My first ever quilt is completely finished!
I could not be happier with the end result. I love the pattern I chose (“Nest” by Tula Pink), and the fabrics (“Flutterby” also by Tula Pink), and the quilting (done by a local quilter), and the binding (I used leftover strips). From start to finish it took roughly two months. How crazy is that?! Who knew quilting was a) this much fun, b) this fast, and c) this cool? I mean, I’ve gone from having a lame old plain yellow fleece blanket to having this!
When I picked up “Nest” from the quilter, I dropped off “Merry Go Round”, my first bed-sized quilt. I’m pretty thrilled with that one, too, although there were lots of first-timer lessons learned (for example, eyeballing equilateral triangles is a bad idea). So what’s next? When I was reading up doing the binding (which turned out to not be as terrible as I was expecting) I encountered this advice: “When preparing the binding, it’s time to start thinking about your next quilt”. Boomer and I had a good laugh over that, saying instead “when cutting out the beginnings of your quilt, it’s time to start thinking about your next quilt.” Heh.
One thing I learned from my first forays into quilting is that the process of making a quilt has a bunch of really distinct steps — cutting, marking, piecing small pieces in short seams, connecting pieces together in long seams, pressing, waiting for the quilter, and binding. In cross stitch, it’s always the same — thread the needle, count, stitch, repeat. Sure you can change things up by using different colors or fibers or a drastically different design, but in the end, the process always feels the same. In quilting I’ve discovered it’s nice to be able to pick and choose what part of the process to be working on. Cutting pieces is no good on a night when I want to be watching hockey, but on a weekend morning it’s a blast. Sewing long seams can get boring, but shorter ones need pressing more often. It’s a fun juggling act to fit what you want to be doing in while still making progress.
With this in mind, I decided I needed to build up a quilt pipeline. I need to be sure that I had quilts going in varying stages, so I’d always have something to be working on. Now that I have “Nest” done and “Merry Go Round” in the shop, as it were, I’m sitting pretty with four projects lined up.
The one getting the most action right now is “Darla”. Technically, the pattern, designed by American Jane, is titled “Criss Cross” but for some reason, I’ve been referring to it by the name of the fabric line I’m using, “Darla” by Tanya Whelan. I fell head over heels in love with Darla, which is a little bizarre. Based on “Flutterby” and “Look and Learn” (the fabric I used for “Merry Go Round”) you’d think soft florals in pinks and greens and blues really wouldn’t blow my skirt up, but they did. I think it’s the gingham. I’m a total sucker for gingham.
“Darla” is turning out to be very, very involved, and somewhat fraught. I chose to do the chain part of the Irish chain using pink gingham and plain white, only the first 6 yards of white I bought turned out nasty. I didn’t really think at the store (I’m new at this) but when I got it home, I realized the fabric was disgusting. It felt fake. Like polyester. I think it was just high-sheen cotton or something, but whatever it was, I hated it. I replaced it with some Kaufmann Kona Snow and am much happier. Then I discovered that I had made a really stupid rookie mistake and thought I could use fat quarters instead of quarter yards. Not in this pattern, I can’t! I had to order a whole other set of fat quaters, making this the $80,000 Quilt. Not cool! I guess that’s a mistake you only make once. I think I’m on track now, though (keep your fingers crossed). All I have to do is cut out 1,200 1 inch white squares, 600 1 inch red squares, and a billion 1 inch strips in varying colors! Then I just have to sew them all together! No problem!
When I started it really seemed like something I’d never really get going it was so complicated, but I think it’s going to turn out great. I do, however, foresee reaching a point where I want something far simpler to play around with. Enter “Prairie Gothic”.
This was done up as a sample at the quilt store and it was just too charming to pass up. It came all kitted up and ready to go, which is awesome. The fabrics are bold and fun and remind me of summer nights in NJ. It’s funny to look at the spider and think, “yay for gardening” and not “ick, a gross bug!”; I guess I’ve come a long way in the last four years!
The pattern seems ridiculously straight-forward, but allows me to practice “fussy cutting”. I’m thinking I don’t want to race through that project, though, so it will be reserved for cutting and piecing in leisurely breaks between the madness that is “Darla”.
If those two get to points where I’m doing stuff I don’t want to, I have “Magic Carpet” waiting in the wings, too. It’s another American Jane pattern, but I’m going to work it up in “Midwest Modern 2”, my first of what will probably be many Amy Butler fabrics. This pattern calls for pretty simple piecing, and I’m going for a pretty scrappy look — in short, it’s the anti-“Darla”. The fabrics were on display at the cutting table at the store and I just finally reached the point where I knew I’d kick myself forever if I didn’t get around to using them. (I’m most looking forward to binding it in that hot pink stuff. That’s going to rawk.)
And proving that the pipeline will be an ever-growing entity, I just ordered a jelly roll of “Neptune”, Tula Pink’s newest line. I only have half an idea what to do with it, but hey, I just finished a quilt! I’m pretty sure that book meant to read: “when you finish the binding on your quilt, it’s time to be thinking four or five quilts down the pipeline”. Good advice, quilting book, good advice.
Posted by Pookie