April 26, 2020

Two National Parks quilts

Our family enjoys visiting national parks, so I was excited when Riley Blake Designs released their National Parks fabric line with large poster panels.  I like the retro graphic look of the designs too.  The large panels are about 36 inches by 42 inches; adding some simple borders is a quick and easy way to create a lap-size quilt.  I was able to complete two tops from start to finish between Christmas and New Years.  (The quilting still took weeks, of course.)

I chose panels from two parks that we enjoy and that would also make suitable gifts for friends -- Rocky Mountain National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  For the Rocky Mountain quilt I added several borders of varying widths, including a woven Anna Maria Horner stripe and a few solids.  Simple stars sit in the corners of the stripe border.

For the Smoky Mountains quilt, I created a plaid-like border using solid fabrics.  The cream inner border expands the dimensions of the panel out to multiples of four inches -- fortunately it is an odd multiple in each direction.

I was well out of my comfort zone when it came to quilting the animals in these prints.  I chose to quilt them sparsely, mostly outlining the color zones. 

To keep the quilting somewhat even, I tried not to quilt the backgrounds or borders too densely either.  This was a challenge for me, as I usually tend to quilt heavily. 

I did want the lettering to stand out, so the background in those areas are the most dense.

The back of each quilt uses Mammoth flannel from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. 

I was nervous about using flannel as a backing, but it quilted really well.  Even matching the seams worked out well. 

Combined with Dream Wool batting, I'm hoping these quilts will be warm and cozy.

I had hoped to share these quilts with our local guild during Show and Tell at the March or April meetings, but quarantine upended those plans.  These quilts have found their way to their recipients already -- and may eventually find their way to vacation homes near their respective parks.


  1. Nice job on both quilts. LOVE that plaid(ish) border you created for the Smoky Mountain Quilt!!

  2. You've turned simple panels into works of art, wow, just lovely, wonderful design in fabric and quilting.