The Commonwealth Quilt

Hello again, everyone!  Mr. Dock here to finally show off my first completed quilt!  Whew!

Those of you that have kept up with Amy’s blog know we’ve been busy with the twins, a move, lots of home improvement projects and just about any other thing we could fit into our crowded schedules.  But, a year after I started, the Commonwealth Quilt is done!

Russell's Quilt 1

I first blogged about my reasons for making a quilt here.  And I can assure you it’s been a huge learning experience! One that I’ve enjoyed immensely, and one that I think Amy would tell you she’s enjoyed watch me go through.

Russell's Quilt 7

At one point, I had the idea of finishing it secretly without Amy knowing.  My plan was to make a present to her, but then I sat down at her new machine and realized I couldn’t even figure out how to thread the thing!  I did manage to get the two pieces that would become the back put together in secret while she was at Market last fall, but that was about as far as I got on my own.

Russell's Quilt 13

After pressing the seam which runs down the middle it almost disappeared, and I was proud of how well that turned out.  But hey, I had a great teacher.

Eventually, I gave up on the secret project idea and dug Amy’s quilting frame out of the crawl space and assembled it in the front room of our house.  Twenty-four hours later, I had figured out how the batting, top and back went on the rollers and I off to the races.

Russell's Quilt 8

Honestly, I didn’t have any idea of what kind of pattern to use for the quilting.  I knew I wanted something minimal, so Amy suggested using straight lines that all ran in the same direction. So that’s what I did.  I even got to use some of my tools on the sled for the machine to keep it locked in place to get straighter lines.

Russell's Quilt 12

Russell's Quilt 11

It took some time. And I think I must have walked several miles back and forth in front of that frame, but I do love the way it turned out.

Russell's Quilt 10

By the time I finished the quilting, I was ready to power through and finish the whole thing.  So I drove down to a fabric shop and picked out some fabric for the binding after Amy measured and told me how much to get.  Amy taught me to hand stitch the binding which she does in feet per hour.  Strike that.  She does it in feet per hour while watching tv and responding to emails from Sugar Block Club members.

I on the other hand…If there was a unit of measure for how fast I hand bind quilts, I think band-aids per foot would be the most appropriate. Hopefully, the blood will wash out.

Russell's Quilt 9

The truth is, I was anxious to get it done. I always love the way Amy’s quilts look when they come out of the dryer that first time, all wrinkly and puckered around the quilting.  I was excited to see how the Commonwealth looked when it got to that step.

Russell's Quilt 2

Admittedly, there are some things about the quilt that I didn’t do very well. The binding was sewn a little too small so I had the hardest time getting the corners stitched at all. Two of them appear to softly rounded instead of crisp 90’s.  But it was only my freshman effort.  I’m pretty sure there will be a sophomore effort, at least. And that one will be better.

Russell's Quilt 3

Overall, though, I am really happy  with the final product.  I like knowing that I stitched every stitch, no matter how crooked! I like knowing that Amy and I have one more thing to share.

Russell's Quilt 4

Russell's Quilt 5

I’m seeing another geographically inspired quilt in my future.  The wheels are turning, but I haven’t come up with a workable plan just yet.  In the mean time, I’ll try to be a more regular visitor and post more to the survival guide.

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Wow! That’s fabulous – great job, Mr Dock!
    I look forward to seeing the next one … ;-)

  2. Wonderful job for your first quilt. Way to go!

  3. What a wonderful quilt. Well done on a really fabulous first. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

  4. Russell, great job! I’m taking a Craftsy class with Amy this week, and feel rather connected to your sweet family right now. Keep up the good quilting! I can’t wait to read about your next project.

  5. Russell, (AKA, Mr. Dock) I am so glad that you posted this update on your quilting project and jealous that it is a finished project! I have about a half dozen pieced quilt tops that are awaiting finishing. That you found the time and dedication to complete yours is brilliant. It is beautiful and I am sure it will be a treasured addition to your family’s comfort quotient for years to come. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. I look forward to your next one!

  6. Your quilt is wonderful and I bet Amy is just so proud of you. It’s fun to be able to share interests, my husband has made a couple of quilts and I always get a huge buzz out of it. I can’t wait to see your next effort :)

  7. Janet Green says:

    Well for a newbie you have done a brilliant job and your first quilt will always be special, my husband and I are going on 26 years and he’s much better at receiving than creating! Well done for stepping outside your comfort zone and ‘walking’ in Amy’s shoes. I’m not sure many partners would. As for ‘gentlemen’ quilters we have an 89 year old ww 2 vet in our guild who has quilted longer than I have been alive so carry on. You might find a new outlet!

  8. kaystephenson says:

    Oh Amy. That Russell is such a keeper!

  9. Good job!!!!

  10. You are both rock stars!! Well done. And the story that goes with it, is well told and fun to read.

  11. What a great quilt Mr. Dock! Amy must be very proud of you.

  12. Wow, it looks amazing! I bet Amy is so very proud. The straight line quilting is really perfect. Impressive first quilt!

