right now

right now

Mar 27, 2011

My first bed-size quilt

This project is all about working with what I already had on hand.  I had to get a bit creative in the block size and backing due to the amounts of fabric I had on hand, but it can be done!

I used the pattern "Modern Maze" from the book 'Modern Basics' by Amy Ellis.  I ended up shortening the squares down to 12" from 12.5 and adding a border to create the exact size I needed for the bed, while working with the varied amounts of fabric I had.

Long story short, here's what I've been up to the past few days:

Thursday, I picked out these 3 fabrics that I really love and always keep different shades of in my stash.  I then paired them with the orange you see in the upper left corner.  They blend well in the quilt, although I'll be honest and say that if I were going to actually purchase the final color for the quilt, I would have used another gray, it's my favorite color and has a more modern look that matches the house.  While nice, this quilt will end up being a bit more "happy" and springy, not as "mod" as I had hoped.  But, I like it still...

After getting all the cutting done on Thursday, i was able to get all the piecing done on Friday.  Lest you think I am really energetic, I want you to see my new setup for pinning the squares into rows....

Kids in bed, movie on Netflix, wine glass on the right and a felted board on my lap for pinning, see? - I'm not really as ambitious as I seem sometimes :)

I think I'll call this quilt "By the skin of my teeth" - look at how little fabric was left after trimming 35 12" squares... not much room for error, eh?  If you don't sew or quilt, just know that this is NOT good, I'm actually very, very lucky this time.

Saturday I finished sewing all the rows and columns together, pressing all the seams on the back of the quilt top flat

Here is the pattern before quilting the top

Lacking the massive amount of backing fabric needed (5-6 yards), I chose this bedsheet instead!  It has the same colors but different pattern totally, but the content was right at a low thread count (quilting fabric is NOT high thread count and needles have a hard time punching through those nice soft bedsheets). Due to that low thread count it wasn't being used as a sheet, so voila! - improvisational quilt backing.  Bonus is that it will essentially be a reversible quilt when I'm done.

Saturday night was time to sandwich the quilt.  A must is to start with a swiffer, since this evolution is done on the floor due to the size of the quilt.

Backing fabric (sheet) taped to the floor

Batting goes on top of that, then the quilt top - then the whole sandwich is basted together to avoid shifting during the actual quilting process.  For newbies, a quilt isn't actually "a quilt" until it is sandwiched and all layers are stitched together in a pattern of sorts - the top is called "patchwork".

And yes, I use pins for basting instead of needle and thread...it's much easier for me

Above is the quilt sandwich on the floor, covered in basting pins, this process took about 2 hours Saturday night as I was also having to shoo children away and take care of laundry as well.

And chasing dogs away...

They seemed to think it was their new bed, and didn't seem to mind laying on a bunch of pins

Today's job is the actual quilting, this involves a plain grid stitch for me, it's "easy" but extremely long, boring, back aching work - but when this part is finished is when it really starts to look like a quilt and not just a starchy flat piece of fabric!

Here is where I'll be the rest of the day today, tonight, and probably tomorrow.  After this part all that is left is the binding, and that is the hardest part for me, I'm hoping someday I'll "get it" without the book in front of me and I'll start to look forward to this finishing step as I gain more experience.

Luckily, I'm not missing a thing outside, it's cold and blustery - weather report called for snow today but it is 36º outside so we are getting sleet all day, brrrrrr!  Hard to imagine now that it was 82º this time last week!


  1. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!! And the dogs agree. They only lay on the very best of things ;)

  2. WOW, your quilt is gorgeous! I really like the color combination and I can't believe how quickly you got it done.

  3. Fantastic job using fabrics on hand! I thought the picture of the dogs on the quilt was hysterical. I can just imagine you tearing your hair between shooing kids away and trying to explain to the dogs just why they couldn't plop down on the quilt. So glad the weather is cooperating (Sleet? Ish!) and giving you this precious quilting time.

