My First Quilt!

So, since Miranda finally got the quilt in the mail, I can share it with the world!

I finally bit the bullet and made my first quilt (and my first large free-motion project).  Well, I made a baby quilt awhile ago, but it was WAY easier than this one because it was smaller.  So this is my first big quilt!

This is the Bento Box Quilt by Tracy Brookshier.  I’ve actually had this pattern for quite some time, but I never got around to making one (because I was a chicken).  In total, the quilt is 4×5 Bento Boxes in size, which is about 60×75″.

The fabric is from Timeless Treasure’s Apple line.  I used all of the fabric from that line, except for the owls, because I wasn’t sure where Miranda stood in terms of owls (scary or cute?).  I have this strange memory of being chased by this freaky owl while in the Alpha Beta parking lot.  My dad claims that this is a made up memory.  I only find really cute owls cute now…like the School House Rock Owl….

Anyway, the binding is from Donna Wilder’s Ramblin’ Rose collection.  When I set out to do the binding, I wanted to do it 100% by machine, because I’m lazy and it seemed easier.  Well, when I finally got to sewing the back side down, it took me all of 1″ before I decided to finish off the binding by hand.  I think I just suck at stitch-in-ditch.  It was pretty relaxing (watched a lot of TV in the process), but took FOREVER.  When I was deciding how to do the binding, I looked at a LOT of tutorials online.  My favorite one was this one by The Little Red Hen.  I love the detailed photos on how to sew the last part of the binding on a bias as well, so that you can’t really tell where the binding started and where it ended.

I decided to start having good habits, so I made a label. Good thing, too, cause when Miranda called me after she got the quilt, she said she wanted to write on the quilt who made it and all that good stuff. She was really excited when I pointed out the label.

Along with the label on the back of the quilt, I also used some of the remaining scraps.  I see this style of backing a lot in the flickr world, and I think its’ a great trick.

You can see the label in the upper left corner (Dickson held the quilt upside down when I took this picture).

I’ve been working on this quilt since early July.  Actually, I did some pre-cutting before we went camping, and when I got back, I started making the Bento Box pieces.  The whole process takes so long!  I’m amazed when I read about people finishing a quilt top in one day.  Or finishing the quilting in one day!  Or finishing PINNING.  Pinning had to be done in my living room.  I had to use my feet to hold the fabric taut so I could pin it without any kinks.  It was exhausting.  I really should have gotten a timer and timed just how long this took me.  I’m ballparking it around 20 hours or so.  Does that sound right?  I hope my future quilts don’t take this freaking long.

Free motion quilting wasn’t as hard as I thought.  At first I was going to cry because my back tension looked kind of weird, especially in the curved parts (which is pretty much everywhere when it comes to stippling).  I sped up my machine a bit and kept moving the quilt at my original pace and that did the trick.  Whew!  Good thing, too, since I’m really bad at stitch-in-ditch.  I probably need a stitch-in-ditch foot to really conquer that.  Speaking of feet, this was my first project using my brand new 1/4″ foot!  I LOVE the 1/4″ foot!  So awesome!

Most quilting tutorials I’ve read say that the backing and the batting should be a bit bigger than the front.  Not a problem, really, and I totally agree, except I accidentally somehow folded over the excess backing/binding onto the front at some point and quilted it down!  Ugh, that meant I had to pull it out and figure out how to mend the curves.  The rest of the time, I had to keep reminding myself to double check my quilt sandwich…

So according to Miranda, she’s going to replace her down comforter with this tonight.  Yeah, a down comforter in DC in the middle of summer?  Are you crazy? 🙂

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3 Responses to My First Quilt!

  1. Lynn says:

    Very cute! I think you did a great job. I use blue tape to tape down my fabrics when I’m pinning…

  2. Christine says:

    Gorgeous! I’m inspired now because it puts my baby gifts to shame! Though knitting is completely different from quilting. 🙂

  3. Nancy says:

    Your quilting looks great! I’m so jealous! And I love the backing and the tag…..very interesting!

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