April 19, 2012

Q is for Quilting

A friend introduced me to this quilting book and I knew immediately that I wanted to make one for myself despite having no quilting experience whatsoever. Heck, I’ve even made it a point to avoid going into the quilting section of Jo-Anns because I thought printed broadcloth and calicos were the Crayola of clothing fabrics.

Brain:  I sew evening dresses, for crying out loud. How hard can a quilt be? Every single seam is a straight line! I’ll have this thing cut and sewn in twelve hours.

I bought the fabric from a quilt shop in Mooresville, NC. This is when I learned that quilt fabric is anything but cheap. There are designers who make the patterns that go on quilt fabric and they have names as recognizable amongst quilters as John Grisham is to the book industry.

Me: Yay! I have my fabric now I can start cutting this tonight!
Friend: Do you have a rotary cutter and mat?

Lesson #2:  A 60 mm Olfa-brand (pizza cutter) is 45 dollars. Add in the self-healing mat and the special yellow grid ruler and kiss 100 dollars good-bye.

I think I cut out all the triangles to do the hexagons in a night and had them sewn together in another day. I arranged the hexagons by color and then I went to sew the strips together.

Lesson #3: Bias is the natural stretch in a fabric that makes curved seams fit together nicely. In a quilt, it is your enemy.

I finished the top with several lumps and not so perfectly straight seams. I moved to Florida and did nothing on it for a year since I had no idea what to do next. Luckily, I found out that the local library is a meeting place for a group of quilters and I was able to talk to someone there who told me how to finish my quilt.

I ended up taking the top and bottom fabrics to a store and paid them to have it machine quilted (those loopy designs all over the top). I was so worried it would be too lumpy and there would be all these ugly puckers in the backside. However, the woman at the store said it looked fine.

Lesson #4. Bias is your friend. It’s that little bit of give that let’s the fabric lie flat while it’s being quilted.

My quilt was a bit noisy when the machine was working on it but the woman at the shop said she didn’t have to sit there and babysit it. Her recommendation was that next time I can take a hammer and pound all the lumps flat.

So medieval… I love it.

It ended up  being 22 months since I started, but at least it's finally done.


  1. I commend your tenacity, skill, and patience. Everything you outlined above is why I will never be a quilter. OMG!! I have lots of quilts from family. Yours is beautiful. I love the colors.

  2. How beautiful is that?! I love the fabric you chose, it looks so intricate. My mom's an amateur quilter who taught herself from books and she's gotten better with each one :) I guess it must be something that takes a lot of time, patience, and dedication!

  3. It looks great!!! I love that it's finally finished! Thanks for being my crafty friend.

  4. That is gorgeous! Over-the-top outstanding! I can't sew on a button for crying out loud. I love the colors and design. You are amazing!

  5. Wow, that's awesome! How talented you are. :D

  6. As always, your work is beautiful! :)

  7. That weasel thought "How hard can it be?" should be a universal warning signal :)

    Despite all the trials & tribulations, it looks good!

  8. Gorgeous! Absolutely beautiful.

    I've done a few quilts, but nothing since the kids got older. I do have one planned for when they've all left home.

  9. It's gorgeous!!!

    22 months is nothing on me. I bought some quilting fabric over 15 years ago with a friend, and my friends helped me cut it. It's been sitting in a bag ever since :( It wasn't even a full sized quilt, it was just going to be for a fancy pillow.