amis au fil des ans

just a few good friends, sharing adventures in family, arts, and sometimes heavy machinery

death by scrapbuster quilt

I love quilts, especially quilts that have been made from fabric that served another purpose.  My mom has a quilt that my grandma made from squares of my grandfather’s old suits.  The darn thing feels like it’s 100 lbs, but I think it’s just heavy from all the stories it holds.  🙂

I have always been too intimidated to make a quilt.  Not because the sewing seemed difficult, but because it seemed like Such. A. Commitment.  All those squares!  I’m not exactly known for my ability to focus on one thing for a great length of time.  Fast forward to us moving into the Tiny House, me feeling a constant need to purge stuff…and those looming boxes of fabric scraps started to really irritate me.  It was time to quilt!

I started by watching a few videos on YouTube, getting the general idea.  Then I found this awesome Instructables lesson.  Seemed easy enough, and believe it or not I already had all of the materials including batting that I bought in (no joke) 2006 when I decided to make a t-shirt quilt (SPOILER: it never happened).  I grabbed the rotary cutter and my fabric scraps and started cutting.  You should know this was October 4, 2013.

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Cutting, cutting, cutting

I read somewhere that someone used a small mason jar to put all her scrap threads in while she worked…brilliant idea!!

Once I had what felt like enough squares (turns out it wasn’t, but alas) I started piecing them together into 9-boxes.  I will say, I started by pairing up 2 different fabrics together…but now I wish I had done all random because I feel like my quilt looks like a mish-mosh.  Oh well.

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Pairs

After I had enough 9 boxes ready (or so I thought), I laid them all out on the table and tried to figure out the order.  This was when I first realized how I could leverage my hubby’s strength in analytics and patterns for my own use…I invited him downstairs just to take a look and he immediately started moving the blocks around, flipping them in different directions and telling me what I needed to do.  To my quilt.  I didn’t ask for his input.  I still don’t know how this happened.  He redesigned the whole thing.  I was irritated.  After he was done and left the room, I took a step back and was even more disgusted because…he had made it look better.  Dangit!

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First draft.

This is exactly the point at which I got burned out.  It was October 5th.  I packed up all the squares and called it a day.

About a month later I decided to sew again, and pulled everything out.  I stitched together the 9-boxes, admired my quilt, and decided it was too small.  I don’t know why, but starting from the beginning, cutting out squares and sewing them together piece by piece…was torture.  What felt like an eternity later, I finally had my quilt top done.  It still wasn’t as large as I originally wanted, but I was starting to really hate this project.

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Quilt top

That was before I started quilting.

I watched a few more YouTube videos on how to make a quilt sandwich, locked my dogs in the spare bedroom so they couldn’t get involved, grabbed a sheet out of the Goodwill pile and spread everything out on the family room floor.  While on a conference call for work (SHHHH) I crawled all over that quilt adding a million pins to keep it together.

Since I just have a standard home-sized sewing machine, I couldn’t do any kind of fancy quilting so I opted for “stitching in the ditch” which has nothing to do with going outside.  This meant hours of straight, long, boring sewing.  My back hurt, my arms hurt, my butt hurt…I never thought it was going to end.  Suddenly the quilt felt insanely huge.

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Machine quilting

I couldn’t take it anymore, and had to put the whole thing back in the closet again.  I hated quilting.  It was November 16th.

And so it sat.  For two months, folded up in a nice little pile on top of the dresser in my guest room.  Still full of pins and without a border.  It ate at me every time I saw it, a nagging little project that wouldn’t end.  ARGH.

I had to figure out how to make binding.  I had this red fabric with little white dots that I had purchased for the t-shirt quilt (circa 2006), I must’ve bought 3 yards of the stuff and have been dragging it around ever since.  This was my chance.  I found this tutorial and it seemed fairly simple so I gave it a go.  Much to my surprise it went pretty quickly and BAM!  My quilt was done.  It turned out great, but it’s definitely going to be a while before I embark on another large(ish) quilt like that again.

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Finally completed on January 20, 2014

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