My nephew Dean was getting ready to graduate from The School of Engineering at Santa Clara University. So what would his graduation gift be…? Now lemme think… a quilt? What else?!
I had been eyeballing a quilt that I had seen in a Connecting Threads catalog for quite a while. I loved pretty much everything about it. Then I took another look at it and saw what I took to be a sign. The picture in the catalog showed the finished quilt laying on a bed. My bed! Well, my old bed anyway. And when I say my bed, I mean my actual old bed, not just one like it. My husband and I had recently up-sized from a queen bed to a king bed. We sold our queen bedroom set to a friend’s coworker, that worked for Connecting Threads. They had used the bed in a photo shoot for that particular quilt! Done deal, decision made, and kit ordered.
This would be my first experience with a quilt kit. I was really happy with the colors and bought something like seven or eight yards of purple batik backing. Then I talked to my sister in law (Dean’s mom) and she said that he wasn’t really a purple kinda guy. Crap. Okay. So I bought seven or eight yards of blue batik backing and some cobalt blue batik to replace the bright purple borders that came with the kit. I didn’t replace all the purple, I figured he would just have to live with a little bit. Don’t worry, I found a use for the extra purple batik fabric!
The instructions were great, and it came together pretty quickly with nothing more complicated than half square triangles. Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that I finally took a beginning quilting class at my local quilt shop A Common Thread, just before starting this quilt. I also bought a new machine. In an earlier post, I mentioned that I had a lot of difficulty doing a scant 1/4″ seam. One of the problems was that the cheaper machine that I bought (not really knowing if quilting was going to be a “thing” for me) did not allow me to move the needle over. Even with a 1/4″ quilting foot, I still couldn’t consistently sew a scant 1/4″ seam. Argh! Anyway, the new machine let me move the needle in both directions and had many more features that I have grown to love. And finally my 1/4″ seams improved and my quilts started coming out the size they were supposed to. Yay!
So what did I learn while making this quilt? Easy.
- Kits are convenient, but I like picking my own fabrics. Yes, we have already determined that I am a bit of a control freak.
- Classes are awesome. I’ve taken more classes since then, and realize that there are lots of ways of doing things and they can all be right. What works for one person may not work for everyone, and I may have to try many methods to find the one that works best for me. There are so many controversies; prewash fabric or not, iron with steam or dry, do patchwork oversized and cut to size so it’s perfect vs. trying to make it the right size to begin with. The list goes on. What works for me (or at least what I do) is, whatever takes the least amount of effort. So no prewashing, no oversized patchwork getting cut down. I don’t use steam because my iron tended to spit. I’ve since upgraded to a nicer iron, but I just got used to ironing dry. Whatever!
- A good machine is awesome too. I love my new machine, but now I’m finding things that I wish it could do. I wish it had a bigger throat so I could think about doing some of my own quilting. But for now it’s fine.
Anyway, birthdays and Christmas come every year, but graduating from engineering school is a very big deal. So I wanted this quilt to be very special. So I popped for custom quilting despite its large size (I have it listed as a twin, but the pattern calls it a super twin). Karen didn’t show it to me until it was done and I was flabbergasted. It was so amazing that I wanted to keep it! But I didn’t. But I sure thought about it. 🙂