Quilts · Uncategorized

A Baby Quilt from a Sworn Non-Quilter

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Friends, I am not a quilter. But every once in a while an impending baby shower without a registry gets me in the mood to sew a quilt. I had a million other projects I could have been working on this week, but honestly I don’t need any more clothes (except underwear, I really need underwear, so this may have been an underwear sewing procrastination quilt). This ended up going much better than the only other quilt I made, which was a crazy quilt that took ages to piece. While this is not even close to a perfect example of quilting, I wanted to document it here for my own reference, and to share links for those of you who might also be total beginners when it comes to quilting.

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I would say this ended up being about a 6 hour project- maybe 3 hours to piece the top, 2 hours to do the quilting, and 1 hour to do the binding. I pieced the top using this tutorial from Woodyberry Way and it was really straightforward and included all the details I needed. Just note that the fabric requirements give you enough fabric for TWO quilt tops. I could have saved myself a bit of money and some seam ripping if I had noted that initially, but on the plus side, I now have another top nearly ready for the next time someone has a baby.

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I couldn’t find a good tutorial for quilting, but I just read several and sort of figured it out. I decided diagonal lines would work well with the pattern. I didn’t want to follow the   vertical and horizontal lines since things weren’t matching up in every corner. I pinned the top, batting, and backing together with straight pins since that’s all I had, and I surely don’t recommend that. I stabbed myself together a lot. My understand is that quilters use safety pins here?

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When it came to the binding, I polled Instagram and a couple of people pointed me to this tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company. It is incredibly detailed and make the whole thing fairly painless. I wanted to machine sew the binding, so I followed her tip and attached the binding to the back first, then machine sewed it to the front. Once again, not nearly perfect, but I figure it’s not too noticeable to non-quilters. I had the same issue here as I did last time I made a quilt, which is that I have a hard time keeping everything lined up while sewing the whole length of the binding. I think a walking foot would have helped here, but in lieu of that, I recommend a dark binding as you really can’t see all the tucks I ended up with!

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Here is something I don’t understand about quilting: when do you wash the fabric? Do quilters pre-wash? That seems like a lot of small pieces of fabric to wash. These photos are taken before washing, but I ended up washing it on the delicate cycle, cold, with lots of color catcher sheets after the photos and nothing was ruined. I want this to be a quilt that can be used, though my experience is that people tend to treat handmade items as precious and don’t use them, not matter how much you assure them they should!

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My friend is a geologist and big traveller. She just moved back to the area so I don’t actually know much about her husband yet, but he is a geologist too. I decided the map theme for the back would be fun, since I couldn’t find any rock themed fabric. I thought the batik would be fun for my traveller friend. And the binding kind of has a marbled affect, like you know, actual marble (i.e. a rock). I bought all the fabric at my local quilt store, which I am so lucky to have (even though they don’t have any garment fabric).

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Anyways, for a non-quilter, this ended up being a fairly fun project. If you, like me, are worried that quilting will be monotonous and that you don’ have the skills to get everything lined up, I can wholeheartedly recommend these tutorials. As you can see, I was far from precise, but I think the overall effect of the quilt is still quite nice. I hope my friends love it (and use it)!

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13 thoughts on “A Baby Quilt from a Sworn Non-Quilter

  1. It looks great!

    In regards to pre-washing, there are certainly some die-hard “always pre-wash” quilters out there, but with the rise in popularity of precuts (charm squares, 2.5″ strips, etc), it’s pretty common to not pre-wash fabric when quilting, because you can’t effectively wash pre-cuts. I generally just try to make sure I don’t mix pre-washed and non-washed fabric in a single quilt, at least not if the pieces are large, because then you’ll get uneven shrinkage, but even with that, my standards are a bit more lax for something like a baby or throw quilt vs. something to put in a show.

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    1. Ah thank so much! That makes a lot of sense! This was 12 1/4 yard cuts so, it seemed like prewashing would be a real challenge. I’m glad it worked out, though I do think prewashing would have been my safest option for sure.

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  2. I do pre-wash (most) garment fabric, but not quilting stuff (unless you use reds … and then to test). One of the biggest reasons not to pre-wash is so you end up with the great puckering (from slight shrinkage) that makes quilts so cozy and textural. The better quilting cottons (i.e., not from Joann’s cheapy bolts) tend to shrink “just enough” and uniformly, which only adds to the charm of a handmade quilt. Quilters *do* use safety pins to hold the “sandwich” together … specifically, curved safety pins made just for this purpose. 🙂 (It’s easier to pin the sandwich w/o disturbing the layers if you’re using a curved safety pin.)

    I love the colors and gradation in your quilt top. I hope the recipients enjoy and USE it. Tell them it’s pre-washed so they don’t have to worry.

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  3. You washed it just the way I wash all my quilts, on gentle cycle with a few color catchers. Hand basting, safety pin basting, or spray basting keeps those layers together and usually keeps fingers from bleeding. Your quilting is just the way I quilted my first few quilts for the same reasons!

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  4. I love that backing fabric! I’m not a quilter either but have made two baby quilts. And each time I say I’ll never do it again … but yours is making me want to try agin. Ha ha!

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  5. You can always serge the edges prior to pre-washing.
    Last quilt I made ( twice – long story) was flannel and because flannel shrinks so much, I pre-washed it. And it shrank different ways! Some widthwise, some lengthwise. These were well-known quilting flannel brands too. I found it odd that flannels in same line shrank differently.
    I don’t quilt as there are too many rules with not enough return for my personality, — except for the babies of special people.

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  6. Ah, I’m not a quilter either. I am amazed by your speed, well done! I have one quilt my granny made for my dad. That’s good.
    My complaint with quilting cottons is that they are often printed offgrain. Waaaay offgrain. So you can cut for the design but don’t count on washing it and having it stay true. Because it won’t. This bites into my deep love for sewing with novelty cottons, because they have the same offgrain issues.
    Fun way to freak out a quilter: rip fabric in front of them to get grain.

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