Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Very First (traditional) Quilt!

Tricia, a close friend and co-contributor of this blog, will be having a baby in March and I am so excited! To celebrate, I wanted to make something really special that she could keep forever so I decided to make a quilt. I've played around with art quilts but I've never attempted traditional quilting... until now. Her baby shower was on a Saturday and I got started the Monday before. Yes, that gave me exactly five days to finish.

Of course, like most 'last minute' projects, things went wrong. I finished the quilt top pretty quickly and was pleased with the design. Unfortunately, I didn't have any solid fabric for the backing so I had to go buy some. When I got home with my purchase, I was very unhappy. The fabric was just too rough and the quality didn't even compare to the other fabric I had used. This was Wednesday night and time was running out!

Quilt Top

In a moment of insanity, I decided to design the back instead of using a solid color. I used the leftovers from the top, and again, I was happy with the result but now it was Thursday night (and time for bed). On Friday, I began the quilting process. I didn't think it would take that long because it wasn't a very big quilt (avg. 30"x30"). What I failed to account for were the hours I'd spend staring into space wondering where to begin and afraid to start. What if I screwed it up?!

Quilt Back

I continued to stare at this half-quilt, trying to figure out the best, quickest, least-likely-to-screw-up plan I could think of. The fabric was very busy with a lot of colors and the design I created was very sharp and angular. Because of this, I knew I wanted to avoid basic lines and create a more organic design. However, I also knew that lines would probably be the easiest, and the thought of just 'winging it' scared the you-know-what out of me! Finally, I decided to do circles. If you look at the bottom left corner of the back view, you can see where I started... and where I stopped. I HATED the circles.

Detail of stitching - I even sewed my name and date!

So in a fit of frustration, I made some lines, but I made them curvy, all over the place lines. The result? I loved it and instantly ‘saw’ the possibilities. Now I had the freedom to confidently ‘wing it’ – like I probably should have all along. The finished design was very raw but it was also very me. I’m pretty sure Tricia would have been able to tell it was my gift even if she hadn’t known before she opened it.

'The Unveiling' - Tricia opening her gift

I know there are a lot of things that are askew – the binding is horrible - but as a first effort, I’m pretty proud of my quilt. I’ve already started another one for my new nephew that was born January 16th. This time I won’t have to rush since he’s already here!

She seems to like it - really, I just wanted a reason to post this photo :D


I made this using the Tweet Tweet line from Moda.

The inspiration for my quilt top came from this tutorial I found on Burgundy Buttons’ blog. It was the first quilting tutorial I read that made any kind of sense to my brain. I also liked that the cuts are 'wonky' as she puts it. For my top, I stopped after the second cut, leaving a three-piece block versus her nine-square block.

The back was my own design. I saw a tutorial on easy triangles from the Fibermania blog and used that technique to make two instead of four - it really was quick and easy!

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