  13. Super job!! Love the quilting!

  14. Impressive. Can’t wait to see your next effort.

  15. This post made me smile. Great job, Mr!

  16. Fabulous job, Mr. Doc! Not many first time quilters start with such an ambitious project, right down to the quilting. Good for you! I’m sure Amy is proud of you. And I really am impressed with the idea of trying out each other’s favorite past times to get to understand each other more deeply.
    You go, guy!

  17. That’s so awesome! Great job and I have to say I admire the bravery with machine quilting it too. I’ve been making quilt tops for years and still am afraid of ruining them by quilting them myself. You’ve inspired me to have some courage!

  18. Kathleen OGrady says:

    Amazing first quilt Mr. Dock! How exciting for the both of you not only for your first quilt finish but that you have a deep interest in what Amy loves to do. I can’t wait to see the next one!

  19. You’re quilt turned out beautiful! You did an awesome job on the quilting! I like how you came up with the idea and used tools to help make the lines straighter. The back of the quilt is wonderful. Congratulations on you’re first quilt and a fabulous finish!

  20. Kathleen says:

    Very impressive!!

  21. Very nice! And I am impressed with the reason that you wanted to make a quilt! Amy is a lucky woman!!

  22. Susan Knoll says:

    Fantastic! What a great surprise too! that is for me to see this blog this am….you have a great family and are so supportive of each other.. a real inspiration in more ways than one. Congratulations Russell!

    Susan Knoll

    Pittsburgh, PA

  23. Reading this made me smile. I LOVE that you made a quilt, and finished it! Great job!

  24. I am speechless. This is a beautiful accomplishment.

  25. Russell, congratulations on your first quilt! Well done! Love the straight line quilting! I look forward to your next one!

  26. Congratulations on finishing your first quilt! It is a work of beauty…your quilt has great character and I cannot think of a more perfect subject matter (being a native Virginian). I love the color of your quilt; the white reminds me of the whitish winter skies shrouding the (blues) blue peaks of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains! What a wonderful choice for backing! Awesome!!! Beautiful!!!

  27. Laura Hall says:

    I love it-make one for me! And, after that, what’s next on the “make a quilt” list….very impressive indeed!

  28. Russell, congratulations on finishing your quilt. About a dozen years ago my husband also took up quilting so that we would have one more thing in common. Hey I took up fishing for him it was the least he could do. But I really think it was because we have different taste in fabric and I never bought what he liked. He has made dozens of quilts since then and he has gotten better with each one. Many families have been blessed with his gifts to them because most have been given away. Although he made one for each or our children and one for me to keep he feels it has become something he loves to do and share with others. Keep it up!

  29. I love everything about this quilt, and I love everything about this post.

  30. Impressive! Thanks Russell for sharing your journey. I love that you are sharing a passion with Amy.

  31. I am so very impressed! Your quilt is great and I think you did an awesome job! Keep up the good work and just think what an amazing impression you are making on “ALL” of those babies! Great job!!

  32. Janet Best says:

    Great job, Russell! I am so proud of you! A Commonwealth quilt is a great idea, and I may need to make my own for my Commonwealth, Kentucky. You are a great inspiration, just like Amy! Keep quilting and sharing with us.

  33. Sharon Sweeney says:

    Dear Russell, I’d like to offer my congratulations, scratch that my sincere congratulations on your first full quilt however long it took you, or how many sticking plasters you used. ps if the blood doesn’t come out you can cover it up- how do you think I discovered applique?, and what’s more your desire to do a frankly damned impressive design for a first time quilt, I see every single little bump, missed stitch and wobbly line is a dedication of love to your wife in your determination to understand and participate at least once in the thing that is her passion, That’s how happy, long-lasting marriages are made my friend, so as you look at that quilt in the years ahead, that’s what she’ll see, the love that went into every single stitch, not that one of the corners could have been squarer, and she’ll appreciate and treasure it because of these very details. Kudos to you, (from a totally new trying to become a) quilter

  34. Lovely post! Great to hear about a man quilting and being a good husband. Great job on the quilt–love the colors.

  35. Wow, you rock!!! What a great story and memories to share!!

  36. Great job! Thanks so much for sharing.

  37. Jodi Wyss says:

    Amy, he is a keeper!!! Love the quilt!!

  38. Ann Becker says:

    Way to go! Beautiful quilt. I can only guess how proud Amy is of you. My husband just chuckles at me when I suggest he give quilting a try. He is perfectly happy being the go to guy for cleaning and repairing of my machines. That’s as far as I can get him to sewing. But hey since he started doing repairing and cleaning of my machines he has ended up with a side business. All my guild friends now bring their machines to him for repair or cleaning. I will be sharing this post with him….

  39. Great job! Nice looking quilt. Amy must be tickled pink.

  40. Wow great job on the quilt and a first one too. But with Amy by your side – maybe just in the house – what is not possible. Wouldn’t be surprised if your twins came up with a quilt in a couple of years!

