Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to make a quilt...

Did I tell you that I stopped at Nancy Zieman's store while I was in Wisconsin? I figured I had to, I mean, I was right there and it would have been a cardinal sin not to! Nancy was there (in the form of a lifesized cardboard form) and so were all of her glorious notions and fabrics etc.  But, because we were traveling, I didn't get buy a whole bunch.  I didn't want to walk away empty-handed so I bought two Moda charm packs ("A Walk In The Woods" by Aneela Hoey) and a yard of coordinating light blue cotton polka dot.  I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but I did know that I had to have them!  I didn't even think to put them together until today, actually.

Once I realized that the charm packs and the yard of polka dots were a good combination and that they could be the perfect quilt for The Roo, I went over to my "Quilts" board on Pinterest for inspiration.  I knew which one I wanted but I didn't know how I was going to get it from this:

To this beautiful creation by Red Pepper Quilts because I have only made two quilts in the 29 years that I've been sewing.  It's kind of a trip to have to convert my head from thinking about armhole curves and hem allowances to geometric shapes and 1/4" seams!

My first quilt was a gift for my then-boyfriend/now husband back when we barely had two dimes to rub together.  I worked at a fabric store, and there was inspiration all around me.  When it came time for his birthday, I decided that a quilt was a logical, simple, easy choice for a gift.  Having never, ever made a quilt before, I thought "How hard can it be?"  So, I went around the shop and cut swatches of the fabrics I wanted to use.  Then, I cut them all into 1/2" squares.  Next, I drew my own 1/2" grid graph paper and arranged all the little fabric squares into a pattern that I liked, then glued them down.  Once I figured out how many squares of each fabric I needed, I was able to figure out how much fabric to buy.  This next part is the kicker...I used a ruler and a ball point pen to draw squares onto the backs of each fabric and then cut them out with scissors.  Seriously, I didn't know any better.  Rotary cutter and a self-healing mat?  Who needs 'em?  I was able to use my homemade mini quilt map for directions and assembly of the real deal.  After I had a row completed, I simply folded the map to the back until finally I had a completed quilt.  I have to say that it was a darn good job given all the reasons that it could have been a big failure.  But you know, I'm proud of it and for the most part my seams all match up.  He still has the quilt and he even uses it!  That's the part that makes me especially proud.  I love that man!  Here is his quilt:

PS These hideously ugly and totally awesome wingback chairs are a post for another day, stay tuned!

My mind cannot compute the whole geometric conversion thing.  I'm really bad at math, I need help!  Thankfully, I have a few friends who know a thing or two about quilting and I was able to put out a distress call.  Katy of I'm A Ginger Monkey so very thoughtfully came to the rescue with not only advice but also some extra fabric that she suggested I needed!  Isn't she the grooviest?  (She also admitted to "pulling me over to the dark side of quilting" which is hilarious.  I'm coming willingly!  No kicking and screaming here, haha.)  I'd also like to say a great big thank you to my other instagram friends for being so very kind and offering up lots of good advice and suggestions: @goingsewcrazy, @ramsamania, @kristastitched, @shinergirltx, @ladyashley and @cupofjoy.  As this quilt comes together, I will post pictures.  Who knows, I might even try my flickr account out again!

Happy sewing!


  1. Im so happy you are going to be quilting....and you definately need to give flickr another chance.
    Your quilt turned out sweet and i cant believe you made it that way!

  2. I am so very proud of you!! Welcome to the darkside. ;-) xo

  3. well right on! i can't wait to see how your quilt comes together, email me if you need more help!

  4. Love that glue to paper method! I am also happy to help!

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