Not long ago, when I would think about quilting, I thought of ancient old ladies sitting on plastic covered couches hand-stitching pinwheel quilts in calico shades of maroon, hunter green, ecru, tan and off-white. Ew. Where is the fun? Where is the style? Where is the black?? I always thought quilts would be a lot cooler if there was more black in them…and polka dots. Where the hell were the polka dots??
Making a quilt was on my “bucket list”. In addition to running a marathon, saving up for a fancy, expensive, and unnecessary purse and making out with a super hot rockstar, I wanted to make my own quilt. After talking to my crafty friend Angela who had made a few quilts herself, she borrowed me a few of modern quilting books. I was instantly drawn to Sunday Morning Quilts, a book on making fun, inspired quilts from scraps. The book was filled with colors, style and the idea that making a quilt would be a piece of cake. I mean, all it was, was sewing scraps of fabric together in straight lines. Any bonehead with a sewing machine could do that. That included me. I was sold that I could make a quilt.
I wanted it to cover my bed, so it would need to be a queen sized blanket, at minimum. And I didn’t have any fabric scraps, since I had never quilted before, so off to the fabric store I went. I knew I wanted black and white in the color scheme, and that would be accented with blues, greens and grays. I was less than impressed with the amount of acceptable “cool” fabric that they had. Apparently, calico is still a thing. Ew. I had to hunt, and lower my standards a little to find about 6 patterns that I would start with. I also found a few pre-packaged fat quarter sets in colors that I liked.
After I went to the big-box fabric store, I went to a small local fabric store, Crafty Planet, in Minneapolis. Have you been there before? It’s fantastic. They have the best selection of the coolest prints and amazing fabrics! But, the trade off is it does cost a bit more for the quality. I ended up buying 2 awesome prints that I couldn’t live without. Just an FYI, they have a sale section in the back where they have discontinued fabric for sale at a nice price.
Making a quilt from scratch is not cheap. And the bigger the quilt, the more it will cost. Before I began this project, I assumed that because it was just going to be small pieces of fabric sewn together, it would be a cheap endeavor. Nope. You will also need A LOT of thread and batting. And don’t forget about fabric for the back!
I decided to make the “Sunday Morning” style quilt from the book because it was just strips of rectangles sewn into squares. I didn’t want to mess around with triangles or anything crazy. This quilt allowed for awkward rectangles and allowed for imperfections. Sign me up! I needed the wiggle room for my first quilt.
I didn’t factor in the amount of time it would take. I started buying fabric and cutting squares in the winter of 2014. I would put in 1 or 2 hours once a week cutting strips and starting to sew blocks. I needed at least 400+ cut rectangles which would transfer into around 70 blocks. That took awhile. Also, there is a lot of math. If you like math, this will be easy for you. If you are not a math genius, like me, this will suck. I struggled…but I figured it out. You can do it. I finished my top quilt in April.
Once the top is done, you need to make a back. I had odd pieces of fabric left and figured out the easiest way to use up my fabric without making a huge production of making the back. I was tired of making blocks for the top so I make the back as basic as I could. When the back was finished, it was time to get the batting. I wanted this to be a light blanket so I go some hippie organic fill that wasn’t too puffy. Getting all 3 layers laid out on the floor to start the creation of the blanket is my least favorite part. This is where you learn if you measured correctly weeks before. Lining everything up took multiple tries. Don’t get frustrated, you’re almost there!
I found a good video online that showed me how to make the binding tape and attach it. There are actually a few good videos out there that cover this but I liked this one the best.
Quilt complete! Almost… You have the option to have a fancy sewing machine sew everything down flat. I don’t have a quilting machine, have the desire (or $$$$) to buy one, or know anyone who has such a contraption. I searched Craigslist and there are people and shops who offer the service, but it is kind of spendy. In keeping with my mod quilt theme, I just used my sewing machine and made symmetrical straight lines down the quilt. I tried to hide them in seams on the top, and I think it worked out pretty well.
I ended up finished the quilt completely in August. It was quite the journey. I made it crazy. It has black, white and polka dots. Lots of polka dots. I’m happy with it. The seams aren’t perfect and it’s not perfectly square, but, I’m not perfect either. My quilt and I are a good match.
It’s a little smaller than a queen, but big enough to add to my bed as a supplemental blanket. I ran out of thread about 57 times and almost punched my sewing machine twice. But I did it. And it’s really pretty. Bucket list item, complete. Now to make out with a super hot rockstar….