I keep on trying to challenge myself with different quilts that I’ve made. When I think of my favorite quilt, I always come back to the one that I made for my lone soldier nephew, Raanan.
There are a few things that I love about this quilt. It’s the first one that I ever made using a pattern. It was challenging. It was the largest quilt that I had ever made. It was the first one that I used my own free motion quilting motif. It was the first quilt that I finished on my new sewing machine. And it was for Raanan, who picked out the pattern and the incredible colors that went with it.
I buy a lot of fat quarter bundles. I’m almost never sure what I’m going to do with them when I buy them, but they are all so pretty that I have a hard time helping myself. Every so often I look through them (and my jelly rolls, and charm pack and layer cakes) and thing of what I can do with them.
It’s much more fun when you can share the process with someone else. I let Raanan loose and he picked out his favorite. I also collect quilting magazines. He went through them too and found the perfect quilt to go with the fabric. Before I even started cutting a single piece, I was psyched.
Being fairly new to quilting at the time, this was a big undertaking for me. I mostly got the cutting right. I always like to have extra fabric so that I don’t stress over cutting mistakes.
One thing, that I didn’t think was going to be all that important to me, was marking the piles of pieces as I went along. I subscribe to the sew sampler from the fat quarter shop. It’s a monthly box of quilting goodies that gets sent to me monthly. In one of those boxes came something called alphabities. I didn’t think that they were going to be particularly useful at the time, but they have been invaluable to me as I create more and more complicated quilting projects. They just help me keep everything straight. I clip piles together plastic pieces, and they just keep everything sorted out.
I did a ton of chain piecing in this project, which is basically sewing piece after piece together, and only cutting the connecting string after those pieces are pieced together. It saves a ton of time on the process, and this project had a ton of piecing to do.
After the main blocks were done, I set everything out on a table so that I could get organized with piecing the whole thing together. Another invaluable tool is my phone for taking pictures of the layout, to make sure that everything fits together just right.
What I do is that I set it all out and make any changes that I want. Then I take a picture of it and then I sleep on it. I look at the picture in the morning to make sure that everything is set up correctly, and I make any other changes that are needed. After I’m happy with that, the piecing can get started.
This quilt also has a pieced border. Instead of cutting out all the little blocks and then sewing. I sewed strips together, and then cut them to the height that I wanted. I was able to make sure that none of the fabric patterns repeated one after the other. The same with the colors of fabrics. It may look scrappy, but the border is actually very organized.
After putting it all together, it was time to do the quilting. The only quilting I had done until then was stitching in the ditch and stippling. Here I let myself loose. It is still an all over quilt pattern, but it is my all over quilt pattern. I made stars and swirls.
If I were to do it again, I would be much more careful about my stitch length, Since none of these stitches are big enough to be toe catchers, I left it, as is.
The final product came out beautiful. I was so happy to be able to give it to my nephew. I may have made a couple of my kids jealous. Don’t worry, I’m working on new quilts for them too.
For now, my favorite quilts are this one, and the next one that I plan on making, whatever next one that is.