Friday, December 13, 2013

Three of a Kind

Have you ever made more than one of a quilt?  I made three twin size bug jar quilts... one for each of my boys.  Believe me, three is enough!  I found that I don't like working with hundreds of 1.5 inch squares.  Though the three quilts are very similar, they all have their differences.  Especially the backs. 

All three quilts also have their own story.  Especially Cheetah's...

Cheetah's Collection

When Cheetah was little, I was a lot more involved in the local quilt guild.  At their July meetings they always had a quilt auction, quilt show, classes/demos, and a vendor's mall.  At the time, these jar quilts were very popular.  My mom, sister-in-law, and I each bought a kit with fabric for 20 different jars.  It would have been enough for a wall hanging, but I wanted a bed quilt. So I started collecting more fabrics.  Each quilt has 63 jars. 

One of the fabrics in the original kit was this brightly colored bugs on a black background. 

I loved how it seemed like the bugs escaped the jar, so I called the local quilt shops to see if they had that fabric.  One of them had a similar fabric, so I bought three yards to use for the border.  I told JoAnn that she could have half of it for her quilt. 

It really does seem like the bugs have escaped and are going wild.  It took me a couple years to collect enough fabric for the jars, but they are not all bugs.  My sweet mother gave me her original kit and some solid black fabric to make the quilt. 

I finished the quilt the FIRST time in 2004.  I found this cute dinosaur fabric for the back.  I love the black background, because the quilting blends in so well.  I quilted this quilt on my Grace Machine Quilting Frames. 

I excitedly put this quilt on the twin bed in Cheetah's room.  Sadly, after about a month, I noticed that some seams were starting to split.  I repaired them and kept using it.  The next month I noticed that ALL of the black fabric was fraying.  I took the quilt to the quilt shop where my mom bought the black fabric and asked them what to do. 

They told me that every fabric has to go through lots of steps to achieve its good quality.  This black fabric must have missed one of those steps.  They felt really bad and gave me new black fabric.  We discussed it, and thought that maybe I could sew new black fabric over the top of the quilt.  I was really discouraged and put the quilt away for a year. 

Then the next Christmas I had finished some quilts for my sister-in-laws boys, and decided to fix Cheetah's quilt and give it to him for Christmas.  I basically appliqued the black fabric over the top of the original black, making the jars slightly smaller.  The SECOND time I finished his quilt was in 2005. 

We kept it on his bed for awhile... until I noticed that the binding had to be replaced too.  (I love how his jammies match the quilt!)

I was so frustrated that I put the quilt away.  For a few years.  Okay, it was nearly 7 years.  Finally in 2012, Cheetah asked me to please fix his quilt.  He was 10 years old and just wanted a big quilt from his mom.  I was so tired of this quilt, that I trimmed off the old binding and sewed the new binding on entirely by machine. 

I was glad that it was finished (for the THIRD time), and Cheetah was happy to have his quilt again. 

Quilt Stats #22
Name:  Cheetah's Collection
Pattern:  Bug Jar
Size: about 75 x 90 inches
Batting:  Warm and Natural
Date finished:  2004, 2005, and 2012!!!
What I learned:
  • Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to get the quilt finished. 
  • But when you see someone enjoy the quilt, it is all worth it!

After all the trauma of Cheetah's Collection, it is amazing to me that I even made one more, let alone two!  I actually sewed the next two at the same time.  They were finished a day apart. 

As I mentioned earlier, my sister-in-law was also collecting fabric to make a bug jar quilt.  (She also had three boys.)   When she passed away in 2005, I inherited her stash. She had enough fabric for nearly two more quilts.  I just had to buy a couple more prints, the backing for both, and the border for one. 

Panda's Collection 

Panda's quilt has the same border as Cheetah's.  It was the other half of the original three yards I bought. 

My favorite fabric in his quilt is still the bright bugs on the black background. 

The backing on this quilt is this cute bugs on a blue background. 

I just have to say that it was really difficult deciding who got what fabric in their quilt.  I felt like I was choosing favorites.  I just had to tell myself that it was JUST FABRIC, and cuter fabric did NOT equal more love for that particular child.  I decided to give Panda this fabric, because we had made this cute little pillow together earlier. 

I liked that Panda's backing matched the little pillow he made. 

One big lesson I learned, is that I need to be more careful when basting the quilt.  I stretched the batting a bit, and ended up with tucks on the backing.  It is disappointing, but I know that Panda still loves his quilt!

Quilt Stats #74
Name:  Panda's Collection
Pattern:  Bug Jar
Size:  About 76 x 91 inches
Batting: Warm and White
Date finished:  September 2013
What I learned:
  •  Be more careful when basting!

Monkey's Collection

I couldn't find another fabric with bugs on a black background, so I decided to use this dragon border print.  I totally love it!  It is from the Days of Yore fabric line. 

My favorite jar is the dragons on the black background. 

The backing is the same fabric as my favorite jar.

The dragons are just too cute!  (Can you say that if the fabric is for a boy?) 

By the way, quilts make great "wrapping paper" for large, awkward presents... like luggage. 

Quilt Stats #75
Name: Monkey's Collection
Pattern: Bug Jar
Size: about 77 x 92
Batting:  Warm and White
Date Finished: September 2013
What I learned:
  • I need to avoid 1.5 inch squares (after a few hundred they get really old). 
Once I finished the third quilt, I realized that I couldn't call them bug jar quilts any more.  They have a lot more than just bugs:  lizards, frogs, aliens, hippos, dinosaurs, dragons, bears, fish...  I thought that made them specimen jars, but someone told me that didn't sound very good.  So I decided to call them "collections."  Each boy now has his own collection. 


P.S. I am linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts (you really should check out her amazing and impressive scrap quilt) and Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict (she made a cute quilt from a panel and a jelly roll). 


  1. What fun I-spy quilts (even thought I know that's not what they were originally for). You are far more patient than I am - THREE times you finished that quilt! Oh my. Just reading it made me want to give up. My William wore his quilt out. I mean, binding was completely frayed, and fabric was worn all over the place. That's when he got his R2D2 quilt.

  2. So much fun! I want to make something like this.

  3. My goodness what cute quilts for your boys. Yep, sometimes those 1.5 inch squares can be daunting, but your finished project is perfect! Good job!

  4. Any idea how much fabric you needed for the border fabric? It looks awesome!!

  5. OH Jasmine! These quilts are absolutely adorable!!! I ant to make one for my classroom!! The kids would LOVE it!!! I'm so glad you linked this post under are boys I can easily revisit! I'll be sure to let ya know when I make cute!! Love all those bright fun fabrics! Kids are so fun to sew for!!


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