Monday, May 10, 2010

A Quilt in Four Days (Subtitle: How I almost Lost My Mind)

I spent the weekend in the ATL. My friend MB is also due in August and her baby shower was on Saturday. I have known about the date of this baby shower since March...maybe even February. When did I decide to buckle down and make something for it? OH, Friday April 30. Knowing that we were going to go away for the weekend and that I would really only have 4 nights to work on it. Why i do these things to myself, I don't know.

So Friday night I buckled down and started cutting pieces out for a zig zag quilt. I picked this for MB & her husband because they had recently sent me pictures of their nursery and it had horizontal stripes. I also have been wanting to make a zig zag quilt for someone!

I used this tutorial. Anna Maria Horner also has a free tutorial for one on her website. I decided to not use the AMH one because the other one was cutting out squares, which is much easier than using a pattern to cut out triangles. The tutorial I used assumes you bought the quilt package that the blogger sells on etsy, which I also did not do, so I had to translate her instructions for materials, etc into my own materials. So "orange octopus" became "Fabric A". If you wanted to also use the same tutorial for your zig zag quilt, you need about 1/2 yard (probably less) of 8 different fabrics. Then do the following:

Cut 20- 5" squares each out of Fabrics A, B, C.
Cut 10 - 5" squares out of Fabrics D, E, F.
Cut 15 - 5" squares out of Fabrics G & H.

You will have cut 120 5" squares at this point. It is helpful if you use post-it notes with the fabric letter on them for each of the eight piles - i.e. marking which is Fabric A vs. Fabric B.

Next you will make 5 pairs of squares in each of the following 12 combinations by taking one square from each of the fabric piles and pinning them right sides together.

1. Fabric G + Fabric A
2. Fabric A + Fabric C
3. C + H
4. H + D
5. D + B
6. B + G
7. G + E
8. E + C
9. C + B
10. B + A
11. A + F
12. F + H

Now you can pick up the tutorial with more ease. After I got all the rows laid out, it was also easy to use post-its to mark Row 1, Row 2...Row 12 so that I wouldn't sew it together wrong.

So Night 1 I finished cutting out all of the squares, sewing the squares together, cutting them into triangles and sewing the twelve rows of squares together.

Night 2 I sewed all of the rows together to finish the quilt top! Quilting is definitely an art form - if you mess something up cutting - it only multiplies further on down the process. I found this out while sewing the quilt top. If you look very closely on the top, you can see that my seams do not line up. Rookie mistake. The nice thing about the zig zag is that you can sort of fake this - it still looks good even if they don't line up.

Night 3 I cut the batting and the back of the quilt and lined them all up and pinned it using some cloth diaper pins we had. Then I had to hand tie the quilt. I will admit that this is not what I wanted to do. I wanted to machine quilt along the vertical and horizontal seams. BUT since my seams didn't line up, it looked like total crap. I got one vertical line done and started crying. Enter my husband with the seam ripper. I made an emergency call to my mom who said that of course I could hand tie it. Thankfully HC stopped at Jo-Ann fabrics after our prenatal yoga class so I could get materials to hand tie. This basically requires you to thread a needle with some sort of string (I used 6 threads of embroidery floss) and go into the top of the quilt and come up from the bottom right where you first put your needle and tie the two strings into a knot. I have had lots of practice at this since my mom would make us do this part of quilting with her when we were kids. I was able to finish the hand tying in one night in front of the television.

Night 4. I save the binding for the last night and I didn't read the instructions for the binding until the last night. I used Heather Bailey's tutorial. Now, I know I'm a rookie at this quilt thing but I thought these instructions were not good at all. It could be that I was under pressure to finish this and therefore was not thinking clearly but I think I'm relatively smart. I still ended up having to rip out like 10 seams in the process of trying to close my binding (Steps I-J). Finally I figured it out and finished attaching the binding. Then I read Step L which mentioned hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt. What?! It was already 9:30 PM. I was fading fast. I would be up all night if I hand stitched this beast. So I cheated and machine sewed. My mom made me feel better and said that that decision might be a good one so that it holds up in the wash better. (Thanks Mom!)

So here is the finished product. I did the binding and the back the same as one of the zig zags. I think that I had 3 yards of this material to begin with and I maybe have 1/2 - 3/4 yard left after doing 20 squares, the binding and back.

Materials needed:

Thread - I used white thread to sew everything together and a navy thread to sew the binding since the navy thread is the only thread you would see.
If you are going to hand tie it, this took 2 skeins of embroidery floss in a coordinating color.
1/2 yard of 8 different coordinating fabrics. 1/2 yard is PLENTY. If you like to be exact about the amount of material, you can figure it out. The fabrics I used were: Tres Belle Shell Blue (from, Morningstar Bouquet Ecru (from, Amy Butler August Fields Knot Garden Slate, Amy Butler Midwest Modern Honeycomb Blue, Anna Maria Horner Dance Party in Teal, Michael Miller's Spring Petal Party and two green ones from that are no longer avaiable.
About 2 yards for the back and binding if you decide to make them in the same color. My back and binding were the Tres Belle Shell Blue.

So that is a quilt in 4 nights. I don't recommend doing this - save yourself more time and you will save some sanity (and some f-bombs). It was all worth it though when i saw how awesome it looked in their nursery!


BCK said...

SO impressed! I cannot believe you did this in 4 nights!

Old MD Girl said...

Wow. Ok, my weekend was not nearly as productive as yours. You are IN.SANE. And also, the quilt looks fantastic.

mm said...

The quilt is absolutely wonderful. I am sorry for all of your stress but I can guarantee that the Baby will LOVE this quilt. It totally makes the room. Dave and I are so grateful.

heather said...

That is SO flippin' cute!!! You are a rock star!!!!

Jacinda said...

Gorgeous! I need to try a quilt, you've inspired me! Love your fabric choices!