A simple quilt with less than simple process.

You're probably wondering why it took me 4 days (actually, we're at a week now..) to put together a small baby quilt done in simple squares, so I thought this is a good opportunity to talk about my process..
this is a crappy pic, should I install better lighting in my sewing room?
Like I mentioned in my last post, this was a quilt idea that I had in my head for a long time.  So long, that I had been pulling fabrics and cutting squares sporatically over the last year.  I even sat down and cut borders and pieced some strips of random squares in a few mindless sewing sessions.  But now, when I decided to actually throw it up on the wall and make the quilt, I wasn't starting from scratch, but instead, with a pile of half-assembled pieces and a lot of holes in my quilt design. 
I started by sorting through my pre-assembled strips (and yes, at the time of assembly, i was heavily influenced by that Marston/Moran book..) to find the ones that read clearly "boy" because this quilt is for a friend's baby, and I haven't met her husband or talked to her at length in 10 years, and I didn't know how open they would be to having pink or hearts in their baby quilt (FYI, I'm all for gender mixing in George's toys, in case you were planning to make him anything ;)  ).  I had some strips of 6 squares, and a bunch of twosies. 

I started filling in the gaps with any bright fabrics lying within arm's reach of the cutting table.  At first it was just colored fabrics, then I sifted through the bin of 3.5" squares, and then I remembered the entire pile of novelty fabrics in a bin in the closet.. (seeing the dino print left over from george's apron reminded me).  I didn't really dig for fabrics, but I knew I had a lot of cute prints that would be fun for this baby and his parents to find as he grows.  I fussy cut into a scrap of  sock monkeys from V's retreat, added in a dino from the apron scraps, and just pulled fabrics from around the room, being drawn to something if it was the right size or had a fun print.  I gave George a couple of squares at a time and told him to put them up on the wall.  Sometimes I'd leave them where he put them, sometimes I'd come up with a creative "reason" that we should move them around.
Most of the time he was content to hide in my new Ikea scrap bin..
When it came time to piece my rows, I had to deal with the two 6.5" maverick stars I added, plus the pre-assembled twosies strips that were going horizontally and vertically.  I tried to press my seams so they'd butt up nicely when the rows went together, but it wasn't always possible.  Sometimes I'd sew a 4 patch and attach it to a twosie, then piece the remaining half-rows and stitch them together before adding them to the first bit.  (sorry, no photos of the piecing, George went to bed late that night and I was piecing after midnight..).  It ended up being a complicated process, a game sort of, but I didn't mind.  I was happy to spend time with the quilt as I assembled it.  Sure, it would have been easier if I just had a mess of squares to chain piece, but that's not how I work.

I pieced all the squares and then started in on the letters..
See, I'm a frugal (stingy?) quilter.  I wanted to know how big my center would be so I could trim the borders and use the border edges to assemble the letters.  I am not really one to plan things out with measurements and numbers, I would rather just feel it out.  I have a pretty good eye when it comes to estimating how much fabric I'll need, and even though I love scraps, I don't like to waste fabric. 
The letters came together pretty easily, but it has been a while since I pieced letters and I could tell I was out of practice. (my "L" has way too many seams..).  When the name was all done, I put two borders on and then pinned it back to the design wall.  I thought I'd go to sleep, but instead I pulled fabrics for the backing, laying out a strip of squares to piece in with a label.  Then I went to bed..
(backing photos in the reveal post..)
I think it's a really good idea to piece the backing before the top is complete because so often my quilts stall at the top stage because I just can't push myself to piece a back.  Does that happen to you?  I guess it's like forcing myself to clean the bathroom before I can take a shower.. ah, the little games we play to get things done..
I basted and quilted it today and all that's left is to stitch down the binding.  The family's coming for a visit on Thursday, I think it'll be done by then.


  1. Very nice. Love the name on the quilt.

  2. Love it!! Great idea to incorporate the name in the quilt, it really makes the top 'pop'.

  3. Wonderful quilt! Thanks for talking the process.

  4. Love it. :) So bright and such fun fabric.

  5. I love the stars in it! I'm impressed that you can get George to help you - every time I let Dominic into my sewing room he ends up emptying scraps all over the floor and unfolding all my fabric.

  6. @Amber: Same here. Can't let my little one into the sewing room. It's chaotic in there but when she's been there I can't find anything anymore...

    I just love this quilt!! So bright and colorful - and the name in it - ADORABLE!!!!

  7. Thanks everybody. George has good days and bad days in the sewing room. I've sent him out more than once..
    I think he just wants to do things with me, so he was very happy to help put our fabric puzzle together. This summer I've started keeping the door open (before now, i always closed it so he couldn't get in without me) so the sewing room feels more like a part of our home.. the cutting tools are all up on a high shelf and anything else dangerous is behind the closet doors, but I want G to feel comfortable in there, so I can get more sewing done.

  8. I love the quilt for Logan. Your letters are great (I'm working on Lynne's Letter Quilt Along and you've given me some good ideas!). The quilt colors are wonderful - love the green fabric.

  9. つくるの はやいなー

  10. Lovely! Also, your Dino Apron is great. I still cherish an apron my grandma made me when I was about George's age. :)

  11. Jessica, I LOVE the way that you incorporated the name with the border. It looks awesome!

    Sometimes I piece a back almost immediately, because I don't want to mess with ironing my freshly made quilt top again. Is that silly or what? I guess I could stand to do that a bit more often. I have a lot of quilt tops laying around. :)

  12. This sounds like something I'd do. In fact, I'm doing the EPP travel quilt-a-long and instead of cutting new fabric in strips and then diamonds, I used all of the scraps from previous quilts. I spent a lot of time cutting! But I love the results. The quilt will have so many memories!


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