Merry Go Round

Ever since Boomer and I gave Schnookie her 30’s scrap quilt for her birthday, she’s been raving about what a fabulous blanket it is. Cool in the summer and warm in the winter, always perfectly in tune with the other blankets on the bed, and forever in a state of “Bert and Ernie Bed” (that being when a bed feels as comfortable as Bert and Ernie’s beds always looked on Sesame Street). I’d look at my lame-o woven cotton blanket and whimper. I’d look at the quilt Boomer had promised to make for me (which for six years was stalled at “one half of one squares finished” and now is steadily progressing at a rate that suggests the quilt will be finished in about three years) and sob. Clearly, I needed a quilt, and clearly I had to be the one to make it. I chose a pattern — “Merry Go Round” by American Jane” — and fabric — “Look and Learn”, also by American Jane — and got to work. All I could think of while working on it was that each stitch was taking me closer to having a quilt for my bed. When I’d walk into my bedroom and dream of having a riot of adorable hexagons all over the bed. I’d lie in bed on chilly Sunday mornings and wonder just how much longer until the quilter would call to say it was finished.

Merry Go Round 1

Finally, on April 11th, I got the quilt sandwich back from Mary, the Long-Arm Quilter. Sadly, it still needed 2 weeks worth of work to get the binding finished (note to self: no more bindings with 60 degree angles). But then came the triumphant evening when I stuck the last stitch in the binding and cut the last thread on the quilt. It was 11:45 on a work night with two periods to go in a Ducks-Sharks playoff game. “Hm,” I thought, “The quilt needs 45 minutes in the washing machine and then probably 60 or 70 or so in the dryer… Works for me!” I tossed it in the wash and it was fluffy and dry and wrinkly and fabulous before the last whistle of the game. It was close to 2 a.m. when I yanked the nasty cotton blanket off the bed and unfurled “Merry Go Round” in its place. Cue “Rocky” music.

MGR Binding and Backing

It looked wonderful. Just fabulous. I had worried the color balance would be off with too much bright orange near the bottom, but once it was on the bed, no one color dominated. The trouble spent on the hexagonal binding paid off, as the edges looked so darling hanging over the side of the bed. And my fretting about it puckering thanks to my learning how to correctly cut equilateral triangles after I had my cutting done was all for naught. The one problem — the one problem — with my first ever bed-sized quilt was that… well, it’s not quite bed-sized. It’s about eight inches too short, and could stand another eight inches on the width, too. But you know what? I don’t care! Why? Because it’s the most fabulous blanket ever. Cool in on the hot nights, warm on the cool ones, perfectly in tune with my duvet, and forever (so far) in a state of “Bert and Ernie Bed”. I don’t know how I managed without a handmade quilt before and hope never ever to go without one again.

MGR Folded

Of course, now I’m greedy. Clearly I need more quilts! And clearly I need to make them!

In my last quilting update I was working on “Darla”, a massive Irish Chain monster of one inch strips that need constant pressing. Not cool. I’ll finish it someday, but it’s just not speaking to me now. I finished the top for “Prairie Gothic”, and discovered it has the opposite problem as “Merry Go Round” and is much larger than the throw I was counting on. Of course, it’s still only twin sized.

Prairie Gothic Quilt Top 1

I put together a few more squares of “Magic Carpet” and strung together a bunch of strips for a coin quilt using a jelly roll of “Neptune”, but both of those projects were going too quickly. I learned with “Prairie Gothic” that if a quilt takes too little time to make it’s just not that satisfying. I needed a quilt that would be big enough for my bed and which would take a nice long time to make. The perfect project presented itself in the form of “Broken Dishes” from Kaffe Fassett’s “Kaleidoscope of Quilts” book. I’m looking at hand piecing a few thousand teensy-weensy little triangles. Woo-hoo! That is exactly what I need!

Broken Dishes Border Square 1

That’s one border block. The main blocks are pieced the same way, but with four times as many triangles, which are in turn, half as big. There’s no way I finish this puppy any time soon. I’ll probably spend more time cutting it than I spent sewing on “Prairie Gothic”. I’m so excited to sink my teeth in this project, especially knowing that months and months and months and thousands of triangles later, I’ll have another perfect blanket for my bed!

10 Comments

Filed under Pins and Needles, Quilting

10 responses to “Merry Go Round

  1. hg

    Yahoo! What a beeyootiful quilt! It’s another piece in the NBL quilt of NBL! Or something. Heee! :-)

  2. What a beautiful quilt!

    This is the first quilting post I’ve read on your blog so pardon me if you’ve already posted this, but what kind of batting did you use that makes your quilt cool in the summer and warm in the winter?

  3. HG, it’s totally another patch in the patchwork masterpiece that is NBL. And seriously, quilting? Is the ultimate newer, better life craft.

    Cat Bastet, I’ve never mentioned batting on the blog, so no worries! I chose a light-loft, the lightest available. The lap quilt I made is a medium loft which is much warmer, but seems not as versatile.

  4. hg

    Did you stitch the MGR pieces by hand or by machine? My two pillows I made were on the machine. I don’t think I have the patience to piece by hand! I’m going to be looking for a sewing machine now, it’s like a treasure hunt. HR has given me a list of features that it must have and I fear disappointing her! hee hee I do have a GIANT Olfa mat now and my rotary cutters and a membership at Fabricland. I haven’t dared to head to the quilt shops yet for fear of going insane. I did pop into one close by work and it was poopy. The selection was meh and the ladies were super snooty.

  5. Half of MGR was by machine. The pattern called for stitching three 40″ strips together, then cutting those into the triangles for the hexagons. I started out with the intention of hand-piecing all of it, but after it took me an entire night to do just one 40″ seam, that plan was nixed. But all the hexagons were pieced by hand. I prefer it because that way I can work in front of the tv. Also, if I used a machine, I’d have the whole thing done too quickly!

    As for quilt shops, we lucked out hugely by having a fantastic one five minutes from home, but there’s also always Fat Quarter Shop (LINK!). It’s my new favorite website.

  6. hg

    Your years of stitching has paid off! I don’t think, no, wait, I KNOW I wouldn’t have the patience! Well, maybe if I was doing a proper quilt. Both the pillows I did were laid out on the table as pieces and guess what I did? You got it! I winged it all baby! Piece by piece! Hee hee

    You mentioned FQS somewhere and I have been there. DANGER! DANGER! Hee hee I do have plans to go to a couple of shops here in the city that I have scoped out on the web.

  7. Dreamy…but I don’t understand why you’re not in a rush to finish another! You want it to take longer? Whoa. You are really something!

  8. Well, to be honest, it’s getting expensive to have quilts finished every month! Long-arm quilting, sadly, doesn’t grow on trees.

  9. Pookie, thanks for the batting info. I’ve only made a few super-easy quilts but I’m sure that’s the batting I used.

    My grandma used good old cotton batting back in the old days. I have one her of her old summer quilts; it’s quilted on both sides and has no batting!

    I really enjoy your blog. :)

  10. Sarah Aspinall

    I made the merry go round quilt 4 yrs ago. I have attempted the batting 3 times. Any chance you have a video tutorial for it? I’m frustrated:(. YouTube doesn’t have one for all the hexagon edging that there is on the quilt. Nothing shows how to do the indented sections. Catch my drift?? Would love some help:). Your quilt looks beautiful. I used the same fabrics as you did!

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