Friday, May 31, 2013

2 Quilts in 4 Days

As in I started and finished two quilts last week, within four days. Sometimes I'm really good at convincing myself that some crazy sewing task will be much easier than it actually will be. And then, once it's started, there comes a point when I realize I was way wrong. But then at that point, not finishing would be a giant failure.  Totally rational right?

Friday was Hendrix's last day of preschool, which was really a big class picnic at a park. I started thinking about gifts for his two teachers on Monday. Again, I'm not really sure that there was a lot of logic that led to the decision that I would "just" make them each a simple quilt by Friday morning. But that night I picked fabrics for this first one and got it cut and mostly pieced. 

These were nearly all fabrics I've used in recent projects, so I really enjoyed the challenge of picking a cohesive scheme from just scraps. I knew this teacher liked purple and fun, bright graphic things. So I started with the light purples and the pink Melody Miller typewriter that was leftover from this bag I made last fall. From there, it was pretty natural to go with some more pinks, the navy ships, and some aquas and limey greens. I also really liked the idea of that dark green moon print from Tula Pink's Nightshade, but was nervous about keeping it in there. It was leftover from Hendrix's Halloween bat wings. But once it was all together, I loved it. Every quilt needs that "out of left field" kind of fabric. 

So for each quilt, I only had to buy some backing and binding, which I of course went to Sewn Studio for. I don't know how anyone lives without a good local shop nearby for this kind of thing!

The white print on the back is from Julia Rothman's new Ride line. It's little bike gears, but it just looks like a really fun dot. I might need a bolt of it. The binding is from Jay McCarroll's Center City line. The quilting is just a quarter inch on either side of all the seams, plus a diagonal grid in the same way. 

So by Tuesday evening this top was pieced as well. For the other teacher, I knew she might like a little more conservative color scheme. I started with the Joel Dewberry Deer Valley print in red and then added some dusty blues and golden yellows. And even browns! I almost never use reds or browns, but I loved this color scheme once it was all together. This was also a lot of scraps, but I had to cut into a few fresh fat quarters in my stash too. 

With both of these quilts, the initial fabric pull got changed up a little once all the cut squares were lined up. On a quilt like this, it would be impossible to get it just right the first time. Well, for me anyway. Usually, you lay everything out, notice a couple of the prints don't quite work, then go dig around for the replacements. That's all part of the fun. 

Here on the back you can see my quilting a little better. This was definitely the biggest quilt I've ever done an all over free-motion design on, and I'm so happy with how it came out! I recently sat in on my friend Millissa's free-motion class at Sewn. Just hearing her tips and watching her do it helped me improve so much. Just buying quilting gloves made a huge difference for me. The best thing about quilting this way was how fast it got done. The worst thing was how bad my neck hurt afterward. Gotta figure out how to avoid that!

I went with solid red binding and this great backing fabric from Timber & Leaf by Sarah Watts. I had Hendrix write his name in the bottom corner of each quilt back and I wrote the year and who it was for.

So they both got finished pretty late Thursday night. I was so relieved, and SO TIRED. Nick helped keep the kids out of my way a lot during those couple days, which was very sweet. He must have seen I had my sewing crazy eyes on. But it was all worth it because Hendrix was so excited to give them to his teachers and they absolutely loved them. They both mentioned how perfect the colors were for them. Sometimes you just wanna make everyone a quilt. You can't, but I think the ladies who made Hendrix love his very first year of preschool really deserved it. Plus it was fun.

They are both made with 36 squares, 10" unfinished, which makes about a 57" square throw quilt. So if you wanted to make this kind of thing even faster, a precut layer cake would work great. I don't think I normally would have made something so simple if I hadn't been time crunched, but now I want to make more just like them. Sometimes simply letting the fabric choices and quilting be the stars of the show is really satisfying.


  1. Great job! And what thoughtful gifts for H's teachers!

  2. well goodness those are beautiful!! And now I want to make my daughter's preschool teacher a quilt! it will be the end of preschool for her as next year is kindergarten...and she will end three years with her teacher (fortunately i'll still see the teacher for two more years since Henry will still be there...)ummm...maybe, maybe it's reasonable?...not are a quilter :)...i am not :( beautiful job jessica!

  3. I think you are 100% crazy for doing this! What an awesome and meaningful gift, those teachers are so lucky!

  4. Wow!! Just wow!! What an amazing, beautiful thoughtful gift! Very lucky teachers :)

  5. That's awesome - what a wonderful idea! Very lucky teachers indeed!

  6. Oh yay I love that you got photos of these done, I was so curious to see them laid out! They look awesome. I'm itching to do a "quick quilt" too...partially because I need a good scrapbuster. Also, way to blog!

  7. My husband knows the crazy eyes well haha. But I'm so impressed that you got this done. They are so lovely!

  8. I love these! I love the mix of prints, so refreshing!

  9. What a wonderful teachers gift! They must have been thrilled.

  10. How awesome are you! Way to go. It's so fun choosing fabrics from scraps like that and creating something that works. Hey, I think I need to get some crazy eyes. My husband never keeps the kids out of my way. I know i get crazy inside sometimes, but maybe I don't have the eyes, so he can't tell...


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