I realize it’s a little crazy to sign up for a doll quilt swap when you’ve never made a quilt before but I did sign up figuring it’s a doll quilt — how bad could it be? Lauri — who received my quilt today — said that she was very into red and aqua at the moment and I had some good reds in my stash from reprodepot. So I supplemented with some aquas and more reds from my local stores. I knew I wanted to do a patchwork quilt but making the top of Katie’s doll quilt was good practice and showed me that I’m still not consistent enough to get all my squares to line up perfectly. So inspired partly by Lisa Congdon‘s bib and pillow designs I decided to do strips where the seams would never meet — avoiding the lining up problem altogether.
So I cut strips in 1.5″, 2″, and 3″ widths. Then I put them all in a stack — sorted by width — and used the random number generator to put them in pairs. Then I stitched them end to end and used the random number generator again to cut each of the pairs into a shorter length. Then, one more time with the random number generator and I had them ordered to sew together in one long strip for each width. The only time I ignored the random advice was when it put two pieces of the same fabric next to each other. I knew I wanted the quilt 18″ wide so I cut my long strips into pieces ranging from about 20″ to 24″ long. Once I had all my strips cut I started placing them to become the quilt top. I avoided any seams lining up and tried to balance the fabrics around the quilt. Once I was happy with the result I sewed all the chosen strips together. I trimmed the resulting fabric to the size I wanted — about 18″ by 24″ — and saved a strip from one of the sides for the back.
Next up was piecing the back, the quilt sandwich and then the quilting. Inspired by a Lori Mason quilt in my home and because of the horizontal-ness of the patchwork I decided to quilt in vertical lines. I started quilting in the ditch of the patchwork strip and moved outward. This is where my walking foot decided to self-destruct — thank you very much. Finally, I found a new one and finished the quilting. The next step was to trim the quilt and add the binding — made from leftover 2″ strips cut down. I didn’t want mitered corners so I just sewed the side bindings on first then the top and bottom. The binding was then hand-sewn to the back of the quilt and voilà, my first quilt was complete.
I had a little trouble letting it go so I hope Lauri really likes it despite the amateur execution. Once I’m set up on a new sewing machine I’ll finish up Katie’s doll quilt but I don’t see myself becoming a quilter. These little ones have been fun though and would make great gifts for a little girl so I’m glad I know how to make one now. See more quilts from the swap in the flickr pool.