It seems that every year I have that one quilt which just gives me absolute fits. This quilt took on a life of its own, throwing curve balls at me nearly every step of the way. Why, I don’t know. It was a simple pattern! It dared me to finish it. Hopefully it’s my “rebellious” quilt for the year, and it’ll be smooth sailing until next year, lol. My dear niece, Stephanie, asked me to make a quilt for her daughter, Avery, for her new room. I’m always humbled when someone in my family thinks highly of my quilting skills and trusts me to make one for them. Of course I will!
Avery is 8 years old, and wanted a chevron quilt. A queen-sized quilt. The biggest quilt I’ve made to this point (I like lap-size quilts!). She also wanted to pick out her own fabrics. Mom and Avery went shopping at Hobby Lobby, and this is what I received:
Kids pick out the darndest things, don’t they?? However, I learned long ago that kids have no color filter, no preconcieved notions, and don’t have a clue as to what “color theory” is. What they choose usually comes together beautifully! The only fabric that concerned me was the multi-stripe, as I was afraid that it was so bold and might overpower the other fabrics in a large bed quilt – and the other fabrics pretty much read as solids. I talked to Stephanie, and we agreed the multi-stripe would look best as a bias binding on the quilt. A little of this fabric will go a long way in the look of the quilt.
I worked up the quilt in EQ, sent several pics to them and together they picked out a layout. I blanch at the thought of triangles (man, how I despise all those bias edges!) and opted to use a pattern that used rectangles on-point instead. Let’s just leave it at it’s always a good thing to measure twice, cut once. With every cut, lol.
After sewing several blocks together backwards (how does that happen with rectangles??), I finished the quilt top. It looks great! Avery did a fantastic job picking out fabric. I laid the entire thing out on the backing to prepare for loading on the frame:
Oh, for cryin’ out loud. Now, I had made the top larger than necessary on the sides so I had plenty of trimming room, but only an inch or two on the top and bottom. Peggi and I commiserated on what to do about this problem. Do I chance it? Once that backing was on the frame it would stretch a bit, but what if it didn’t work? She asked several other LA quilters she knew for ideas (which were all great, mind you!). One of her friends said it would be no problem – she’d worked with less before! Are you kidding me???? I’d be hyperventilating the entire time I was quilting if I had even less to work with! But when all was said and done I decided to just order another longer backing. I’d already had enough angst and didn’t treasure the thought of trying to add backing when it came up short on the frame. Plus, I found a small flaw in the fabric. Heck. I’ll just keep that piece for one of my quilts. Peggi, I don’t know what I’d do without you to talk things through. It was definitely a Cap’n Morgan and 7-Up evening….
****And may I just interject here that quilt shops in Columbus leave much to be desired. The shops are small, they all have the same fabrics, and barely carry any widebacks (usually no more than 5 or 6 per store, and usually traditional paisley stuff), I had to order backing online, which I hated because I want to see and feel the fabric. Sigh. I SO miss Shipshewana!
So, after another 5 day wait for the backing, I finally loaded it on the frame:
Yikes! I knew it was gonna be a big quilt! My frame is only 9′, and it barely fit. Changing bobbins was a gymastic exercise. I wasn’t able to use my ruler base because of the width of the quilt. Which made quilting those straight lines tricky. I tried to keep the quilting simple because I was space-restricted. I couldn’t use my end clamps, and at one point ended up with this mess:
Luckily, it was in part of the edge that would be trimmed off. I was extremely careful quilting the rest of the quilt! The quilting went quite well – the longarm gods were with me. I used Quilter’s Dream Cotton Select batting and Glide thread, and that thread is an absolute dream to work with. Trimmed it up, rounded the corners and sat in my favorite chair with needle, thread and several movies to keep me company.
Finished up that bad boy in two days. I wanted it done – I was terrified something else was going to happen to it! I can finally say it’s finished, and it looks absolutely wonderful! That striped binding adds a pop of color to it, but isn’t overwhelming.
Lessons learned: 1) Measure, measure, measure before cutting! 2) Do NOT do another queen-sized quilt on this frame until new poles are added to extend it to 10 feet. Six extra inches on each side would’ve been dreamy. 3) Quilter’s Dream batting wants to “creep” the the center as I’m quilting – be sure to check it with each advance! 4) Kids really do surprise you with their colors. 5) Be persistent (and add alcohol occasionally) – it will all come together in the end!
All in all, while I had a few frustrating moments, it turned out just wonderful. I’m always most proud of the quilts that challenge and push my limits – even when those challenges and limits are my own damn fault. I can’t wait to see it on Avery’s bed. Thanks, Steph, for believing in my talent!