Have any of you ever tried piece quilting? This is the process of using several small pieces of fabric to create a patterned quilt. The choice of patterns are endless! I’ve made several baby blankets in just simple block patterns in the past. Last year I got industrious and made my first baby size piece quilt for my third grandchild and I LOVED it! It was like creating a giant adult puzzle! Making sure to put each colored triangle in the correct place to create the anticipated design. And it turned out beautiful! Was it perfect? Nope. But it is perfect to me, my daughter, and hopefully will be to Emy when she gets older.
So, being the Pinterest addict that I am, I started looking at quilt patterns. I decided to try the next larger size; a lap quilt, or throw. Not much bigger than a baby blanket, right? No problem! Sheeeeeeezzzzz….. I have worked on this lap quilt for MONTHS! I’m not sure if this is my cup-a-tea! First, I chose a quilt pattern on Pinterest. A Cross Quilt. Looks simple, not too complicated of a pattern. Cutting the squares was easy, peasy. Then I laid them all out to follow the instructions for the design pattern. Next, I pinned the strips together in the order I had them laid out, took them to my machine and started sewing my little squares together to make strips. After that comes sewing the strips together to make the quilt front. Everything’s going great so far! Got them allll sewn together, laid my quilt top out on my bed to admire my work, and wait….something doesn’t look right. One corner doesn’t look like the others…… Enter my seam ripper! Let’s look on the bright side, at least I haven’t finished it and then noticed my mistake! Ok, so rip out the squares that are wrong, rearrange them, and stitch them back in. Got it! Next comes the easy part, the solid backing.
Let me take a moment to explain that the only store in my town that I can buy fabric from is WalMart. The fabric that I purchased for my quilt front I got from Hobby Lobby on a shopping trip out of town. The nearest fabric store to me is a 45 minute drive. That being said, When I bought the fabric for the quilt front, I figured that since I was going to just use a solid cream, cotton fabric for the back, I would get that from my WalMart when I needed it. So off I go to get quilt batting and my cream fabric. The measurements of my lap quilt are approximately 48 X 54 inches, and I plan on using the backing to make my binding around the edges. (Also a Pinterest idea) Therefore, I need my fabric to be AT LEAST 52 inches wide. Next dilemma…. the fabric in Walmart only comes in 45 inch width. So what do I do now? Leave.
Back at home I start to try and figure out how I’m going to create the back of this quilt with 45 inch wide fabric. Do I want to piece the back of the quilt too? Not really. But I don’t know when I will have a chance to go to the fabric store for wider fabric…. Then my brain Finally kicks into gear. How do they back the larger quilts? The ones that go on actual beds? SHEETS!! Why was this such a hard thing for me to realize! It takes about a week for my return trip to WalMart, but finally I bought a cream, twin size, flat sheet to make the back of my lap quilt.
I cut the batting the same size as the quilt front. Then layered my sheet, the batting, and the quilt top on my bed and cut the sheet 2 inches wider than the top on each side. Next step is pinning. With large safety pins, I started in the center of the quilt top and pinned the center of every other or every third square. This is to help keep the fabric from shifting as you sew. Ready for the “quilting” part.
I have a regular sewing machine, not a quilting machine, so this is a lot of fabric to try and sew. My instincts tell me to sew the center area first and work my way out to the sides. Makes sense, right? What my instincts didn’t tell me was to not sew in different directions. TIP FOR BEGINNERS: START IN THE CENTER OF YOUR QUILT AND STITCH ALL VERTICAL LINES FROM TOP TO BOTTOM WORKING YOUR WAY OUT TO THE RIGHT. THEN, GO BACK TO THE CENTER AND STITCH VERTICALLY TO THE OTHER SIDE. (I turned by quilt around and stitched from the bottom of the quilt to the top, still working my way out to the right edge) THEN, TURN QUILT SIDEWAYS AND START BACK AT CENTER REPEATING SAME PROCESS STITCHING THE VERTICAL LINES. I didn’t start off with this process. I started in the center but turned my quilt every which direction stitching the center cross design. Which I then had to spend several days ripping out with a seam ripper because it created puckering and shifting of the design.
2 days spent stitching the quilted parts, being careful to hold fabric taught as it goes under the presser foot. This is a very helpful step I also learned from guess where, yep, Pinterest. Last step was the binding. And I must say, this was the easiest part! I folded down 1 inch of the back fabric toward the front, all the way around the and pressed with my iron. Then I folded the remaining inch over the front and pinned every few inches along with folding my mitered corners and pinning them. I stitched the binding down close to the inside edge all the way around, being sure that I back-stitched at the beginning and the end. Finally, I hand stitched the mitered corners. And it is done!
Is it perfect? Nope. But for a beginner quilter, I am quite proud of it. And I learned a lot along the way! Will I do it again? Probably. But for now I think I want to go back to baby quilts. Just for the faster gratification!
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7