  41. Karen Caswell says:

    Amazing, beautiful. Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us. I am looking forward to your next design. Partners cannot always do everthing together, but being able to share in more of them is such a blessing. And, I believe blessing are abundant in your home. Enjoy the warmth of the results!

  42. Awesome job Mr. Dock! Can’t wait to see the sophomore quilt.

  43. Love your quilt, love your original post too! This Virginia girl wants to know why the Commonwealth? It is a little more interesting in shape that CO, but curious minds want to know. :)

    Great job! I love that you are sharing your hobbies; I’m sure Amy is super-proud of your first quilt!

  44. Peggy VonSpreckelsen says:

    What brand are your handles on your sewing machine, or did they come with it? I have Janome 1600P and would like to put have some handles for machine quilting. Thank you.

  45. Mr Dock what a great job of your finished quilt, you should be very proud of yourself, I remember the joy of finishing my first quilt, when you look back on the hours of work you realise what an achievement it really is. It’s great to see you sharing Amy’s blog, your family photos and stories give me such pleasure to read, come back soon

    Karen x

  46. Well done Mr Dock, you are a credit to your wife. :)

  47. Marianne says:

    This is really funny, but very sweet. Thanks for sharing your wonderful quilt.

  48. You did a great job! I was wondering how it was getting on and I think it looks wonderful and should be so proud – the idea and following through to something to share.

  49. This is great!!! What a beautiful quilt! You did a fab job, Mr. Dock! That’s so cool that you can get on the quilting bandwagon and share that interest with your wife and end up with an awesome quilt to show for it!

  50. Love your freshman effort!! It’s beautiful… Love to see that it can be a family thing…now can I give you my husband’s number??

  51. The quilt turned out looking very nice. You will have to enter it in the local quilt show to encourage others to quilt.

    I am curious about the quilting frame. I have always had the impression that once a quilting frame is set up that it is never taken down again. Kind of like moving a new piece of furniture into the house. Can you tell me about the frame. Currently I push my quilts through my Bernina 440, not much space but I make it work. Have you done a post about your frame in the past? I should check back and see.

  52. Congratulations, Russell. I can only imagine how proud Amy is of the effort you put into this quilt. It definitely does not look like a first effort!! I’m a soccer for blue and white quilts and yours looks beautiful.

  53. The Sassy Quilter says:

    What a fabulous quilt! I live in that commonwealth so I think it is extra special:) Great job.

  54. I propose you each do a Colorado MQG Challenge quilt, speaking of geographically-inspired quilts… ;-)
    It’s a great quilt, and looks very masculine, and organic, and well-constructed, and PERFECT in every way! Great job, Russell!

  55. Becky Thompson says:

    Wow! Great job! Must say I’m very proud of your accomplishment and I’m impressed you saw it through to the end. Recommend you put a label on it so your great-grandsons know you did it because at first glance, you can obviously tell you’ve crafted an heirloom that will pass through the generations. Well done Russell. :)

  56. Congratulations on your first quilt! Awesome job; it’s so cool that you did everything yourself…even the longarm quilting :) I’m working on my first quilt and I’m very inspired by this and all the things Amy shares!

  57. Fantastic job! I couldn’t even begin to imagine my husband attempting something like this. The fact that you did, makes you a Rockstar in my book.

  58. kimetha turner says:

    yeah a rockstar!!! I’m sitting here with my husband reading this. he hears me oohing and ahhhhhing and awwwwwwing. he thinks he will need to learn to sew now, I think he is looking for some brownie points…… this is so inspiring that you guys can share an interest like this. I love the quilt and the writing and all of it. It is pretty sweet that you tried to do it in secret but then needed help with the later steps. The entire story is awesomesauce!!!!!! :O)

  59. Diane Rincon says:

    Well done!

  60. Bravo! Bravo!

  61. Very nice! This will be a piece your family will treasure for decades to come.

    Can I ask 2 questions…
    a) what type or kind of batting do you use? I love the puckering after it’s washed and I think it has something to do with batting. I haven’t been able to accomplish this look on my own personal quilts, that’s why I ask.
    b) what is the name of the backing fabric that looks like a bandana? I LOVE that and want to find it.

    Thank you.

  62. Congrats! What a wonderful job you did. Love the simple lines for the quilting. I need to show this to my husband… maybe get him inspired! :-)

  63. Congratulations Mr Dock, it’s an amazing first quilt! You definitely didn’t go the easy way with a design either. May I ask, is the Commonwealth your state Of Colorado or a parcel of Native American land within the state? I’m Australian so not sure of your geography over there.

  64. Congratulations, Russell! This is a wonderful quilt, not an easy design at all. You did a grat job!

  65. Hi Russell Just love the quilt & would love to make the same machine as you did could you tell me how too


  1. […] may remember, not so long ago, that my dear sweet husband made a quilt of his very own- his Commonwealth Quilt paying homage to his roots in Virginia.  His intention at the time was, I think, just to humor me, […]

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