I’ve heard that quilters are people who cut large pieces of fabric into small pieces and then sew the little pieces together to make a large piece.
My foray in the world of quilting began in 2008 with the making of several lap quilts for a children’s hospice organization. The design was simple 6” squares. I decided this would be a great way for me to use up all the fabric scraps I had taking up space in my closet. These quilts were a utilitarian sewing project – machine pieced and quilted.
My second quilt (2011) was a gift for my niece for her 18th birthday and high school graduation. Her mom mentioned that she had weeded though her daughter’s T-shirt collection and couldn’t bring herself to throw away some of the shirts. She asked if I could make a quilt from them. Cutting the T-shirts and putting them together was like working a giant Rubik’s cube. I machine stitched the quilt top but hand quilted the layers together. This necessitated the purchase of a quilting frame, of course! The gift was well received. However, I saw the look on her sister’s face and knew I would be making another T-shirt quilt in the near future.
By now I was hooked. What I thought was a good way to clear out fabric scraps just had a way of introducing more pieces to my growing collection. Then I went to customer appreciation night at the local quilt store and won a door prize with – you guessed it – more fabric! I decided to make a quilt for me; big enough to snuggle under while watching TV. I machine pieced the top and hand quilted the layers together.
The next year, 2012, it was time to start on T-shirt quilt number two for my other niece. I changed up the design and cut the shirts into 12” squares and put sashes of fabric between the squares. I used the pocket designs in the intersections of the sashes. Again, I machine pieced the top and hand quilted the layers together. This gift, for college graduation, was also a hit.
Now I decided to give myself a real challenge…a quilt entirely made my hand. No machine sewing allowed. So in June, I chose 15 different quilt block patterns with sashing between the blocks. First I spent 4 days cutting the pieces for each block. Then I spent 15 evenings sewing the pieces together to assemble each block. It took 9 evening’s work to sew the blocks and sashing together to assemble the quilt top. My project lingered for a while until I purchased the backing and binding fabric. Then I let it linger some more until I devised a quilting pattern for the top. After attaching the layers to the quilt frame I spent 6 days quilting them together. Two more days work to sew on the binding and I was done.
It took a total of 35 work days between June and October to complete the quilt.
After this last frenzied bout of quilting, my thumb was hurting so much that I had to buy a thumb stabilizer to let it rest from the repetitive motion of quilting. This hasn’t stopped me from other creative pursuits. In fact my mind is already planning a quilt for an auction in June and I have scraps for two more projects waiting in the wings!