29 November, 2011

The easy way and...

My way (that is, the hard way).

I am a wannabe quilter. I recently finished my first real quilt, ten years in the making. I learned a lot, mostly about what not to do. I'm working on my second quilt now Having just finished my second quilt I'm learning more still. Best of all, I'm changing how I learn.

I have a habit of approaching new and complicated tasks as if I should be able to figure them out on my own. This is how I went about making my first quilt; that didn't go too well. It's also how I started the second quilt. I learned a bunch on the first one so I figured the second one should be effortlessly great, right?

At Rhinebeck I told Craftivore about the mistakes I made with the first one, namely the unintended pleating (on. both. sides!). Then something marvelous happened, she gave me some advice:
  • Tape each layer of the sandwich to the floor before basting the sandwich together.
  • Use a walking foot. 
Maybe not earth-shattering stuff to you guys, but for me I learned some stuff the easy way and, as Homer Simpson would say, with sexy results! [eyebrow waggle]

This second quilt was a great learning experience and the key lesson learned was that I don't need to come up with all the answers by myself. Sadly, I started the quilt before my epiphany and did learn a bit more the hard way (fabric grain is pretty important, we'll leave it at that) though mostly I found workarounds to any issues as I went.

I really didn't have a plan for this quilt going into it, just some fabrics I liked and that I thought looked good together.

There was lots of cutting followed by lots of piecing...

I decided on three long panels of different widths and did a lot more piecing...

But my panels weren't exactly straight so next came lots of stitch ripping, a hodge-podge of pieces and layout trials.

A happy Zen meditation later, all the pieces fell into place.

I took Craftivore's advice and the actual quilting was a walk(ing foot) in the park.

And when it came time to bind, I turned to the experts. I actually read the binding sections of my quilting books and looked to the interwebs for supplemental detail. Then and only then did I set out to make my straight-grain, double-fold corduroy binding. And it was good.

Love bound

They say third time's a charm. Looking forward to finding out!


  1. That quilt is effing beautiful!!! Love the grellow, love the modernist spots of color, love the frakkin corduroy binding. You rock.

  2. great quilt but awesome photos... fun to see the progression... Cheers!

  3. Lovely work! Sewing and sewing machines scare the crap out of me so I admire anyone that can use them so much!!

  4. Don't know why this post only just now appeared in my Reader but wanted to say that I love your quilt so much and you too for using a Simpsons quote. :-)

  5. The binding is amazing! And Craftivore is always a font of useful fiber crafting info...I knock on her door quite often.

  6. I am a lot late to the game on commenting but I think this turned out beautiful! Everything new has a learning curve. One thing I accepted recently is that nothing ever has to be perfect when it comes to quilting. It's part of what makes it unique and special. Keep on crafting.

  7. Thanks everyone! I can't wait until the holidays are over and I can start on the next one; the bug got me :)