16 Sep My First Quilt
There’s nothing better than watching college football, while eating nacho cheese dip, while bundling up with a homemade quilt on your back porch. Perfect fall day, in my opinion! My mom made me the quilt pictured above (sans nacho cheese) when I was in high school and it has found a permanent place in our home. While I’ve always appreciated the perceived time, effort, and love she put into making my quilt, I truly had no idea how involved quilting can be, until I attempted to make my own.
My mom, my friend Shanna, and I took the Baby Quilt Class at Sewn Studio that was taught by Heidi. She is another wonderfully patient teacher at Sewn who is very aware of my sewing class handicap. She taught the Wee Wonderful doll class that my mom, my sister, and I took a while ago. We liked her from the minute she showed us her Justin Bieber version of the Tag-a-long doll. It was nothing short of amazing. However, she might have to add a mustache given Bieb’s recent facial hair choices.Before the class began, I spent an embarrassingly long amount of time trying to decide what fabric to use. I ended up cutting enough squares for two separate quilts because of my inability to choose. I finally decided on Lotta Jansdotter’s Bella line.
We spent our first class learning about quilting, making our 9 block star for the middle of the quilt, and deciding how to piece the rest of it. I wish I could say it came together quickly, but I would be lying. Instead, I practice pieced my quilt a bajillion times when I got home while trying to keep my cat from pouncing on them, added new fabric, and made another star because I didn’t like the first attempt. Slightly neurotic and highlighted my problem with perfectionism, but I was happy with the way it eventually came together. I felt like Tommy from Tommy Boy when I was done:
Me: “I finally finished my quilt top.”
Everyone else: “Yeah, in just a shade under a decade too. All right.”
Anyhoo, here were my two potential shining stars. I went with the one on the left. I repeated these two 9 block pieces throughout the quilt:We used Oh! Fransson’s method of creating a satisfying Quilt Sandwich. She has a great, easy to follow tutorial that I would recommend. Safety Pins were/are key and it’s helps to have these ones that are curved for basting. I had two different sizes, but found that I like the smaller size better because it doesn’t cause large holes in your quilt. My mom helping me with my sandwich.
For the actual quilting part, I sewed line 1/4″ from each side of the blocks, which appeased my love of symmetry (nerd alert).Some of the girls in my class did diagonal lines instead, which really highlighted the star in the middle and added another dimension of sorts to the quilt. It’s always fun to see the different variations of the same pattern when you take a class.
Here are some take-away lessons I learned after finishing my baby quilt:
1. Do not pre-wash fabric before quilting. I made the mistake of washing my patterned fabric (like they suggest for everything but quilting) and not washing my white fabric or batting. It was basically a hot mess of clean and unclean sandwich parts. Whoops! It seemed to turn out ok after washing but I think it would have looked better had I kept everything unwashed.
2. Binding is not always easy. My machine had some trouble going over and around the corners. I ended up having to stop, cut the thread, and start over after adjusting the quilt. This is definitely something I need to work on for my next one. Oh Fransson has a tutorial on this as well, which I might have to reference. I would compare my finished binding to a Monet: beautiful from far away but somewhat messy up close.
3. Piecing and quilting allow for an infinite number of quilts. I’ve had so much fun looking up different quilt patterns after finishing this class. I’ve found that I like more modern, simple quilts. I’ve already started to make this one but haven’t yet finished it.
4. Finally, quilting with others is WAY more enjoyable. They can help you make your sandwich, talk you through your indecision, help you piece your quilt, and offer a sounding board for any problems that arise.
My better half and I attempted a photo session to show the completed quilt today. The wind wasn’t cooperating but we managed to get a couple good ones. My sewing hat goes off to the amazing quilters out there. It definitely requires a lot of creativity, time, patience, and love. Hopefully Quilt Part Deux will be completed soon.
Photo credit (for the outdoor ones): JB Woodruff