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quilts, the real story

August 23, 2011

It’s been about a year since I started quilting, but I’ve barely blogged about any of it. This is because I was making three quilts at once and two of them were secret quilts for people who read my blog regularly.

Making three quilts as a initiation to quilting may sound crazy to some, but it sounds just right to me. While a lot of people are interested in making things perfect, I am more interested in making things and while they might not turn out picture perfect in the end, I end up learning more from any mistakes I make than I would learn from reading about the process in a book.

Here’s a timeline for the two baby quilts. If you’d like to see photos of the quilts, they can be found here, here and here. (It turns out that I barely took any photos of this huge project, despite the fact that it spent a year in my house.)

mid September – Three of my friends and I find out that two of our other friends are with child, and this lady convinces us to make two baby quilts despite the fact that none of us have ever quilted before in our lives.

late September – We all take a trip to the fabric store to choose fat quarters. We spend much more time there than we first planned, choosing, debating and rechoosing fabrics. In the end we end up with some that were thrown out in the first round, much to my amusement.

early November – We all get together for all-day square construction followed by pizza and beer. As soon as we decide how big the squares should be Sarah decides to make a square two inches larger than that. One of us gets frustrated with a rotary cutter. Another cuts her first batch of triangles the wrong size. I burn myself on an iron. We split up all the fabric and take it home. No squares have been finished.

December – We chat off and on about the quilt timeline. To date, I have completed the most squares. “I’m almost done.” I say. “You guys had better get to work on your squares.”
We decide to take advantage of free time over the holidays and set a deadline for ourselves: all squares will be finished by mid January.

mid January – I return from my vacation to find that everyone has finished their squares except for me. Oops.

early February – Mr. NotCharles has a birthday party. I abscond with the ladies to the crafting room to finish squares. We talk about piecing the quilt top soon, because the babies are nearly here. We reassure ourselves that the quilts don’t need to be ready before the babies are. I finally finish all my squares.

mid March – Mr. NotCharles goes away and Sarah and I spend an entire weekend at my place (with each of the other girls working one of the day shifts) finishing the squares by adding borders to ALL of them to match Sarah’s squares, which are all two inches larger. Saturday involves marshmallow peeps (not for me) and both Ghostbusters movies and Sunday involves a trip to Fabricville to buy binding, batting and backing. All of us have colds or something and we all feel different shades of terrible, but we must quilt on! I keep cutting the fabric wrong. We drink cider and eat tortilla chips and finally finish all the squares. Every conversation that begins with “I think I messed up…” ends with “…the babies won’t care.”

mid April – Sarah and I piece the quilt tops and pin the sandwiches together (with help).

Meanwhile, the babies are born, and sometime in early June we remember we were making quilts for them. We decide to get back on that, and I quilt both of them and hand them over to Sarah for the binding, which she hand sews over the course of a day or two. Now we have quilts.

But because we’re busy ladies, it took us until late August to get the quilts to the babies. The grand unveiling was this past Sunday though and it went well. The secret was out, everyone was surprised and our year’s worth of hard work was worth it.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2011 2:08 pm

    The quilt is beautiful and has already been given the baby seal of approval with slobber and spit up and much happy rolling and wiggling. I’m not sure what these “mistakes” were, but they certainly didn’t affect the end product! We are feeling very special and loved. Thank you again!

    • lainevierge permalink*
      August 25, 2011 11:49 am

      You’re welcome. Glad the quilt has a good home.

  2. August 23, 2011 7:19 pm

    I’d like to chime in and say that Nini THOUGHT she was finished her blocks, but REALLY had two (or was it four?) more to make. Needless to say, I’m still the crazy one, being adamant about standard block sizes and then am the first one to break away from the standard (with my very first blocks). It was fun times though. And indeed, the babies won’t care.

    • lainevierge permalink*
      August 25, 2011 11:50 am

      Yes, I forgot about that. We also had to force her to make those blocks before the weekend was over…

  3. August 25, 2011 8:30 am

    Kyr slept under his on Sunday night, and has spent much cozy time in the laundry basket! I love quilting, but always end up making simple designs, because I feel like I don’t have the time or skill to make something more complicated. But you guys have made a very inspiring and beautiful project!

    • lainevierge permalink*
      August 25, 2011 11:56 am

      Glad Kyr has been using the quilt.

    • August 27, 2011 10:49 am

      Don’t be silly. Most “complicated” quilt blocks are super simple to make. And you could break it up by making a few blocks a week or something. It might take longer to tackle, but you could pepper some more elaborate blocks in with some simpler ones and end up with a spectacular quilt. Anyone who can invent all kinds of elaborate knitted toys can surely piece together some half square triangles. 😉

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