A Quilting Post For My Homemaker Club

This is a small, crib-sized quilt that I was working on at our last Homemaker club meeting. I only had three strips pieced together then, and I laid them on my white fabric so you could see the look I was going for. Now, it’s all finished!

Perhaps I’m giving too much away by posting these pictures, though? 😉

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A lot of hours went into the making of this, though I worked on it mostly in 20-30 minute snatches here and there. Sew a little while I wait for dinner to finish. Iron real quick while the children change into pajamas. Pin while the coffee’s brewing. The only long effort I put into it was the final top stitching and quilting, in the two hours I had between chores and church on this past Sunday morning. There are probably about twelve hours in it altogether, including the time it took for me to decide on and shop for the fabrics I wanted, but not including waiting for the UPS man to deliver them.

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It’s a very simple design, based on a quilt I saw pictured on the cover of a book. Every colored square is different, chosen from the prints available in two different, but complimentary, Moda charm packs, which are just collections of 5” squares of the various prints in a fabric line. I always love Moda prints and the fabric quality is very good, which is why I chose them. The white is a premium muslin – inexpensive but crisp.

I pieced together the 5” colored squares with 2.5”x5” white strips using a quarter inch seam allowance. Then I added the long white strips in between each row, planning to rely on the quilting to give it a little more interest later.

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Normally, I back my projects in a plain fabric like muslin, but because I used so much white muslin on the top, I purchased some coordinating yardage for the backing. I was originally going to try an official real-quilt binding, but I changed my mind at the last minute. Instead, I sewed the top, back and batting layers together right sides facing, so that I could turn them right side out and just top stitch. It’s a quick and easy method and it didn’t ruin the clean look I was going for.

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For the quilting, I just stitched alongside each square on the muslin.  It’s really simple quilting, but it also added a little extra design at the intersections, where the lines of stitching crossed.

031I’ve made a few quilts now, from crib size to twin size, and I’ve never done anything fancier than this sort of simple stitch-in-the-ditch type quilting.  And that’s okay!  Quilts don’t have to be fancy, just pretty and warm.

What I really wanted to show you today, though, is my mistakes.032See, I don’t own any fancy quilting equipment, not even a “walking” foot that’s supposed to feed the layers through the machine more smoothly!  I own a very basic sewing machine and whatever presser feet it came with.  So I do all my piecing and quilting with just a basic, all-purpose presser foot.  Unfortunately, if I don’t go slow enough, my layers don’t feed through well and I end up with a bunch of super tiny stitches that shouldn’t have been.  And I do get impatient rather often and try to speed things up by going too fast.  There are about a half dozen spots like this one on my quilt.  But I don’t think anyone else will notice.

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And also, something went wrong in my measuring or with the consistency of my seam allowances, because my printed squares did not all line up properly once they were all sewn together.  That would have been okay, except it threw off my quilting, resulting in some wonky squares at the intersections, especially on the right side.  Somehow, the left side lined up better and there were fewer issues.  Again, I don’t think anyone will look closely enough to notice, and after I wash it, I think it will be even less noticeable.

My point is that perfection is not the point of making things.  It’s the process and the pleasure it brings to both the maker and the recipient.  Will I try to do a better job next time?  Yes!  But I know that I will probably make some other error, and that I will never get it just right.

I say that if I can do it, you can do it, and I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true.  I just try.  I make mistakes and I accept that I will make mistakes and I try to learn from them, so as to do a better job next time, but I know that mistakes are part of learning.  Seeing my mistakes in no way diminishes the pleasure I take in this little quilt of mine.  And I can absolutely guarantee that the one for whom it was made will love it as much as I do.

That’s about as perfect as anything can get, don’t you think?

Next time, we’ll talk about choosing a design and selecting your fabric.  Okay?  This isn’t hard.  Really.  If I can do it, you can do it.  🙂

11 Comment

  1. It’s very pretty, Jennie! But I can’t wait to hear your tips on choosing a design and selecting fabric. That’s the toughest part, I think! I really need to finish the quilts I started before George was born – two twin sizes for my girls. Just need to do the quilting and binding. I really want to make a light-weight quilt for my bed, but I can’t decide on color, pattern, etc. Everything is so pretty.

    I only have final details left on my daughter’s confirmation dress. Lots of imperfections, but she doesn’t notice them. Most people won’t. The sisters want similar dresses as well, so I think I’ll be really good at pleats by the time I’m done. Practice makes perfect…

    1. I always think it’s pretty amazing that you sew dresses. I’ve made a couple of little ones for small, young girls, but they are always much simpler than the ones you make.

      1. I started with simple dresses, too. Success breeds confidence…or cockiness…

        I hope to finish and post pictures this weekend. So pretty. Despite the flaws.

  2. That is one lucky baby, for sure, to be wrapped up in Mommy’s love from the moment of arrival! 🙂

  3. That’s such a pretty quilt!

    I haven’t been on the computer much lately so I just was catching up on your blog posts this morning so I guess I will comment on all of your posts now…

    Your post about remarks people made regarding your pregnancy made me laugh out loud. Especially the part about how men shouldn’t be allowed to speak to pregnant women. When I was pregnant with my first baby people would ask, or more like assume, I was having twins. And for my last the same thing happened. I hated leaving my house. The worst though was when I walked into Walgreen with my newborn baby IN MY ARMS and a woman asked me when I was due. I pointed at my newborn and said I already had the baby and she said oh, I’m sorry, you just still look pregnant. It’s funny now, but at the time I think I may have shed a tear or two over it.

    You son is adorable. He looks extremely happy! Five is such a great age. Also, the turtle cake is adorable.

    Okay, all caught up.

    1. I ran out to the store sans baby shortly after Meggie was born and some GUY mistakenly assumed I was pregnant. Just goes to reinforce the idea that men should just keep their mouths shut. 🙂 Although I do think Michelle’s idea has merit

  4. Jennie, your quilt is lovely. The best part is that it is a FINISHED quilt. Some of us are guilty of letting a quilt rest for, oh, I don’t know, a dozen years or more… 😉 And binding isn’t really all that difficult. If you’re going to machine stitch it, it’s even faster! The only trick is mitering the corners, and if you know how to do hospital corners on a bed, it’s the same idea! Love you lots!

    1. I’m on a finishing-my-projects kick. 🙂 And hospital corners is the only way to make a bed, of course! I suspected it’d be that simple.

  5. Thanks Jennie! I love it! Still trying to decide if the blues and greens mean boy or the flowers mean girl… :). I hope you make it to our meeting cause I’m sure we need you but I hope the baby comes on time for you too. I haven’t picked a project yet but I will!

    1. Oh, good! I was hoping it’d be vague enough. 🙂

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