Saturday, February 20, 2010

Q is for Quilt

This is my great-granny (holding Sierra almost 5 years ago). She lived to be 100 years old, which means she was an adult with children during the Depression. That fact alone meant we heard plenty of interesting stories from Granny. Once a person lives through a time when things we consider as basic as food and shelter are not guaranteed, it seems they always appreciate things just a little bit more. They really take that "waste not, want not" phrase to heart. As such, Granny's quilts served a purpose and that purpose was not to hang in a gallery somewhere. I like looking at pretty quilts, I'm just not interested in spending the time and resources to make one. I'll keep my eye out for pretty fabric scraps on sale and take my friends up on offers to go through their scrap bins, but I just can't bring myself to pay $16/yd (or more!) for feels like I'm betraying my granny. Several years ago, I was very generously gifted a great sewing machine by my mother-in-law and ever since then, I have been saving my fabric scraps. Anything bigger than a 2"x2" square has gone in a bin for a future quilt. Since I am starting to think about packing up, plus we are moving to a much colder climate, I decided it was time to get those out and get to quilting. Turns out I have enough scraps for two (maybe even three, but I'm not that ambitious) quilts. I found two patterns I'm following, but they are the epitomy of a scrap quilt--all sorts of different fabrics. Sierra is helping me by picking out the two pieces of fabric she wants next to each other and just generally looking over my shoulder and asking "why do you do that?" ten million times.

So the first order of business was cut out 2,392 pieces of fabric. I learned the hard way that quilting is much easier if I cut all the fabric first and sort it into baggies, so I can just grab what I need when I'm sewing instead of stopping to iron and cut first, or searching for a square I need. Then last night, we sewed the first 226 seams. Speed piecing is a wonderful thing...I was sewing 452 rectangles together in groups of two, so you sew one, then feed the next in right after it without cutting the thread. Saves time and saves thread. Sierra also though it was very cool to stretch out the string of squares before we cut them apart. It went all the way from one end of the house to the other!

Here's a picture of about 1/4 of my scraps from the scraps (everything I couldn't get a 1.5"x2.5" rectangle out of).


One Acre Homestead said...

I'm begging you to post more pictures of your quilt making process. I have wanted to make a quilt out of some of the girls baby clothes that I've saved, but don't seem to know where to begin. Thanks for sharing your sewing skillz! This is an area where I need some mentoring, for sure!

I have a problem with tension on my machine and I'm not quite sure how to fix it...I generally just get frustrated and quit. (Not a good role model, I know...)

The Hills said...

I am planning a few posts with pictures detailing how to do the speed piecing, as well as a list of homeschool topics that can be covered with activities like sewing.

Tension is a bear to work out. My machine is a Husqvarna (like I said, VERY generous gift) that doesn't take much maintenance, but I have had to dig out owner's manuals and work with the tension some and I always get frustrated. My only tip there is that you can tell by the stitches whether it's the top thread or the bobbin that needs to be adjusted. I'll see if I can find any online resources to illustrate that.

jenna said...

Kimberly! I am quite impressed. Please keep us updated on your progress. I would love to see all the fabrics you are putting together. They will make wonderful warm blankets for that foreign country up north. ;)

Rachel said...

Wow! I can't wait to see more pictures.

Snyder Central said...

Umm.. i've got a box of flannel already cut and ready to sew into a quilt top.. but i've yet to do it. it's been looking at me for far too long. good for you to use those scraps all up.

Anonymous said...

Makes me cry just to see that your doing this with the girls. As you know primarly I was almost raised under a quilt frame most of my younger days. What a great time it was. I so enjoy the look and feel of a quilt it's just a warm wonderful feeling when you know it's made by someone you love. This is surly something the girls will never forget. I need to send you some fairy material squares that I have so you can incorporate them into something. Maybe after your done with one you can embelish them here and there. They have really cool fabric pens for the girls to color with. I am doing a wall hanging now for the quilt shop in town and I must say coloring is not my best thing to do but hey it looks really nice.

As for making a quilt from the baby clothes. This is by far a wonderful thing to do. I have a family fabric quilt and it has my stuff in it and my moms maternity tops and my dads boxer shorts. lol. We have fun picking out the patches and saying OMG remember that. Keep pictures of them wearing those clothes and put it in their forever box and one day they will just melt over all the memories they will have.

Ok gotta go,


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