Did you read the review of the FREE Piece, Patch, Quilt class that I took. It really did give me all the skills I needed to make my first quilt a success – except I hadn’t really thought it through properly when I ‘designed’ my quilt. Before we go any further, don’t worry, this is not turning into a quilting site, and the way my first ever quilt is going, I’m not sure there will ever be a second! But sharing things that don’t quite work out is often more fun than those that do…
What I did and what I should have done
My eye was caught while online shopping by this cute little Jelly Roll in bright colors. I thought it would be perfect for making a little quilt for a new baby girl who is on the way, plus a cot quilt should be a small and easy project to start with. So I ordered the fabric. You can see it just peeping in the top right corner here.
Except I didn’t really notice that although it was described as a Jelly Roll, it was only half the size of a regular one, and only had 20 strips instead of the 40 I was expecting. I had been thinking I would use half the strips for the front and half for the back. Darn.
I reserved two grey strips that seemed to contrast most strongly with the rest and sewed up the other 18 together. So far so good. Then I chopped the quilt into 3 across ways, and sewed those grey strips in. I turned the central piece around the other way and sewed that in and voila – my first ever quilt top was finished. It looked lovely, and I’d even managed to sew and press it pretty accurately. Happy.
Er, but now I only had half the strips I was expecting, I didn’t have anything for the back. So I measured it and that’s when I realised that I should have given the whole thing a bit more thought before starting. The top measures 39 by 47 inches. Now what was I going to do? I should have thought in advance and made sure it was going to fit on a yard of fabric, at about 36 x 44 inches. Duh!
I really didn’t want to cut it down, and even if I did, I’d have to cut it down a lot to allow for shifting so that the backing would be quite a bit larger.
My local fabric store only has a choice of about 20 cotton prints and at least half of those feature vegetables or turtles. And the rest are mostly strange. None of them were going to match to this quilt. I DO have a small fabric stash, but it is small and most of the pieces have already been cut into for one project or another, and none of them were large enough for a quilt back, as I only ever tend to buy 1 yard anyway. So I rummaged around, found a whole 1 yard of some blue-ish fabric with multi-colored owls and a third of a yard in this bright pink, and it had to do. I split the owls, sewed the pink in the middle as a ‘design feature’ and just about had enough to make a back for my ill-designed quilt.
I sandwiched the top and bottom with some batting and spray basted them all together on the patio. In hindsight, although it was all smooth and flat, I think it should have been rather more taut, but I wasn’t sure how to do that. It was hard enough trying to work around the constant stream of cats who found it the most comfortable place to sit. I think you can probably quilt OR have cats – you can’t do both.
So now I have my first quilt all stuck together and ready to quilt. Er, well how do I do that then? So far, my quilting experience has been solely very small straight line quilting projects such as my long arm oven mitts. This was a whole different ball game and I wanted it to be pretty, so I’ve signed up for another class. This time, I’ve signed up for Start Free Motion Quilting. I think I’m running before I can walk here, but hey, that’s my way. How bad can it be?
I can’t imagine my first ever quilt is going to be a free motion masterpiece, but I’ll settle at this stage for one that doesn’t take me a week to stitch and doesn’t all come unraveled when it’s washed.
Keep watching as the project/disaster unfolds.
You made this possible. Thanks for this quilt project go to – LUCY, who smuggled the jelly roll in her case along with lots of other fabric goodies for me, and to LEE who brought in some of that quilt basting spray. I couldn’t have done this without you ladies, thank you.
Authored by: Deby at So Sew Easy