The Finley Quilt

When I first signed up for Instagram I had a tough time thinking of a good name, I wanted something clever but didn’t want to use my own name.  Turns out I couldn’t think of anything clever so I decided to go with the old standby and used my dog’s name, Finley. 



I adopted Finley in 2004 from Operation Kindness.  I wasn’t sure if I really wanted a dog at that time since I had a small apartment and worked a lot. My sister and I were walking around the shelter when she noticed this little white fluffball shivering in the back of his cage, he was the only one not barking and trying to get our attention.  As soon as we took him out I realized that he was the one!  The best guess at the time was that he was about 1 ½ years old and a Bichon/Maltese mix.  That also mean the youngest he could possibly be now is ~14 years old!  :(


Finley is a very spoiled dog – he gets homemade dog food, has his own stairs so he can jump on the bed, and even has his own quilt.  He goes to the groomer every five weeks and they send him home with a different seasonal bandana around his neck. I started saving all his bandanas from the groomer and made 42 nine patch quilt blocks.  Since the bandanas had a wide array of colors and themes I used a grey sashing to separate the blocks. 


I also decided to try applique for the first time and added his name to the top of the quilt.  I knew this quilt would be washed a lot and wanted to test to see how a rough edge applique would hold up over the years.  The quilt is almost ten years old now and it still looks ok, there are a few loose threads but I like the overall look.  The quilt currently lays by the window in the sewing room. He will usually nap on it and look out the window but he also likes to ‘help’ when I’m in the middle of piecing or arranging a layout.




Before I figured out how to design the quilt top I had started buying random dog prints and ended up using that for the backing of the quilt, it is a pieced top with paw prints, bones, and dogs on it.  I had never used a pieced backing before and wanted it to be as symmetrical as possible, I put the dog print in the middle and then alternated the paw prints and bones in the corners of the quilt. 

When it comes to quilting I typically only do straight lines (that is, until I get a long arm…some day!)  I used my walking foot and lined the edge of the foot up with the seams of the nine-patches.  The pattern created a nice grid quilting which I continued into the borders.  Since this was my first time appliquéing I wasn’t sure if I could quilt over his name or not, I ended up using the walking foot to quilt around the letters.  I still don’t know if you can quilt over applique, I’ve only done it a few times since and haven’t completed those quilts.  Anyone have some advice for quilting an applique quilt?


I really love this quilt and how it turned out!  I think Finley likes it too but he usually ends up trying to get in the middle of my current project instead of using the nice quilt I made especially for him!