quilting, sewing

RIP, old quilt.

So, I have this quilt. Actually, I kind of stole the quilt from my mom, who won it as a bingo prize as a teenager. I took it with me to college and since A and I moved in together it has topped our bed. Here’s a picture (from when I was 7 months pregnant with M!) where you can see it:

[112.49] blue.

The quilt’s taken some abuse (from the cats, mostly) over the years, and then with co-sleeping, I ended up sleeping on top of it a lot, and this started to happen:

This poor quilt...

Poor quilt. The final straw came last week, when Stimpy decided to use our bed as a litterbox while I was out with Madrigal. The quilt can’t survive another washing of the sort it would need without disintegrating. We might try, but I suspect doing so will result in a quilt that is literally Resting in Pieces.

So. We need a new quilt. Right now, we have a quiltish comforterish thing on our bed, which I think was a wedding present, and it’s perfectly nice, but not our style, and definitely more on the fluffy comforter end of the blanket spectrum – and I have a strong preference for dense, hefty quilts. So I want this to be a temporary thing. I want to make us a new quilt.

Thing is, I don’t really know how to quilt. I briefly participated in a quilting bee for newbies (which I actually helped create!), but then had to drop out due to a back injury, which healed just in time for me to be pregnant and not able to sew due to the fact that it made me insanely nauseated. So those days were short-lived. I don’t really know where to start.

Any thoughts? My preferences definitely run towards patchwork quilts, especially ones with a white/ivory background and rainbow/colorful patchwork, and a relatively high background:patchwork ratio. Right now I have a Kona Brights jellyroll and a Kona Brights charm pack, and I also have some white fabric, but I don’t know whether it would be enough, and I don’t know WHICH white fabric it is and don’t particularly want mismatched whites. So I may or may not have enough fabric to make a queen-sized top. But I don’t know what to aim for – a replication of the nine-patch quilt that’s now out of commission (the jellyroll strips would be easy to cut into small squares)? Something with triangles (which would be easy to make by cutting the charm squares in half diagonally)? Something a little more modern/wonky/asymmetrical? And then how do I start? HELP ME, dear Internet!

12 thoughts on “RIP, old quilt.”

  1. This is totally personal preference, but whenever I am trying to get back into sewing and doing so with a big project like this, I stick to squares. That way I only have to think and plan in four directions and can devote my energy to things like fighting with the walking foot on my machine.

    My Great-Aunt made a smaller version of a quilt like this: http://followpics.net/shaker-square-patchwork-quilt/ for Milo when he was born. I LOVE it. It is colorful without looking chaotic (which is my complaint about a lot of patchwork quilts). This style doesn’t require any extra quilting to keep that dense feeling, but it also is loose enough so as not to feel too stiff when you are under it.

    I’m excited to see what you end up with! I’ve made quilts for several other people, but never for our own bed. Someday. :)

    1. Oh my goodness, that quilt you linked to looks absolutely perfect to me! I think that’s what I want to make – squares definitely seem like a good idea given my absolute newbie status as a quilter. Now I’m wondering whether to use my jellyroll strips to do wee tiny squares, or to use the charm pack to do a scaled up version with 5″ squares. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

      I imagine it will be QUITE a long time before I actually finish this replacement quilt. Slow and steady is the only way I accomplish anything these days :)


  2. I love the cover quilt here, which inspired the Mason-Dixon Mitered Crosses Blanket — it would look great with brights. But I love Maggie’s great-aunt’s quilt, too! I’m going to recommend “quilt as you go” — quilting each block (or maybe a 4×4 array of blocks if they’re wee) right onto a square of batting, then attaching the backing fabric with some basic and minimal in-the-ditch or ties at the end. I’m doing it on the quilt I’m making right now and it’s so much easier to manage the small pieces on a regular sewing machine! Plus if you like to quilt designs that radiate out from the center of each block (as I seem to) you don’t end up wrinkling the quilt top the way I did with the one I made for Ada years ago. Yay.

  3. I like the quilt Maggie linked to, also! I wouldn’t recommend tiny squares. Let your first quilt be composed of bigger pieces, and then you’ll have a better idea of what you’re getting into for the next one (maybe with smaller pieces). Also, it’s hard to quilt a queen-sized quilt on a regular machine. It can be done, but if you’re frustrated easily, you might consider having it professionally quilted.

    I think lots of colors are good for your quilt, too! The changes will keep you interested even if you’re making the same block you’ve made many times before.

    1. Yeah, I think tiny squares are likely to frustrate me, especially since I’m aiming for queen-size. I’m really intrigued by the cover quilt from the log cabin book Sarah linked to, and also about quilt-as-you-go, because I can’t really imagine quilting a queen-sized quilt on my little machine. I need to read up on quilt-as-you-go, though, because I can’t quite imagine how it works without having really bulky seams.


  4. For a first quilt, I would go with easy patchwork – strips and squares, and something that doesn’t require a lot of additional cutting or precision 1/4″ seams.

    I am also a big fan of hand-quilting on my quilts. It is slow going, but it means you don’t have to deal with getting a walking foot (which one needs for machine quilting), and gives lots of tiny beautiful stitches that hold up just as well as machine-made.

  5. Exciting to think about a new quilt (although serious bummer that would failed you)! I would second the recommendations to do something with relatively big pieces and a pattern that doesn’t require precision seams. Something like this one could be fun: http://www.fromthebluechair.com/2013/08/unraveled-v2-finished.html.

    If you do the top and would be willing to send it to me. I would be happy to quilt it on my machine (nothing fancy, as you know) and send it back to you. Let me know!

  6. If you get to the point that you need speed, you could tie your quilt top. There are plenty of options for that. The classic is the double-knot, which leaves you with little yarn tufts all over, but if you google, you can find instructions to tie it without any tufts showing. Basically, you make a complete stitch, then run your needle through the batting to the next spot, and then do it again. Quick and easy.

  7. That quilt deserves the honor medal for hard love. It is the fate I hope all the quilts I’ve made will end up having – being, literally, loved to pieces.
    For a newbie (which I was myself not long ago) I’d recommend anything with squares or simple strips.
    There are a lot of good inspiration over at http://quiltville.com with a ton of free patterns.

    Best of luck :)

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