A few weeks ago, as I was sewing pillows at my pillow-making station, Nadine asked, “Can we make a quilt?” I stopped sewing and said, “What? Um, sure… I think. I have a book you should look at.” So I gave her a great quilting book I have, and she looked through it, and pretty quickly she said, “I want to make this one.”
When Nadine gets an idea in her head, her determination kicks in big-time and that idea becomes her complete focus. I admire this quality of hers, but it also throws me, because she is very effective in getting me to stop what I’m doing to focus on what she wants to get done. I try not to always indulge her, but this time I thought Hmmmm, I’ve never made a quilt before, this could be interesting. And it was. And I can’t believe we did it. Here’s what we did…
First we measured her bed and decided what size the quilt should be. Then I let her go through my fabric stash and pick out the fabrics she liked best. No surprise, she picked out all of the ones that were either turquoise or gray and then some bright pink to spruce it up. Very nice.
Then we had to do some math – not her favorite thing – but this was nothing like a math homework worksheet – this was math with context and purpose. Hooray! So we got some scrap paper and sketched out the pattern she wanted, decided how big each row should be and approximately how big each rectangle might be, how much fabric would be needed for seam allowances, and finally how much fabric in total we would need. Then we went to my sewing table and started cutting. Finally, I gave her all of the pieces and she went to her room to lay them all out on her bed in the pattern she liked best. She loves that kind of stuff – pattern and color are definitely her thing. She says she wants to be an interior designer some day and I think she may be onto something.
Next it was back to the sewing table where we sewed the rectangular pieces together and then the rows together. Wow, that didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would, but having two people doing it definitely made it go quickly. Seeing all of the pieces sewn together made us feel like we were almost done. Now we just needed some batting and a piece of fabric for the back piece, then I’d quilt it up and bind it. Okay, we weren’t even close to being done…
We needed supplies and we needed expertise, so off we went to Pacific Fabrics where the nicest lady set us up with some batting, thread, needles, and the best invention ever – quilting glue! Next Nadine picked out the fabric she wanted for the back, and wow, does she know what she likes (and doesn’t like), and in no time she picked out a super cool grey and white zig-zag pattern. Impressive.
After washing and ironing the fabric (Nadine can’t stand these annoying and time-consuming steps) we laid it out on the floor, sprayed on the glue, which works like a post-it – you can pick it up, move, and re-adhere the fabric until you get it just right. We made a very nice little sandwich out of the bottom fabric, batting, and patchwork quilt piece. Thank goodness I didn’t have to baste that whole thing together!
The most time consuming part of this whole project was the quilting. I decided to quilt in the patchwork seams (“in the ditch”) because I couldn’t imagine being able to sew a series of straight lines or zig-zags. Fortunately the lady at Pacific Fabrics told me I should wear I sticky glove while quilting because my hands would be too slippery to pass the thick fabric through the machine.
After a few days of quilting, and then binding the edges, we were done! The whole process took about a month, but it actually went way quicker than I imagined, and I have to say that I never in my life imagined I’d actually make a quilt. Ha! And I really enjoyed it. Although I think it’ll be a while before I try that again. I think I’ll stick to pillows for now.
Here’s the final product: