I made my first quilt and my Aunt Valerie emailed me to say my grandmother would be so proud. I cried. Â Instantly I can picture my grandmother and about a dozen other women in the church basement in the small town where she lived, before moving in with us. There was a huge quilting loom where the Sunday school tables normally sat. Â I witnessed a good old fashion quilting bee. Â All the ladies, hand stitching together, perfect imperfect stitches. The quilt was made of actual scraps, not pieces of expensive fabric cut up to look like scraps. My grandmother slept with quits that once were dresses, shirts and nightgowns, not $15 a yard quilting cotton, bought online.
Part of me wants this post to veer in the direction of getting back to our ancestry and rewalking the paths our mother’s mothers walked, but Christ, who has the time. Â I can’t hand quilt crap. Â Deeply buried ADHD inside me would bubble to the surface. I’ve got a full time job and a mortgage the size of the national debt in my ancestors time. Â I have to go to work. Plus I have 3 kids, albeit not 13 like my great-grandmother, Â but still, it all sucks up a lot of time. Â So the fact that i make anything besides a mess I think is amazing.
So here’s my first quilt, done on a machine, which pretty much does all the work for you. Still, I know my grandmother, and all the quilter-bees at Sunday school would be proud.
I followed Amy Butler’s free pattern for her Mid Mod QuiltÂ Â but not to the tee. Â I added a thick white border around the edge. Â It took months and months for me to make this quilt. Mostly because I had to sew in 10 minute increments, and Google how to do things along the way. Â But i collected some valuable tips, usually after royally screwing up.
I cut more than 100 strips of different fabrics for this quilt, and used more than a dozen different fabrics, so I had to dig deep into my left brain…(is that the side that keeps you organized?)
Sewing all the strips together in an unorderly fashion was key to getting the scrappy look . You can sew your strips together faster by chain sewing. The trick is not cutting the thread after you finish your strip. Saves time, and thread.
Here’s how the top looked when it finally came together.
Now comes the sandwich. And when I was done eating I sandwiched Â the top, bottom and middle. Ha. You need a big wide open space for this. Â I put the quilt on my bedroom floor and left it there for too long.
But it was a good sign that this quilt was going to be well loved.
In the end, it took months, to sew, sandwich and baste, all of the lines were free hand and crooked, but who cares. Â Crooked lines are as warm as straight. Â It’s great.