My grandmother, is the best. My quilting skills, are not.
She is a Grandma who deserves only the finest. She’s smart, kind, beautiful, and hilarious. She makes the best cinnamon rolls in the history of ever anything, is a total card shark, embroiders beautifully, and always has time and love for her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. In the last year (because I’m never actually on time) she had a milestone birthday, so I thought it was high time to make her something special… like a quilt.
I’ve dabbled with quilting in the past… a poorly executed table runner, which my mother is kind enough to continue to let grace her table; a case for my iPad, strategically made with super busy fabric so nobody can actually see my quilting; and a lap quilt that I ended up hand quilting (in a panic) on the floor of my husband’s apartment in Wisconsin. None of these efforts were overly successful, and yet it had been long enough since my last attempt that I allowed myself to believe that, A. I knew what I was doing, and B. I enjoyed it. Of course, instead of making something reasonable like quilted pot-holders, I decided to make a full-on throw sized quilt. Pot holders won’t keep her warm while she watches NBA games from her recliner. (Seriously. She’s super cool like that.)
Filled with misplaced confidence I selected my pattern, the Four Winds Quilt designed and sold by my local shop, Fancy Tiger Crafts. I was at least self-aware enough to realize that big blocks were smarter than a tiny intricate pattern.
Sewing the quilt top was definitely the best part (outside of fabric shopping – obviously). The method for creating the flying geese blocks was smart, and made the assembly quick (relatively speaking) and easy. I was pretty proud of that quilt top – the corners met where they were supposed to, and the final product was relatively square. Clearly my over-confidence was warranted.
And then I had to quilt it.
I was so diligent. I even went to school (oh, the horrors) to use my classroom floor for basting, as it’s the only floor space that is #1 – big enough, and #2 – wouldn’t have a puppy walking all over it as I pinned.
They recommended I have extra batting and backing… clearly I took that to heart.
I watched an hour long Creative Bug class on making a quilt sandwich and made sure not to cut any corners.
I carefully pin basted the whole thing, hand basting the edges at the end. It was a thing of beauty. This quilt was not going to get the better of me.
One line of stitching in on my machine and I knew I was in trouble. My walking foot did a funky little jog every five stitches and I couldn’t get my tension settled. All of that basting? Pointless. I had to re-pin to accommodate for all of the stretching and dragging, and snip out that beautiful hand basted edge. It was miserable. However, I persevered and at some point decided that I should quit trying so hard and just let all of those tucks and pleats continue to happen…. you know, for the sake of consistency.
The quilt uses a self-binding technique, where you cut down the batting to match the top, but leave the backing an inch or so bigger. The backing gets folded over the top edge and you sew it down. Slick. At least I was able to end the
misery project on a positive note.
As previously stated, my Grandma really is the best, and loves me (and the quilt) regardless of my remarkably poor quilting. Though my skill and patience were tested, I loved making something for a woman who has given me so much. Many a lesson (on what not to do) was learned while making this sucker. I’ve sworn off quilts for awhile, but it’s only a matter of time before I become delusional enough to try again.
And really, if you stand across the room and squint – it looks pretty darn good.