    P.S. Why do I think you're going to be one of those quilters who turn out 24 full-sized quilts a year??

  4. Very very nice Erin...the color combination is great!

    I can't believe that it is 36 there...it's warmer up here and no rain, sleet or snow!! It looks like the weather is going to turn around in a few days.......so, you better get that quilt done!

  5. Beautiful! I love how quickly you put it together. I envy those who can quilt. I sew, but am much more of a slap-dash cutter and pinner, so I don't have the patience for quilting. We've had so much rain here I'm turning into a duck or a fish, I'm not sure which!

  6. Your quilt is beautiful! I'm in awe of how quickly you got it all done.
    Aww, dogs are so cute laying on your quilt. Reminds me of my silly cats always getting under the sheets while I try to make beds or change the sheets. I actually have to shut them out of rooms when I make beds or change sheets cause they just can't help themselves. LOL!

    Cold weather does have it's perks and that quilt looks to be one of them.

  7. Good Gawd, Girl! Amazing work! You are shooting straight to the top of the class! I love your colors and pattern! Sometimes the ones with the least amount of fuss end up looking the best, don't they? Call me a minimalist, but I do love them!

    I think you are just trying to throw us off with your kicked back approch to pinning! However that is a very good idea!

    Good Job, Erin!!

  8. Not ambitious???? Good lord, woman-you are the most driven person I have ever seen. Well, a tie maybe with Mama Pea.
    The quilt is gorgeous. Looks like it already has all the approval it needs. You are amazing!

  9. Very nice! The dogs clearly approve.

  10. Beautiful! What a great job. I always HATE pin basting but at one of my quilting classes I was introduced to a spray-on adhesive for basting the quilt sandwich together. I forget the name now and I'd have to go look for the can downstairs but it's a dream to work with- and nothing shifts in progress. You have to be careful which brand you use because she warned me that one of them gunks up the needle.

  11. Well gosh, thanks y'all! I'm clearly deep into the "not so nice" part of it now, only 25% of the way through the machine quilting and my "straight" lines ain't so purdy! Kind of thinking I might be arrested for DUI/Sewing!

    Mama Pea, pfffft! 24 quilts a year? NO! I'm already quite worried for my beloved new machine as I keep force feeding it foot after foot of fabric. I'm thinking from now on maybe the gray wool ship blanket tucked military style around the bed with just a quilt "topper" is the way to go LOL!

    Robin the weather here is terrible right now, it's that damp bone chilling kind of cold, I just had to soak in a hot tub to get my feet warm again, I need some sun!

  12. Ruth, I'm pretty methodical when it comes to the cutting and piecing of a quilt, but holy heck I hate doing paper patterns and I have to admit after all the perfection in piecing, now that I'm actually machine quilting, my give-a-d@mn is busted and I'm just sailing it through now in hopes that it will wash and shrink up and not be noticed LOL

    Sparkless, there are definitely upsides to cold weather!

    APG, indeed, pinning with wine and Netflix is multitasking to the utmost LOL

    Sue, it's all an illusion, really! Seriously though, hubby has been at work for a week pretty much, 16 hour days 7 days a week due to a stressful flight schedule, it has given me more "me time" than I usually have. I'm sure I'll post more on that soon since I've kind of reached my limit there on how long I can go without venting about it :)

    Kelly, just for you I double-tied my shoes today while sewing :)

    Judy, oooh I saw that stuff and wondered if it worked and then I didn't get it since I was afraid that Mama Pea and Apple Pie Gal would come string me up a tree if they saw I used "spray-n-baste" heehee, you'll have to let me know which one doesn't gunk up the machine, it'd be nice to have on hand :)

  13. Beautiful quilt! I love the colors and the pattern! Nice job! Couldn't have a much better set up for being productive by the way!

  14. Your quilt looks amazing, Erin! Thanks for showing the process...it was interesting to see all the steps that go into the quilt!