You ever look at a craft or skill and think, I could do that? I do. It's led me to being a jack of all trades and a master of none, but I enjoy myself all the same. I play a little bit of music, know a little bit of trivia on various subjects, cook a little, bake a little, sew a little, embroider a little, do a little handyman work, garden a little.
I truly have no idea what put it into my head that I was going to make a quilt. Never in my life have I sewn anything more complicated than curtains or a skirt. When my SIL announced her pregnancy last summer I was already thinking about Christmas gifts and maybe that's where it started. I know I was more than a little delusional about the amount of work it'd take. My back can tell you about the many hours crouched over my little machine, quilting seam after seam. Thoughts:
1. Quilting is actually easy! It is. I promise. It's just time consuming. And there's a surprising amount of math and geometry. And as soon as I have disposable income again I'm upgrading my machine. It's served me well for hemming and basic sewing but I need to step up my game now.
2. My experience was made easier by our sweet cousin Grace coming for a weekend and showing me the basics. She trooped with me to the fabric stores, showed me how to use a fabric ruler and rotary cutter and self-healing mat, and cheered me on after she left as I sent her picture of my progress. If you can get someone to show you the ropes, do it!
3. I think a lot of young people are searching for that sense of accomplishment that comes with making something with your hands. It's why crafts and DIY and 1,001 Things To Do With Wooden Pallets is so popular right now. I can tell you that holding the finished quilt in my hands felt amazing.
4. Even more amazing was the drop-jaw look of astonishment on SIL's face when I told her yep, I'd done it myself. It's easy enough to buy something but to pour effort into my gift for my first little niece or nephew - well, that was really fulfilling.
5. I can't say it was flawless work. But who the hell cares? I'll get better. I'm obsessively Pinning modern looking quilts now and making plans for a king-size one for the guest room. I want to learn how to applique quilt. I want to learn how to make my own patterns. I want to do more.
6. Hand binding is totally worth it. I promise.
Draped over a chair, because I didn't want to bother Mr. PW to hold it up for me. Next time I shall, because you can't see the whole Lone Star here, or that fact that it's about 4 feet square. Bonus Charlie butt and electrical cords. This is GORGEOUS blog content, isn't it?
I chose these colors because the baby's sex is a surprise. I thought primary colors were just fresh and classic, and it turned out rather Americana.
Never point out the flaws to a gift recipient. I can certainly see that the center points don't quite line up here, but what the hell do I care? I am stupidly proud that I figured out center points.
And how sweet is this backing fabric? It's nursery rhymes? Anything that includes Hey Diddle Diddle and Baa Baa Black Sheep is a-ok to me. You can see that for the actual quilting part I machine-stitched in the ditch and basically stuck to really straight, clean lines. I don't have the machine for curves and curls and freehanding.
Totally worth it: hand binding. You can see where the yellow binding just melted onto the edge, with no seam to be seen. It really made for a great finish and I feel looked a lot more polished than anything I could have done on the machine.
I did use a book to guide me through, Eleanor Burns' Radiant Star Quilts. Since this is my first quilt, I can't feel qualified to give a real review. I have nothing to compare it to! But I will say that she made it much easier to figure out the geometry of the process, and spelled out a lot of tips, tricks, and must-dos that I might have had to learn the hard way otherwise. I managed to make a much fancier quilt than I would have otherwise, and because of that I really have to recommend her.