It’s been a year. Can you believe it? I’ve been working at the quilt shop and learning this quilting stuff for a full year. It’s gone by too fast. I would have expected to consider myself beyond a beginner level after a year, but somehow I’d say I’m still pretty new to the actual nuts and bolts of sewing. I haven’t even gone beyond making squares. But, hey, let’s give me a break. With work, a dog, planning a wedding and buying a house this summer, I’ve been pretty busy. But I’m back in the game as I finally unpacked my sewing room last weekend. Granted, it’s still painted two-toned magenta shades courtesy of the six-year-old girl that occupied the room before me, but at least I’ve got all the required stations in place. Give me another three months (that’s about the speed I’m workin’ at these days) and I’ll get around to making it feel like my own space.
In the past year, I’ve worked on a few quilts: my first quilt from a layer cake (that now migrates between my couch and bed at home), two shop samples that are hung very, very high on the wall to hide the shameful sewing I did, and a few unfinished projects that bounce back and forth between active on my sewing machine and being “on deck.” I can thank my poor attention span for all the back-and-forth!
Here's all my "on deck" projects....will they ever get finished?!
Look familiar? Yup...those are some blocks from City Quilts "City Lot." After sewing my sashing with WAY, WAY TOO BIG seams, every block has been an angry battle to complete. I'm just aiming for "finished" sooner or later. It will be goofy. It will be donated. And that's just fine by me.
If you can remember, I made quite a fuss about one of the store samples I made needing to be perfect, but in retrospect, the pressure of making a store sample does not compare to my current projects — quilts as gifts. I know that one of the joys of quiltmaking is planning a project with a very special person in mind. However, TALK ABOUT PRESSURE!
The first gift quilt I planned was for one of my nieces. She is turning three this Halloween. So, really, she doesn’t care what the quilt looks like, but I DO. It had to be perfect. After a few days of restlessly cruising our patterns, I decided to give up. It was useless. No matter what I chose, I would never feel it was perfect. So I just went home, chopped up a few fat quarters and sewed them together. It’s basic, but it’s done! One of our mottoes around here is “better done than perfect” and I think I learned my lesson. I am just finishing up that quilt for her birthday present this year. Look familiar? I used it for our Binding Blog photos.
It was a good thing I learned my lesson on stress-free gift giving, because there’s no way I could have said no when my very own dad asked me to make him a quilt. Being my dad (and a guy), I can’t say I expect him to be disappointed when my corners don’t match. Heck, he probably won’t even be able to tell (as long as he doesn’t show it to my mom, who is a quilter!)
Wonder where I get my love for animals from? My dad raised these chickens from when they were chicks. They loved him!
Even with the pressure off on the actual sewing, I still felt the fabric and pattern needed to be tops. My dad is retired and is lucky to live in a beautiful lakeside cabin in Northern Wisconsin. He spends his afternoons in his rusty old rowboat, fishing on the lake. My mom has the house fully decorated with all kinds of Northwoods details — bear figurines, “gone fishin’” signs, and even a wooden raccoon hanging off the side of the house. They’re cabin people. I knew my dad’s quilt would need to fit my mom’s decorating as well as my dad’s interests. BINGO! We have trout fabric.
I’m mid-project and am excited about how it’s turning out. I’m using one of our free patterns meant for a layer cake. It goes together pretty quick and really features the fish fabric. When I get around to finishing the top, I’ve got plans for some fish-quilting and cozy minky on the back. Northern Wisconsin gets wicked cold in the winter and I’m sure there’ll be nothing better than warming up by a fire under this quilt with my dad.
Phase 1. I cut all my fabric and matched my "centers" with my "borders." It's kind of hard to believe this small stack of fabric will eventually spread out to make a whole quilt top!
Phase 2. Half of my "borders" sewn to my "centers." My fiance was at a hockey game, so there was NOTHING to distract me from making serious progress on this project. Onwards!
Phase 3. PEOPLE! I am not a fast sewer, but I think I had Della's wind beneath my wings as I was sewing these blocks. I cut all my fabric and sewed ALL my blocks in the same night. It's kind of a record for me. I think I'll go ahead and give myself a little pat on my back. The hardest part, as always, was strategically arranging all my blocks while deterring my curious dog from laying right on top of everything.
P.S. I was foolish to think this would be my last gift-quilt for a while. I recently got the news that BOTH of my older brothers’ wives are pregnant. And here’s the kicker — one of them is having TWINS. Looks like I’ve got three sets of baby quilts and baby gear to whip up before next summer. Any suggestions to get me started?
What are some perfect quilts you’ve made for your special people?
— Posted by Stacy