My First Quilt Ever!

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.

Doll Quilt

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.

Doll Quilt - 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.


23 Responses to “My First Quilt Ever!”

  1. 1 Lisa K. May 8, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Wow, Jennifer. You really thought this one out! I made a strippy doll quilt top this morning using the instructions on the happythings blog posted yesterday, and I had no c l u e how to quilt it. Vertical channel quilting, it is!

    She is sure to be tickled pink (or red and aqua) by this. The fabric and design are so spot on. I love it. A wonderful addition to the swap!

    …I just keep going back to the photos and looking and looking! It’s GORGEOUS.

  2. 2 laurie May 8, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    My goodness, Jennifer! This is beautiful!

    Thank you for the sweet card! So nice of you to send.

  3. 3 lyn May 8, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Oh it’s lovely.
    Great job.
    : )

  4. 4 Alicia A. May 8, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    It IS lovely. The colors are beautiful. Way to go, Jennifer!

  5. 5 amandajean May 8, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    what a super job on your first quilt! I am so impressed. I love the colors…LOVE the strip down the back. Love it all. Nicely done. ( I could go on and on…)

    I got your sweet card today. It made my day. 🙂

  6. 6 Alex May 8, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    So brave taking the plunge without any experience… and what a pretty result!

  7. 7 Amy May 8, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Love it. Love the binding extra special much!

  8. 8 Anina May 8, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    That is very very cute. I love the backing with a little stripe through it. I think you can move on to a bigger quilt now.

  9. 9 Sonya May 8, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Wow I am so impressed by your first quilt making foray – it is a beauty. I love the juxtaposition of the number fabric with the more traditional prints. With the use of the random number generator (so clever) it all ties in nicely!

  10. 10 dawna May 8, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    i love it! and thanks for the link to the random number generator… i’ve never thought to use one, but it certainly would make randomness in a quilt much much easier.

  11. 11 Amy May 9, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Nice quilt – I am planning on doing one like this using a “jelly Roll” of fabric. (Moda is selling 2.5 inch strips of an entire line of fabric in what they call Jelly Rolls.)

  12. 12 Toni May 9, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    So GREAT!! I love it. You did wonderful work.
    I think you need to make more 🙂

  13. 13 Connie May 10, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Wow! This is just so amazing! [and truly random!] i love it! i am so inspired, i want to make one… would it be so wrong to make a quilt during the summer time? oh the colors, everything about it is just perfect!

    do you think you’d ever make a full sized one?

  14. 14 Michelle May 10, 2007 at 11:42 am

    It’s really quite lovely.

  15. 15 monica May 10, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    This is so beautiful! I hope you’ll carry one quilting, because you certainly have a gift for it!!!

  16. 16 Lauri May 10, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    OMG Jennifer! I got it and I am so in love with it! Really and truly, in love! I love the style, the colors, the quilting…everything. I love scrappy quilts and I like them in squares or long strips/rectangles and this one meets everything I think of when I think “perfect quilt”! I even love the back.

    There are some scraps of fabric in there that I have, some I’ve never seen, and some that I, literally, have coveted for so long, but I guess are from older seasons and I can’t get now…I especially love the numbers, and had even email Lisa Congdon and asked where she got her’s (because I see it in a lot of her work, which I adore). She got it at repro-depot, but they no longer had it. : (

    But I have it now! I honestly cannot tell you thank you enough, or tell you how much I really love it, but, I will tell you a little secret…I’ve been sleeping with it. lol! Yes, I’m 40 years old, and still have to sleep with something…namely a cotton quilt. It doesn’t even matter how big it is, I just have to be able to feel the cottony denseness of it on my cheek and under my neck and this one works perfectly. But, I do want to tell you that I will probably give it up soon, and hang it on the wall in my craft studio, where the blue paint in here sets it off perfectly!

    Thanks again so much, and keep on quilting because this is beautiful! I can’t believe it’s your first!

  17. 17 Jen May 11, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Love it sooo much! Beautiful colors and lines. You must feel so proud! 🙂

  18. 18 Courtney May 12, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    wow, that is fabulous! I love it all, but I think I like the back the best. That pieced binding looks great. Lucky recipient…

  19. 19 Nancy May 13, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    wonderful job on your first, did you say first quilt?

  20. 20 kathy May 20, 2007 at 1:12 am

    Beautiful job! The pieced binding was the perfect finish. Not going to be a quilter? I’d say you’re just getting warmed up.

  21. 21 meg May 21, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    I love this quilt! What a great combination of fabrics.

  1. 1 WIP Friday « mama urchin Trackback on July 8, 2007 at 1:34 pm
  2. 2 I Know I Said I Wasn’t a Quilter « mama urchin Trackback on August 7, 2007 at 10:31 pm
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