I’ve finished three quilts since last June. That probably doesn’t sound all that impressive, but let me put it in perspective. If you leave out those three, and small projects like wall hangings and table runners, I could count on my fingers the number of quilts I’ve ever finished. I’d probably even have a pinkie or two left over. I am NOT a fast quilter.
I have a quilt top in my sewing room that I started when we moved into our current house. That was in 2003. Yeah. I pulled it out and finished piecing it last year. The fabrics I liked sixteen years ago are not what I would choose now, and it’s kind of a weird size. I made my own pattern, which turned out okay, but I didn’t know anything about standard, usable quilt sizes or the idea of not chopping a large-scale print into oblivion.
I even pieced a back for it, which I think I might like more than the front. I’m planning to figure out a way to add more length to it and maybe find it a home that isn’t mine.
The positive fallout was that it inspired me to make some other large quilts. I started with one for my son, which I was forced to finish in a hurry in order to take it to him in Italy last year. I’m going to wait a little longer to show you that one, because I drew up the pattern myself and I want to share that with you.
The next quilt was for my daughter and son-in-law, which I started right before that same Italy trip in late April. And…I finished it last week. Watch this space for that quilt soon as well.
Today I want to show you the one I finished for Christmas. I made this one for a dear family friend, and she loved it. It was fun to plan, fun to make, and extra fun to give. I’d feel bad that I made her cry, but I’m pretty sure they were happy tears.
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This particular friend loves purple, black, and green. She also loves things that sparkle. I considered using a dragon theme, but I decided to go with space instead. I started building the quilt with the Starry Night pattern from sweetjane.
The pattern includes both a baby quilt and lap quilt size. It was easy to follow, and the fabric requirements were spot on. Ironically, I didn’t realize how similar this pattern was to my Vegas quilt until I was finished. Even if I had, I still would have bought this pattern. I needed some supervision on this one. Maybe guidance is a better word.
I bought most of the cotton fabrics from SewWhatQuiltShop on Etsy. I needed 14 different prints that fit into my color and theme, and surprisingly they had me covered on 12 of them. The other two I had in my stash.
I wanted a metallic gold for the stars and binding, and I purchased one in that batch, but when I received it there were care instructions on the selvage that let me know just how delicate it was. That wasn’t going to work at all for my dog and cat loving friend, so I ordered a different fabric from CatesSewModern, also on Etsy. It’s machine washable, and was the perfect color for this project.
I meant for this quilt to be cuddled, by human and animal, so I went with Minky for the back. I found a gorgeous, rich eggplant from CaliQuiltCo that couldn’t have been more perfect.
Getting a random pattern without the same two fabrics touching was the most challenging part of this whole thing. In the end, there was something very satisfying about achieving it. And if I’m wrong, and I didn’t, it’s in someone else’s house where I won’t know.
After I was done with the piecing, I decided to hire out the quilting. Honestly, I was so happy with it at that point I just didn’t want to ruin it. My friend Kristi from My Quilting Loft (where I teach sewing workshops) offers longarming services, so she helped me choose a perfect swirl and star design and some purple thread. When she was finished it looked great on the front, but the Minky back was beautiful. The photo doesn’t do it justice.
I also made a matching pillowcase with the leftover fabrics. It was great for putting the quilt inside, and she loved it as well.
Looking back, I now realize this is the first quilt I’ve made start to finish using a pattern I’ve purchased. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Not that I won’t still make some that start with just me and a piece of graph paper, but it was nice to have the layout, fabric requirements, and assembly instructions laid out for me. It’s kind of like the difference between cooking from a recipe or making it up as you go. There’s room for both in my kitchen - and my sewing room!