I am often in the middle throngs of a big sewing project thinking why am I doing this?....
This project was not one of those times. I put the final handstitches on the binding of the Single Girl quilt yesterday afternoon. I do not remember feeling quite this satisfied with a project in a while. This project started quite a while back in craft time, and as most quilts, it happened in stages...fits...bursts of energy really. Those curves took a lot of focus and concentration. Some days we're up for that, others...not so much. So, it sat, folded, until the next day of "okay, let's do this" motivation came.
I started this quilt with the idea of using only what I had in my stash. I have so much fabric, and always justified buying a little of this or that with the idea that I'll use it for patchwork patterns. There hasn't been a ton of patchwork coming out of here lately, so I thought this would be a great project to use every pattern I liked from my stash and just start cutting and piecing without much thought to placement of color or pattern. In my humble opinion, there is really no other way to piece 35 different patterns together, it could make a sewer crazy to try and find the perfect balance. I went slow on the curves (I've gotten several emails asking for tips on those curves and really, they are nothing to be afraid of, if you take it slowly. They take a little more thought that straight-line sewing, but really, anyone could have success at this.) The squares came together, and before too long I had a quilt top.
The pattern offers a template for a gorgeous hand-quilting pattern, which I thought seriously about tackling, especially after I saw this stunning example! But I know how much time I have these days, and didn't want it to sit idle anymore, so I handed it over to the folks at my favorite local quilt shop, The Quilting Loft, with instructions to make an open, loop-d-loop all-over pattern (many of Denyse's quilts in this book are quilted this way). I used dream cotton batting, and bought a full sized cotton sheet for the back (shown above), again, to save money (the pattern called for 5+ yards of 45" fabric for the backing, which can be expensive, this sheet was purchased on sale for $12.00 and was more than enough. I handed all of these components... top, batting, sheet for back, over to the shop, then picked it up about 4 weeks later.
What I got back needed to be trimmed down and squared up, then have the binding applied. I used the method of making and applying binding straight out of the DS Quilts book (by the way, this is still my favorite craft/sewing/quilting book, e v e r). I calculated I would need 9 strips (2 1/4" wide) of the teal quilting cotton I purchased, and I cut them straight, not on the bias as some instructions call for (this method uses a lot less fabric and you really do not need that extra stretch unless you are binding curves). Once they are cut, I sliced off the edges at a 45 degree angle, sewed the edges into one long strip, ironed all seams flat, then folded the entire strip in half (wrong sides together). I pinned the raw edge of the binding flush with the raw edge of the quilt on the right side of the quilt, stitched all the way around using 1/4" seam allowance, the pressed the binding back over the seam, and wrapped it around to the back, the handstitched it on.
The only thing more satisfying than handstitching binding onto a quilt is knowing you're going to throw the whole thing into the wash and have it come out perfectly rumply and clean.
I am really really happy with it. Every quilt I make is better than the last one. I push myself in some small way and learn more each time. This one will go on Emma's bed, and she has promised me she will not cover it with stuffies (we'll see if she holds true to that). I thought about putting some sappy label on it, maybe "my hug for you Emma, whenever you need one" or something like that, but I didn't. I still might. Its been a hell of a week for our family. We had a big health scare with my sister-in-law Jenny and have been very preoccupied. I'm happy to say she's doing well, but she is still in the hospital and we're not sure when she'll be able to go home. We can use all your good thoughts and prayers.
It was a good week to finish a quilt.