THE QUILT, is finished. My quilt, which I somehow dreaded making since I thought it would be an eternity project, is finished. And dare I say, I love it so very much.
I love the rumpled, wrinkled, lived in look of it, which is a good thing because even if I tried to keep it neat and pressed, it would be all folded and creased the moment I used it. Linen fabric has a tendency to not stay so very pressed and wrinkle-free!
But that's what I love about it. I wanted to make a rustic style quilt, and that's exactly what it turned out to be. I've seen people name their quilts, and I think of this as my rustic French quilt. Why? Well because of the linen, the toile, the floral, the stripes. It just feels to me like the epitome of French countryside.
I love the combination of the patterns. I love the color scheme; all my favorite shades are represented: linen, navy, merlot and rose. And stripes. Because that's almost a color in my mind; if anything I love stripes.
For the backing I went with a cream colored basic muslim fabric. I think it goes well with the quilted top, and I think the linen binding goes especially well with it too.
And this part I like too. Square, neat, orderly. Well almost anyway, not all squares are perfect, but then this is not a perfect quilt.
When I sewed the squares together I managed for the most time to line them up pretty good. At some point a few squares didn't meet up perfectly, but most of them line up pretty darn close, so I'm satisfied nonetheless.
Even though I felt the time went by so quickly making it, there certainly were quite a few steps involved. First of all I had to pick fabrics (and also figure out if quilters serge their edges, which I now realize they don't!), and I basically started out from my stash pile. In fact the only fabric I bought to add to the collection was the red floral fabric, all the other fabrics I already had, and some I had to buy some extra of to ensure I had enough.
I didn't measure exactly how much fabric I used, I basically just started cutting squares out of my piles. However when I bought the red floral fabric I think I bought one yard (and I think used most of it!) and also close to a yard of some other fabrics that I had to restock to make them go further.
Since I don't have a cutting mat, I measured and cut everything with scissors. I didn't really mind this, however I can definitely see how one of those cutting mats would be useful! Once the squares were cut (I didn't cut them all up at once) I started playing with the combination, and I think this was the most fun part, really. Seeing where each square should go and solve this puzzle was quite enjoyable.
Next up, I sewed all the strips together on the machine, did a whole bunch of ironing and then layered all three layers on the floor where I crawled around for an hour and a half and secured everything with safety pins. Now this if anything was more annoying and time consuming than I would have thought!
And then came the part where I sewed together all three layers and spent some time in front of my machine. That wasn't too bad, it was quite fun in fact, and it felt like it was done in no time. Now what took a long time was the binding. Working on the binding for the edges was quite a project. First up measuring and cutting the strips (since, hrm... I don't have a mat), then attaching them to each other, then ironing and sewing them onto the quilt, with extra care being taken to make sure the corners ended up looking nice. And then... sewing the other side of the binding together by hand. However this was rather enjoyable; slow, relaxing, perfect to do at night when we watch our shows.
And that's that! So the verdict? Did I mention that I love the way it turned out? Hmm, yes I did I'm sure. I also did mention how fun it was to make, but I think it's worth repeating. Making a quilt was unbelievably fun: if you're thinking about starting one but you just haven't gotten around to it yet, I would say run to the fabric store right now, because it's rather addictive.
The quilt ended up being 73x91 inches. This is smaller than a traditional queen size quilt, mainly because I did 8 squares across and 10 squares long, and then some cutting and then the binding. I was debating whether to do 9 x 11 squares, but figured, hey it's big enough. And maybe, just maybe it's a touch small but not enough to make a big difference.
A few other things I learned in the process: combining 100% linen with 100% cotton, maybe wasn't the best idea. Don't get me wrong; it was fine, but the linen certainly gives (almost stretches) a bit and I think that was the issue sometimes when I was trying to get the square to line up perfectly, the linen always gave just a touch more and sometimes it didn't end up perfectly straight. However I love the linen part, so well, maybe I just need to learn how to work with it better.
I also realized what a whimpy sewing machine I have. When I was sewing all the layers together, the machine just kept on moving. It was especially tricky when I came to the middle of the quilt to squeeze half the quilt in that small space next to the sewing machine. Basically I realized I wish I could screw it down to the table. I'm sure this could be done in some way, and I have never had any real problems with the sewing machine getting pushed around before, but then I also never really took on any large, thick projects.
Another thing I now see which I never really paid attention to in the past, is what a big part the binding is on a quilt. It really makes a huge difference in terms of a finished look, and sewing it by hand wasn't difficult but it certainly required patience and time.
And there you have it. My first quilt and the process of sewing it. This was a great experience. It certainly feels special, it's something I know we will treasure for a long time. It's great to snuggle with, to sleep under, to wrap yourself around when cold. And it looks so very nice, just like I had imagined before starting. Now I'm just debating on whether to dive right into making another one, or take a bit of a breather first...