frame the embroidery. If I’d have appliquéd the embroidery over the background fabric,  the seam allowances would have created a shadow around the perimeter of the heart.

Back of top wiht freezer paper

This is the back of the quilt top. Through the embroidered Kona Snow, you can see the freezer paper ironed onto the back of the First Crush fabric.

If you’ve been following this blog over time you may have noticed I tend to wring my hands a lot over the course of making something, and ultimately end up happy with the item. With this project I was happy with it every step of the way. Maybe that’s because it was quick to make and involved fewer decisions; I don’t know. Whatever the reason, it’s a pleasure to make something, be pleased with the result, and not feel I’ve compromised along the way.

Finished - angle



DragonfliesIn the end, the little cut in the border saved this quilt.  You may recall that everything seemed to go wrong with the disappearing 9-patch baby quilt, including a small cut in a border that I identified only after the quilt was quilted. Stitching up the tear secured things and wasn’t all that noticeable, but I didn’t want to gift a damaged quilt.

Using a patch or appliqué to cover a hole in a garment or quilt is an age-old solution, and you know why? Because it works!

As it turns out, I had die-cut dragonfly appliqués in my stash that I’d picked up on a whim several years ago from the guild’s shop of the month.  I used the larger ones because the smaller ones lacked presence, even when a number of them were used together. Since the quilting was already done, my only option was to raw-edge appliqué them in place.

The finished quilt, after laundering.

The finished quilt, after laundering.

The added bursts of colour, and curves in contrast to the straight lines, really bring this quilt to life. As a tribute to these dragonflies, I call the quilt One Plus Three.

The quilt turned out so much better than I dared hope, that I will have to disappoint the generous souls who offered to take it off my hands. Sorry folks.

Detail of dragonfly appliqué

Detail of dragonfly appliqué