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April 17, 2009


Yes! Someone else who's asking the questions I haven't gotten around to yet. I was just lamenting in yesterday's post my own fear of beginning one for my daughter. I've been staring blankly at the fabrics and can't bring myself to make the first cut. But it's really about the experience as much as the finished product isn't it? When you look back, even if you have to squint to blind yourself from the blemishes that are sure to sneak up here and there, what will matter 30 years from now is that you made it yourself. That's what I keep telling myself.

Such cute fabrics! I would try something simple, like just putting a bunch of squares together. And if quilting has you concerned, try hand-tying. It can actually look quite nice... I've never done it, mind you - I've got the walking foot and I generally do machine quilting, but I took a couple beginners courses to get started.

You might want to check out the Pink Penguin blog.
She has several projects that are simple squares of busy fabric, so you might get an idea of how that would look. You could also use bigger squares of your prints, and frame them with the stripe.

As far as quilting goes, I send mine out for someone else to quilt cuz that's the part I don't like. Then I cry and whine and beg my mom to do the binding. Hey, whatever it takes. Sometimes it works.

Anne I totally cannot school you on the proper way of quilting. I just measured out smaller squares and bigger squares for Jake's quilt. I sewed them together on the machine. and then when it got to be a size that looked "right" I cut the inner batting and the flannel to back it. Then when you "quilt" it, you are supposed to "stitch in the ditch" meaning where the seams of the squares come together. Yeah...I more stitched nearby and in the vicinity of the ditch. I used the machine but I don't even know what a walking foot is. Then I used bias tape to make like a binding or edging all the way around. My machine is kind of screwed up, its old, and so when I tried to use a zig zag stitch to attach the binding, it really looked messy. So I went with it and just kept doing all kinds of different stitches on top of each other to make it look purposedly wonky messy. At least I tell myself that it looks purposeful. I am sure any real quilter would shudder in horror but I was still proud of it. I love the fabrics you have and my thought is this...instead of squares what about doing long strips of the fabrics? Putting the stripey one in between the others. It would be easy to sew the strips together, way easier than a bunch of squares.

No experience but I too love that fabric.

Hi Anne, for what's it worth - here's what I'd do. Use largish squares (say 10 inches)which should make it easier. A walking foot helps to stop the fabric slipping but it is entirely possible to quilt without one. Hand quilting is lovely, but really - life's too short to stuff a mushroom or to hand quilt (imho!!). Hand tying looks pretty cool too although I've never done it. Binding is not hard there are plenty of tutorials that are straightforward (email me if you need help), or you could just do what I've seen others do - just back it with fleece or something similar without binding at all. Your fabrics look lovely, I think the best advice is just go for it!

I would also recommend larger squares if you want to show the prints. There's a polka dot in that line that would go well with it, and if you look for Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope line, there's a basketweave print in orange that is a perfect match (umm yes, I have made a quilt from these fabrics). Add in a solid brown as well, to round it out.

If you want fairly intricate quilting, I would send it to a long arm quilter and pay her to do a professional job. Otherwise, I would get a walking foot and do a geometric design or just a simple grid pattern. Binding isn't hard, but it's time consuming. I found the best explanation to be in Bend the Rules Sewing. Her easy lap quilt would probably be a good template for what you want to do.

Or, you could put those goldfish fabrics on Ebay since they sell now for over $30 per yard. Seriously. The stuff is gold. I hoard every scrap I have left.

I'm kicking myself for not buying that fabric when I had the chance. I think it would be adorable in small (3-4 inch) blocks framed by the striped and other coordinating fabrics. Kinda log cabinish, but with a bigger center square (does that make sense)? Honestly though, I think that once you get started it'll all just come together. The hardest is the first cut!! Oh and I'd definitely recommend a walking foot. Posie Gets Cozy has a great binding tutorial on her blog. I was scared to death to do my own binding until I read it. baby steps :-)
Good luck & can't wait to see the finished product!

i'd definately go for squares. not necessarily so big, though. i think the fabrics will look great together.

I see you've gotten lots of advice already. :) I machine quilt, and don't think I would want to take on the project of hand quilting anything larger than a doll quilt. Maybe a lap quilt someday. But it's alot of work. I'd definitely recommend a walking foot. But they are pretty inexpensive. And you won't need it for a little bit.

Binding, however, isn't that much of a nightmare. I thought it would be, it sounded like it should be, but it's not. Sew strips of fabric together. At an angle is better, but not necessary. press them lengthwise with right sides out. Machine sew to front of quilt. Hand sew to the back. That part is a tiny bit tedious, but by that time you are so excited for the thing to be done that it will catapult you to the finish line. And I personally find the hand sewing part to be kind of meditative, like I am adding love each time I add a stitch, and like I can reflect on the whole process while I do it. I like it.

As for arranging those fabrics. Yes, simple would be great. I could see squares of each of them on a white ground, log cabinish, like Melissa said. You could do it a couple of ways really. Probably easiest to cut out squares of the prints, 3-4 inch maybe, then sew strips of white around them to form a white "box." Then sew all of those print in white squares together to get a finished quilt top.

I'm always willing to help, don't hesitate to ask! That's how I learned some of this stuff!

And good luck!

Binding is actually quite easy. I use the tutorial on Hello My Name Is Heather.

I know a lot of people have recommended squares, but if you are going to be bothered if the squares aren't perfect, I would not do that for your first quilt.

You can see the first quilt I made for Jack here, on the Oct 9 entry
I just cut a lot of strips and pieced them together into vertical strips and then sewed the vertical strips together. It was VERY easy to do and there was NO complicated measuring or precise cutting.

The thing is not to get caught up in how it looks, I always get halfway through and hate what I'm doing (then I put it in a box for a week or two so that I can get some perspective). If you really like the fabric use biq squares, kids love big squares. And much to my chagrin after many baby quilts under my belt I realized kids LOVE tied quilts.. The love playing with the ties and what not.

you have great taste and a fun personality do what you like and your kid will love it.

Also, for what it's worth, the first few quilts/blankets that I made I didn't bind at all, I just turned the edges under, pinned, and sewed around the edge.

There's a million ways to do this stuff. :) That's why I love it.

I love to quilt, but am not detail oriented... can you be both? I have found that there are some simple quilts that would be easy, beautiful and very rewarding. Check out some of the quilts at Crazy Mom Quilts Then there is this site (I made this EASY quilt for my daughter: (Disappearing Nine Patch))
I have also used the blanket backing method to avoid binding the quilt. The best part of sewing for kids is that they don't care for perfect. They don't analyze the seams to see if they were done correctly, or care if the lines all match up. As we say in my house, the secret ingredient is love!

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