Don’t get too excited—this does not represent a dive into quilting. More a dip of the proverbial toe. And while the water feels just fine, I’m not sure I’m ready for a swim just yet. Perhaps a bit more time to digest lunch is required.
A friend is organizing a surprise group quilt as a gift for another friend’s upcoming 30th birthday. No rules, no color suggestions—just the request for an 8.5 x 8.5 inch square. Based on the emails that have gone around, it seems both crafty and non-crafty folks were asked to participate, which means that there’s no expectation of a professionally pieced quilt.
So what better time to play with the medium than now, right?
I bought this fabric last July, with no project in mind. I put it away and, while I never truly forgot about it, it was far enough from my mind that I was shocked to retrieve it Thursday night and realize how much pink was in there! Thanks to Purl, I had 6 fabrics that coordinated nicely with no input from me—and the sunshiney color palette was exactly what I wanted for my friend.
In a spurt of creative energy at midnight on Wednesday, I started researching rotary cutters and mats, picking Ashley‘s brain for guidance on sizes of each (45mm seems appropriate for a rotary cutter; get a mat as big as you can support and afford). But it was all pricey and would take time to get here—and the truth is, I have a ton of sewing supplies. I’ve taken a few classes, one a private with my seamstress. I decided I could manage it myself this time, and think about getting better stuff for the future.
The first thing I did Thursday night was try to get even strips that went with the grain (or against it, whatever), by getting the selvedges aligned and trimming the rough edges. Man, were these pieces NOT rectangles to begin with! Does that matter in quilting? I mean, I knew I needed an even strip, but would it have mattered if it had been at a slight angle to the grain? Anyway, I got it all aligned, cutting away the excess, and then I cut my 1.5-in strips.
They weren’t as perfect as if I’d had a rotary cutter, to be sure, but they were pretty darn close enough. And then I just started sewing! It was fast—the most time consuming part was getting up to iron after each new segment was added. I probably could have figured out a better setup if I’d tried, but the sewing was still done in half an hour as it was.
I pressed all my seams open, but some got folded over when I ran them through anyway. Eh, it’s fine. I’m pretty happy with the final result–I somewhat randomly picked the arrangement of fabrics (no careful plotting beforehand—look at me! flying by the seat of my pants!). And as I thought might happen, my square isn’t exactly 8.5 x 8.5; it’s a bit more like 8.4 x 8.4. Close enough!
Will I be quilting anytime soon? Still undecided. But I’m certainly not afraid of the log cabin any more. And my fear of cutting is even greatly reduced—I did an excellent job getting even strips with just my Ginghers; think what I could do with precision equipment!
I’ll leave you with a more in-focus shot of the finished product—my very first pieced creation ever!