I mentioned this in a recent post, but over my Spring Break, I made it a goal to finish up three quilts that were laying around my sewing room partially completed, and I actually succeeded in getting all three done! Here’s the first.
All I needed to do over Spring Break on this quilt was hand-sew the binding, but it’s a twin-size quilt, so it took me ~8 hours. And that is precisely why I procrastinated on finishing the binding for about two months. But that is basically how this quilt has come together—I would work on it for a while, approach a step that stumped me or seemed to onerous at the time, and then set it aside for a good chunk of time until I was ready to pick it back up. And with a quilt, why not do precisely that? Unlike a garment, there’s no chance my measurements are going to change before I come back to it. No chance that it will go out of style or be the wrong season by the time that I finish it.
I actually worked on this piece for two years. I saw a post from Anna Graham of Noodle-Head showing this exact quilt, which is worked up in prints from her Driftless collection with Robert Kaufman. I had been talking about making us a “picnic quilt” to take camping with us or to lay down in the grass, but I couldn’t pick a pattern or fabric. And then when I saw this, I knew it was exactly what I wanted and when I saw a kit for the quilt posted on Instagram, I bought it immediately. I think that was January or February 2020? In March, when we were all sent home, this quilt was the very first project I started working on.
To me, this quilt represents a ton of learning. It was basically my crash course in quilting. Prior to starting this, I had made one baby-size quilt for Jude that involved just sewing together pre-cut strips from a jelly roll. So that project familiarized me with the basics of the quilting process but didn’t require that I really learn any more precise or specific quilting skills that would help me with more complex projects. (It also didn’t make me fall in love with quilting. I was happy with the quilt when it was finished but had no real desire to launch into another quilting project until I got the kit for this one.)
So when I started this quilt, I had never used a rotary cutter, cut fabric for a quilt, followed a quilt pattern, pieced together quilt blocks, trimmed quilt blocks to size, arranged blocks for the top, or had to worry about a scant ¼” seam. I could have slowly built up some of these skills by working through more simple patterns or by seeking out more formal guidance through a class or videos or a book. But instead I just launched into this pattern (which is clearly marked as an intermediate level pattern) and learned by making mistakes and encountering problems and then having to figure out how to solve them. It’s not everyone’s preferred method, but it is incredibly effective.
This is one of those pieces where, up close, I can see all the mistakes and the imperfections. But I also don’t really care about them. For one thing, they aren’t actually visible from a distance. For another thing, none of those imperfections will have any impact on how much we use and appreciate this quilt. But more importantly, through all of those mistakes, I learned a ton. I fell in love with the process. I feel like this is the quilt that made me a quilter.
- Pattern: Geese in Flight by Jeni Baker
- Fabric: various prints from the Driftless collection (which was printed on Essex linen–I don’t think its available anymore) plus Kona Cotton in Gotham for the top and binding, Interrupted Signal print from the Art Gallery Star Gazer collection for the backing
- Batting: bamboo/cotton blend
- Quilting: Horizontal straight-line quilting (done with a walking foot) done at ¾” intervals
- Size: Twin size (~70″ x 85″)