Last week, I started a short series on how I made a happy baby quilt. I hope my musings help anyone wishing to venture in some quilting. You can read the first post here.
When I got home with my cute fabrics, I was both excited and scared; more excited than scared, to be fair, but still! I prepared my sewing room for the task in hand and refused to think of the mammoth (ok, not really, just to me) ahead. Why bother myself with all the unknowns, right? The best thing to do in these situations is to go for it. So I did.
Prepare the fabric
Rosie said I didn't need to wash any of the fabrics as I was buying it all together and they were all the same. I wish I had followed her advice… But I didn't. Too many years of washing every single little piece of fabric I use could only lead to a certain resistance to said advice. It was fine, of course, but the cut edges of my fabrics frayed a bit; it was mildly annoying and I could have spared myself from it. Oh well! I also washed the batting. You either wash it all or wash nothing, can't pick and choose with this one.
Then I ironed it all… Oh the pain!
Cutting the fabric
I needed 6" squares, with 1/2" seam allowance. Seven columns in eight rows of 6" squares. Thanks to my good quilting tools, this was easy to do. I just lay my fabric strips neatly onto my cutting mat, got my see-through ruler on top and went for it. It took a while and it required concentration, but it was easy as I was just cutting squares, and large squares.
For my next quilt, with triangles, I may need a tip or two on the best way to cut them quickly and neatly. I may just need to call Rosie!
Sewing the quilt top
I had a diagram of how to distribute my squares so they were evenly spread, thanks to Rosie. I then colour-coded and animal-coded my diagram so I could see it at a glance. I really enjoyed doing it and REALLY think this was an amazing time saver throughout the process.
I organised my squares in rows. I'm not sure this is the best way to start, in comparison to doing the columns first, but there you go, I started with rows. A tip I've picked up along the way is to sew the squares in batches. How? I prepared all my squares in pairs (right sides together) and had them ready to go on the machine. Starting with the first pair, I kept sewing past the edge of the fabric for a little bit (I left about 2") and got the second pair onto the machine; I kept going until all the pairs were seen together. Then I cut the thread linking each pair and voila, I had all my first pairs ready to go.
Once I had all my squares into pairs, I joined them to make the first four squares of each row and repeated the method above. Eventually, I had all my squares in their respective place in a row. I pressed my seams all to one side, alternating sides with each row (ie row one has seams to the left, row two to the right, and so on). Time to attach the rows to each other.
Joining the rows required a little bit of patience to make sure the squares that would form the columns aligned the best way possible. Once down together, it also required me to let go of perfection and embrace the bigger picture! In the grand scheme of things, who will notice if two squares don't match exactly? Nobody!
Next week, I'll go through getting the quilt layers ready and adding the bias tape. And voilà, a quilt will be done!
You can read Part 1 of my Happy quilt series here and Part 3 here.