Tuesday, January 19, 2010

'Tis the Season for Quilting

This past fall, I started working on Miriam's cross-stitched Christmas stocking. It didn't get finished. In fact, it's not even a quarter of the way done. I figured she wouldn't mind...being only 7 months old and all.

Christmas has come and gone and it just doesn't seem right to work on that stocking right now. Christmas is soooo far away. That's a better project to pick up again next fall when the deadline of Christmas will spur me on.

The New Year means quilting to me. It seems as if every year at this time, I get the urge to start or pick up a quilting project. It might be because I love having a quilt-in-progress draped over my lap, keeping me very snug in our cold house. Making a quilt takes me a long time and I blame this squarely on my children. By the end of the day, it takes a lot of motivation to focus my eyes on small stitches. It's ironic, though, that in spite of them making me exhausted and unable to focus, it is for my children mainly that I quilt.

I am working on my fifth quilt. There are other quilts I've contributed to, at my Grammie's quilt frame when I was a little girl or in church at quilts to be auctioned off for relief.

The first quilt I made was for Jamey for his birthday or Christmas while we were still in college. My Grandma had a shoe box full of fabric squares that she had cut out and saved over the years. They were all the same size, about 3 inches x 3 inches. I sewed them together, adding batting and a back and finished it off by tying knots (with a lot of help from my mother). We still have that quilt, but the fabric squares I used were so old that with little wear they started to pull apart making the quilt quite fragile and therefore not very usable anymore. Lesson learned.

For my second quilt, I bought all new fabric. This one was for the baby Sam growing inside me. This quilt was a little larger than crib size and was very simple. Squares and rectangles pieced together with each side of each shape quilted. It was finished and folded over the back of the rocking chair in the nursery when we brought him home from the hospital. Over-achiever, yes, I was.

You can read this post about my Sadie girl's quilt which I just finished last year...when she was three years old. I started it while I was pregnant with her, piecing it rather quickly and then taking forever to quilt it. I enjoyed this one much more, using an actual quilt pattern with triangles and such (triangles were daunting to me for some reason).

While Sadie's quilt sat languishing in it's hoop, my mother and I conspired to make a quilt for my brother and his bride as a wedding gift. I picked out the fabric (my favorite part), chose the pattern and pieced the quilt, passing it off to my mother for her to quilt. It was hard giving that one away. Quilts are truly labors of love.

I was determined to start Miriam's in good time and have set some goals for myself. I started it while I was pregnant (last winter after New Year's) and, as of two weeks ago, have the top pieced. Not only do I want to have it finished by next Christmas but, I vowed to only use fabric I already have. This really shouldn't be difficult. I have a large plastic bin of leftover fabric from past projects, plus dozens and dozens of swatches from my dear friend and interior decorator, Laura.

All these patterns are in Miriam's quilt.

Well...this post has become way longer than I intended it to be. So, instead of straining your tired eyes, I will continue this post another day when I'll give you some peeks at the top of Miriam's quilt and share some largely valuable quilt-piecing advice that I have gleaned from some very experienced quilters. Pin It


  1. I love making baby quilts... our daughter still sleeps with hers. I like the idea of using what you have on hand...What do you use for batting...warm & natural (cotton) or polyester?

  2. I can quilt, I just don't. hmmm. I actually am good at piecing, but do it so randomly, that my seam allowances are not consistent, and then the squares become too random in their shape. I can sew the straight line, but the size is not consistent. So unless I can have a quilting marathon, I usually don't. I LOVE quilting. I Love everything about it. Everything, except when my little boys get into the pins.
    I look forward to seeing all the beautiful projects on the horizon for you.

  3. Those are some rich colors---it will be cozily beautiful, I do believe.

  4. Can't wait to see the quilt...the fabrics are gorgeous! And I also can't wait for quilting tips...I am determined to make a quilt...hopefully this year. That's not a promise as I just signed up to return to college and I start tonight! I think it will keep me quite busy...but maybe I can squeeze in some sewing time here and there. Oh...I just got an idea! Maybe I can make it WHILE I'm in school...as a reminder...and a tribute...to my FINALLY completing my degree! That's not a bad idea!

    Thanks for listening...you just helped me work something out! xo

  5. Mavis, I use 100% cotton batting and prefer the thin batting over the super-puffy.

    Laura and Mavis, I LOVE finding out that others quilt!

    JJ, Thank you :-).

    Michelle, Best of luck tonight!! A quilt to commemorate your return to school is a lovely idea.

  6. I have never quilted, but I do sew. Hmmm....maybe it is something I will take up in the future. :) I agree with Mama JJ ~ the fabrics are very beautiful!

  7. I love this post - ever since we moved in I've been trying to figure out how to finally put your wedding quilt on display! Maybe someday you'll spend the night in our guest room and you'll get to enjoy it again...

  8. Ooh - you have an interior decorator friend who gives you swatches? Love that! totally jealous! I am trying to finish hand-quilting a Q-sized quilt I started over the summer. Am about 75% done, I think . . . Will love to see the finished product (yours, that is! Mine, too, come to think of it . . . )! :-)

    Patty R


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