Thursday, 4 April 2013

I made a quilt

Do you ever write blog posts in your head as you are making something???

Well, this post has been written in my head on numerous occasions in numerous ways. 

Over a year ago, I won a jelly roll of fabric from Jodi at Tickle and Hide.  This inspired me to hunt through the library for a book with a suitable quilting pattern in it.  Good old 'Jelly Roll Quilts' was made for the job.

So picking one of the easiest patterns I ordered lots of White fabric and off I went.

The cutting out and sewing together of the strips happened quite quickly.  Although I soon learnt that my cutting skills left a lot to be desired, my accuracy at sewing 1/4 inch seams also left a lot to be desired, and the overall effect was therefore not geometrically accurate.  In fact 'extremely wonky' was more the order of the day.

The buying of wadding caused another delay.......  but I got that fab bamboo type stuff, and that sorted that.

Then the decision of what to back the quilt with (by this time the price was mounting up, and I was unsure if this would ever be finished, and if it indeed did get finished, whether it would ever be allowed to see the light of day).  The lovely Tracy solved that problem, and gave me a purple sheet which was just right.

With quite a lot of excitement I started to quilt the layers together (ooooo forgot to say that I didn't really know how to stick the layers together properly - I have since been informed about spray basting - so it was a few pins and some bulldog clips borrowed from work.  This had limited success, so I sort of repinned as I went along).  I must clarify these are not techniques I am advocating - and nor will I be using these methods again.

So, once again I am starting to quilt......  with a turqoise colour - because it seemed to match the front - I now know you have to also consider the effect on the back of the quilt.  Turquoise is not looking so good against the purple backing, and is also very unforgiving - so every mistake is very obvious.

Can I remind you at this point that this is my sewing machine.  It is old, temperamental, and has a tendency to do it's own thing, go at whatever speed it likes and and alter the tension whenever it fancies.  This old lady (although I love her dearly) was not impressed at being asked to undertake this task.

This lead to a lengthy pause - almost a year............

Until recently I got fed up of the heap of half-quilt at the bottom of the wardrobe and decided to just tackle it once and for all and get it done.  Two left over annual leave days before the new leave year did the trick, and I set to.  I cannot say it was an altogether pleasing experience, but along the way I learnt a lot about quilting, sewing in general, and a fair amount about myself.

I decided to quilt in straight lines.  Sort of following the pattern of the quilt - so it made sense to me to quilt squares...... until I started and it soon became clear that the squares would pucker up and there are folds all over the quilt top as a result of this.  But having started it seemed there was no going back.

By the time of choosing the binding, my enthusiasm was fading, however I like making bias binding, so got a renewed sense of umph and soldiered on (this thing was not going to beat me).  I like the hand sewing on of the binding, and during several children's DVDs and then this weeks episode of Broadchurch the binding was completed.

Hey - check me out, I have only made my first ever quilt.

Things I have learnt:-

1) Buy spray baste
2) Quilt in a colour that blends in and cannot be seen so clearly
3) Make thinner bias binding
4) I am not a perfectionist
5) That I am in absolute awe of you guys out there who make the amazing quilts I see on your blogs
6) That I love my quilt, with all it's hundreds of flaws.

It's only two days old and we have played under it, I watched the Sewing Bee programme snug and warm under it, and it is going to take it's place in the lounge



  1. hooray!!! Congratulations on the finish! I'm sure you will love snuggling under it :-D

  2. Congratulations! It looks lovely and,even better, it's in use already!

  3. Help ma boab - that is some size of first quilt!! Well done you for gritting your teeth and getting on with it, it was worth it coz it's fab! First quilts are always special and a bit wonky - that's the point, they are firsts. But if you're enjoying it already then you've forgiven it for putting you through the mill. My top tip that I still live by? A good wash and a tumble hides a multitude of sins and crookedness!

  4. it is a triumph! Quilting is all about working things out and doing it better next time, I reckon. Lynz is right about a good wash too. My first first quilt - I used the fold lines of the fabric to as my cutting guide! Wonky much?!

  5. Yay, that feeling of your first quilt. Mine is loved by a little girl who is now only three and takes it everywhere with her. Does she care about all the mistakes, I think not. In a couple more years it will be a rag, but a loved one and will probably be a square of fabric in a special box somewhere. Your quilt is bright and beautiful and you made it, nuff said.

  6. Fanfare for you!! How brill to finish your first quilt. It looks lovely and will always have a special place in your sewing history (just don't go giving it away, you'll regret it). We all have loads to learn about the process of quilting and about us as individual stitchers too and it's great that you can already list some of the lessons you've learned. Don't forget too that you can always use different colours of the same thread brand in your needle and in your bobbin to help it all blend in a little more, if that's what you want. Great job on your first quilt!!

  7. Oh well done you it looks lovely - far better than my first ever attempt did. And don't underestimate how difficult quilting can be without the tools for the job. Many of the people making really fab quilts have sewing machines that are more up to the job plus attachments like a walking foot. I have not found spray baste easy to use on bigger quilts so I stick to pins. You can get quilting safety pins which are like regular pins with a slight kink in them. So don't despair if you find one technique doesn't work for you when everyone else seems to rave about it.

  8. you made a beautiful quilt, love the colours in it.

  9. Did I read this right that this is your first quilt??? You have made some beautiful blocks in the stash bee, I had no idea you hadn't made a quilt! This is a beautiful first quilt--I wish mine had looked this good! I hope you made many more:). Ps I love spray basting too. I wish I had tried it earlier so it's awesome you already know that!

  10. Be proud as it is your first quilt and will always be very special. You have done a terrific job and it looks just lovely. Di x

  11. Not only does that look miles better than my first quilt, it's also about five times bigger! Well done you! I love the fabric (and turquoise and purple is my fav combo!)

  12. Absolutely gorgeous! Stunning colours, and really personal. Great one Tan!

    Difference between amateur and professional? They know how to hide their mistakes!

    Love it!

  13. Love this top! I've sewn together some scrappy four-patches but lost sight of the project I made them for. This pattern will be perfect to use them up!