I’ve been busy. Busy learning to quilt.
I started a t-shirt quilt a couple of weeks ago but it is currently on hold as I am waiting for a friend to send me a race shirt. And since I have two empty squares left on the quilt, I am finding ways to fill it with race pictures. With that said, the t-shirt quilt is on hold until I can figure some things out.
In the the meantime, I’ve been reading quilting blogs and learning quilting techniques. I’ve been inspired by my friend Jewels, Susan Weinroth, Heather Bailey, the Purl Bee and the works of many fabulous quilters on Flickr. Completely inspired and motivated to make a quilt of my own.
To start, I selected a simple design by Susan Weinroth and decided on a color scheme (yellows, browns, and greens). I purchased some fabric from my local fabric store and dug through my fabric stash for a few more choices.
I wanted to make a wall hanging (which will be the home of our pin collection – I pick up a pin from each place I visit/hike and he has an assortment of NASA pins) that will fit in a little space in our hallway. Using the rotary cutter and mat, I cut 4.5 ” strips of varying widths for the rectangular blocks and 3″ sashing. I arranged the pieces to come up with a pattern that I liked.
After I machine stitched the strips together to make three rectangular blocks, I decided that I didn’t like the tulip fabric in between the blocks. Made a trip to the fabric store for white fabric with tiny white dots. Also picked up basting safety pins, batting, and quilting thread.
Once I stitched all of the pieces together, I made the quilt sandwich (quilt top, batting, quilt bottom) and basted it with basting safety pins. I spent a couple of hours debating whether I should hand-quilt or machine quilt. I love the home-made feel of hand-quilting but I also adore the clean and modern look of machine-quilting. Because I was so anxious to finish this quilt, I decided to go with machine quilting.
The internet is a wonderful thing. I learned how to bind the quilt this morning by watching a couple of You Tube videos.
I hand-stitched the binding to the back of the quilt using a stitch my mom thought me years ago. After completing an entire side of the quilt, I decided that I didn’t like the big stitches (below right) … so off to the internet I went. I learned the blind stitch (below left) after watching another You Tube video. So much better looking, huh? In the end, I ripped out the big ugly stitches and blind stitched the entire binding to the quilt.
And tah-dah! My first quilt. So excited to hang it up.
A look at the back. (The tulip fabric served as my inspiration for colors. It was supposed to be the border but it was way too busy with the rectangular blocks. And since I didn’t have enough of it for the back, I pieced it together with the circle fabric.)
A close-up. Please excuse the crooked lines and uneven stitches — this is my first quilt.
This quilt was truly a joy to make. I learned quite a bit in the process …
- I can sew somewhat straight lines if I go really slow. Really really slow.
- Press. Do NOT iron.
- Hold the acrylic ruler firmly for cuts. A slight movement of the wrist or fingers can really ruin a beautiful piece of fabric.
- To save a trip (or two or three) to the local fabric store, buy more fabric than I think I need.
- Always start in the middle (basting and quilting).
- Buckling happens. It will get better with practice.
- Use cotton thread to attach the quilt top pieces. Use quilting thread to quilt. (Duh! Unfortunately, my friend had to point that out to me.)
- Always use the blind stitch to attach the binding to the back side of the quilt. It looks way better.
- The internet is a great place to learn anything.