The Making of the Quilt

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should if you don't!) you saw some photos of the quilt I gave my man for his birthday as I worked on it. In addition to those photos, I took more along the way and I am glad that I properly documented this process of making this quilt, not only because it was my first ever, but also it's nice to look back and see how far I came, starting with fabric and ending with the big finished quilt.

When I originally cut the fabric into squares, I had intended to do all the squares the same direction with the solid color on the right and the print on the left, like below:

But being the non-quilter that I am, I had no idea that I could make so many other configurations with the same shapes! Suddenly I was playing with them and getting all kinds of other options stuck in my head. After moving them around I came up with two other ideas, below:

After much thought, and some help with Photoshop, I decided on the layout  on the right, which I mocked up to see how it would look as a whole quilt below:

I made my first block and was off and running!

From this point, I decided to work assembly-line style. There were some serious pros and cons to this idea. The pros: it's faster to do the same thing over and over again instead of stopping to think about what is next. The cons: you feel like the step you're on will NEVER END! But then eventually, it does. Thank the lord.

I followed this tutorial for making quick half square triangles. The only thing I did differently is that the tutorial tells you to sew each square at once, pivoting at each corner, and I did mine as a chain so I sewed all the right sides of the pieces, not stopping between each piece, then turned the whole chain around and did all the left sides. I cut them free and then repeated with the two remaining sides. I found this to be faster than pivoting at the right spot on each corner on every piece.

- chaining all the pieces together -

- cutting the pieces free -                           - pressing all the pieces -

- marking each piece -                           - cutting all the pieces twice-

- pressing each square -                           - cutting off the seam allowance -

After I had hundreds of squares, I started sewing them together. This was one of the most tedious steps, and rightly so, I see on my computer that I have no photos of this step. Clearly I was just trying to power through! After that, the fun starts to happen because you join the blocks and it starts to look like something! Thank god, after months of this, it had better!

Then, before you know it, the top is done! Time to prepare the back. I bought a medium gray and white seersucker stripe for the back and pieced together a strip of scraps from the quilt top that was going to go on the lower part of the back. I wanted to include an embroidered message to my man on the piecing  strip, so I got out my lovely Sublime Stitching floss that my pal Jenny Hart gave me. 

I found the perfect red to match the quilt and embroidered two panels to be sewn in. One was a simple heart with the year inside and my initials on top. I like the tradition of always signing your quilt, so I kept with that. I also embroidered a message in French to my man below. In case you don't read French, it says "made with love for my love." 

I sewed the pieced panel into the back and got ready for the final steps. Little did I know that the basting that was next was going to nearly break me! Devon helped me smooth everything out and get it all situated, then I spent the better part of an afternoon basting all the layers together, breaking many finger nails along the way as I used around 450 safety pins. Holy crap. That part sucked! 

I decided to quilt along the seam lines, both vertically and horizontally, following every other seam to create a grid, which is easier to see on the back. I am SO happy with the way the quilting ended up! 

I found a perfect chocolate and gray fabric to pull all the colors together for the binding and stitched it on by machine. My best decision of the whole quilt? Hand stitching the binding. It was weirdly satisfying to do it by hand and the clean and perfect edge looks amazing. I highly recommend that to anyone that does it by machine. 

Last but not least, I washed and dried the quilt to give it a cozy and soft finish, then wrapped it up and gifted to my man, who was none the wiser after all these months! He loved it and I'm so glad that I took all the time I did to make it for him. I will do another quilt this year, this time for myself, but will absolutely be taking a break from it! 

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me along the way and kept me going when I was ready to toss in the towel! I have a new found respect for quilters and after all these years of sewing, really learned a lot of new lessons by doing this project. Yay!