Slow and steady wins the race. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Better late than never.
All the cliches apply to the making of this quilt, but my favorite is:
Better done than perfect.
In 2013 I decided I would make a quilt. For Christmas I received this rotary cutting set and this pattern book. I had a hand-me-down sewing machine from David’s grandmother. I got it serviced and practiced a little (very little).
I made a plan. I gave myself a year to do it, and broke it down month by month with manageable steps. Choose the size and design. Obtain fabric. Cut blue triangles. Cut cream triangles. Lay it out and stack the rows. Sew something.
That last step there – sew something – is where I got stuck. First, I got pregnant with Liam and lost all ability to do anything other than survive for a few months. Then when I finally did try to sew something, it came out in a bunched up mess. I Googled. I texted my quilting friend for help. I got lots of tips but none of them fixed it. So I put it aside.
I went ahead and gave birth to Liam, and had a productive maternity leave. Then in early March, my best friend Becca visited me and she tackled the problem. If you’re curious, the tension had to be WAY loosened. Like, way looser than “normal” or I expected – maybe because it’s an older, quirky machine. But finally, finally, I started sewing the rows together.
I loved it.
Eventually I had all the rows sewn together and pressed. It was at that point that I realized I had completely forgotten to account for the seam allowance with the triangles. I had consulted the pattern, but obviously not carefully enough. I knew then that when I sewed the rows together, the tips of the triangles would be cut off.
I made peace with it.
Once I finally had the quilt top done, I realized I didn’t have enough fabric for a solid back. So I cut and pieced together a few rows without planning ahead, basted it all together with the batting, and jumped right in to actually quilting it.
I thought about hand-quilting for two seconds before deciding against it. This thing was already taking forever to make. I have an old machine, I don’t have a walking foot, and my triangles didn’t come to points like they were supposed to, so I had to do a lot of starting and stopping – but I was still set on machine quilting this sucka all by myself. And I did.
It’s completely messy and there are too many puckers to count because I wasn’t that precise with my seams. I was learning to sew at the same time I was learning to quilt, after all. By this time I was embracing the imperfection anyway, and I just wanted it to hold together.
When the quilting was finally finished I was so excited – I could actually use it at this point! But it took me another month to finish the binding because the process was so new to me. I thoroughly read several different tutorials and pieced them together. I found out how important it is to accurately square up your quilt. I did a lot of trimming and seam ripping and I even shed a few tears at a point when I thought one of the corners was beyond repair.
But I pushed through, and on October 4, 2014 at 8:15 p.m., I finished that quilt. My first one. And now I am a quilter.
The end, or, the story continues. Because I’ve already got the fabric for my next one. :)