A few weeks of sporadic work and suddenly Elsa’s quilt is finished. I am too close to the situation to know if I really like it or not, but she does and that is what matters, right? Now she just needs a bed big enough to put it on. (I think that might happen in the next year or so with the big bedroom remodel we have planned . . . picture lofted beds everywhere!)
I would have thought that by quilt #3 I would feel like I was slightly more than amateur at this, and that the quality would have improved significantly. I would have been wrong. The only thing that I feel I got better at was the binding, which is something, I guess. Though maybe the problem was that I tried 3 different quilting techniques (stitching in the ditch, straight lines, and wavy lines) and while they all worked, the one I was most pleased with was the straight lines, which was on Oliver’s quilt. Maybe next quilt I will actually follow a real-live pattern rather than just looking at a finished quilt and pretending I know what I’m doing . . . .
So for those who are wondering my step by step process it was something like this:
Step 1: Spend 2 months pondering possible patterns. Then realize that I’ve actually never done this before and pick something simple and straightforward.
Step 2: Take Micah or a friend fabric shopping. If not for their expert eye and decisiveness, I would have spent the next 2 months pondering possible fabric combinations.
Step 3: Buy a new rotary blade and realize that I can cut an entire quilt worth of fabric in less time than it takes me to watch 2 episodes of Gilmore Girls, which is both encouraging and slightly disappointing since I would have loved an excuse to watch Gilmore Girls all day.
Step 4: Binge-listen to podcasts as I sat at my machine sewing quilt blocks together. It would have been more Gilmore Girls, but the machine was too loud and I needed my earbuds in.
Step 5: Move all the furniture in our living room . . . which, come to think of it, is only a couch . . . so I can lay out all the quilt blocks and pretend to “arrange” them so they look good. Take a photo and then stack the blocks in rows so I can remember what it is supposed to look like.
Step 6: Put the earbuds back in and stitch all the blocks into rows.
Step 7: Layout the rows and see all the places where my arranging was not as good as I had hoped. Rearrange again.
Step 8: Sew all the rows together. Congrats,the quilt top is done.
Step 9: Take the backing material, cut it in half, spend far too long trying to make the two edges match up so it looks like one big piece, sew it together, and realize that it hardly matters anyway.
Step 10: Make the quilt sandwich: backing, batting quilt top on top. Enlist husband and children to help pull each layer tight. Use a million safety pins to pin the layers together. Turn it over and see how many wrinkles are in the quilt back. Ignore them.
Step 11: Quilt. Marvel at how often the bobbin runs out, and at how long it takes me to realize the bobbin has run out.
Step 12: Clip a million threads, cut the batting and backing to be the same size as the top.
Step 13: Bind. Turn a blind eye to the many places the stitching overlaps on the front of the binding, rationalizing that the 8- or 6- or 3-year-old isn’t going to notice or care.
Step 14: Write a little note to the quilt’s new owner telling them that this thing is full of meaning and significance, then notice how, now that there is nothing to anticipate, there is nothing special about it any more.