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Friday, June 24, 2011

How to be Awesome at Quilting Part 4

Yesterday was the last session of Quilting with Bekah.  I mean, we still have lots to do on the quilts, but all the big stuff is done.  Now, it's just the actual quilting left to do, which takes forever. 

So yesterday, I had to add a border to my top piece.  It was not necessarily difficult, but it takes some spacial reasoning to figure out, which is why I'm glad I didn't have to do it alone.  I found this cute grey polka dot fabric for the border, which was the perfect mix of not being a boring solid and also not being an ADD-inducing overly busy pattern.  It looks like this.

Then, I had to lay it out with the back, which is an adorable white polka dot, and the batting, which is like a trampoline for ants.  Seriously, this stuff is so springy and soft you just want to lie down on it and take a nap!

It's kinda hard to see what it all looks like from that picture, what with the back being on the back and all, so here is a picture of the three layers.

Then I pinned it all together and now I just have to quilt it.  That should be interesting.  I'm determined to hand quilt it, because that's what my mom always did and because it just doesn't seem like a real quilt if I don't.  I want to be able to say I did one quilt all the way through, like, quilting and everything, the real way.

Well, except I didn't sew all the pieces by hand, 'cause that's just silly.

As with most things in life besides oral surgery, there are several life lessons that I have picked up while I try quilting.  Maybe it's the teacher in me, always looking for a teachable moment, even for myself.  But regardless, here are a few things I've learned.

1)  Everything is more fun when you do it with a friend.  When I did my first little mini quilt by myself, it was not fun at all.  I hated pretty much every minute of it.  But doing this one with Bekah has made it much more pleasant.  Especially because I can ask her for help with something if I need it.

2)  Attention to detail is very important.  I was much more careful with my cutting and measuring this time than I was last time, as I was assured that this would make a difference.  In the end, I think it did.  The squares were all almost exactly the same size, which made the next steps easier.

3)  Having the right tools and adequate workspace makes all the difference in the world.  We used rotary cutters with big cutting mats (I have a cutter but only a tiny mat for scrapbooking) and we worked at Bekah's mom's house on her huge 5x8 table.  It was much awesome.  Way better than trying to cut stuff out on my living room floor with scissors and hatred.

4)  Even the simplest quilts take lots of time and have a million steps.  The lesson here is, if anyone ever gives you a for-real quilt, you should cry in gratitude.  Immediately.

5)  Quilting is not a craft that saves you money.  Back when the pioneers had the choice between quilting or sleeping in a fresh buffalo for warmth, quilting was a handy option.  Now, we have the choice between buying a blanket at Wal-Mart for $10, or spending $50-$100 or more on supplies to make a quilt.  It may be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it ain't cheap!  Yes, I realize you could use old clothing or whatever for fabric, and in fact, I have a million t-shirts I've been saving just for that, but really, with all those adorable designer fabrics out there, you know you're going to end up with five of them in your tiny buggy at Hancock.

But it's been fun.  I'll update again once I've actually started quilting.  I have some cute ideas and I hope they look as good on the quilt as they do in my head.  Until then, I guess I'm stuck using my Wal-Mart blanket a while longer.


  1. I'm impressed!

    - Bacca

  2. Good luck with the actual quilting. I will say that of all the quilts and stuff I have made, I have always machine quilted my quilts. This does still take a long time but it was more fun for me. Can't wait to see the finished project.

  3. Now that I have stopped rolling on the floor from the "stuffed in a buffalo" and 'cry with gratitude' comments, i say, "here, here!". Now you know why they started quilting bees, circles, etc. It's a TON of work, lots of fun to do together, and you have the experience of others along the way.
    Remmber, people used to be locked in for the better part of the winter in some places. Quilting and crafts helped pass the time and gave an outlet for creativity on a budget of nearly zero.
    Two notes: Don't use Tshirts for quilts--too stretchy.
    And, baste the quilt really well before you start quilting...from the middle...:). Ask Bekah's mom, she'll know. I''m so proud of ya!!!

  4. Mallary said I needed to check out your blog for your awesome quilts, and she was right! It looks so good!! I love the colors and cute polka dots.
    Super impressed that you're hand-quilting it, too. Can't wait to see the finished thing!

  5. Aww, thanks! That's quite a compliment from you, because I've seen the amazing quilts you've done on your blog! Thanks for stopping by, and keep blogging, 'cause I love reading it! :o)