Friday, August 26, 2011

check it off the list...

cell phone pic = poor quality, sorry

It is finished.  Finally.  The quilt I decided to make for Lily for her first birthday is done and on her big girl bed.  Did I mention that I decided to make a quilt with little to no actual sewing experience?  I mean, I can handle your average button replacement but quilting?  Nope.  Never done it.  How hard can it be right?

Epic Quilt Saga…

Sometime last year, I came across this fabric on Etsy I fell in love with.  I love fairies and I loved the retro-ness of this particular fabric from Alexander Henry (Sprites of Tillbrook).  So what could I do with it?  I thought about making Lily a quilt out of it.  It would be something she could keep forever and how special would that be?  We could put it on her first big girl bed when the time came.  It was the perfect first birthday present.  Done.  Now… how do you make a quilt?  After some research, I decided a puffy, soft tied quilt was the way to go.  My inspiration was the sunny tied quilt from The Purl Bee.  What’s that you say?  Your quilt doesn’t look anything like that one?  Well no, of course it doesn’t.  I had to change it in almost every way and make it harder.  Why?  That.Is.What.I.Do.

I decided on all the fabrics I wanted to use and even did the math to figure out the design and layout of my quilt and the necessary amounts of each fabric I would need.  This probably took me 10 times longer than it would take a normal person, but again, I wasn’t going to ask for help.  I will figure it out on my own.  Help, schmelp.  Once that was done, I had to find the fabric I needed.  It’s not like I could just pick a nice fabric from Joanne’s and go buy it.  Nope.  I chose a designer fabric that had been out of print for a while and wasn’t available in stores.  What I could find online either wasn’t in a large enough quantity or it was too expensive.  Finally I think I found some on Etsy and some on Ebay and I was ready to start.

Did I mention I had no sewing experience?  Even cutting the fabric was hard for me.  Using a rotary cutter, mat and ruler thingy, I think it took me a couple long sessions of just getting the fabric cut.  The sewing wasn’t too bad.  I did a pretty good job and before too long the quilt top was done.  I think I finished that sometime last fall… probably after her first birthday in October.

For almost the past year, the top of the quilt has sat in our bedroom on my sewing table waiting patiently for me to finish it.  Did I mention that I love to start projects and not finish them?  I am a procrastinator and I only work well under deadlines.  Well, baby sister needing the crib and moving Lily into her big girl bed was the final kick in the ass deadline I needed to get the job done.  But sewing with a toddler around?  Not really possible.  “Doin’ Mama?”  Sewing Lily.  “Lily sew?  Lily push it?  Mama… Lily do it please?”  How about we play blocks instead?  Some day Mama will teach you to sew.  “Ok Mama, let’s play blocks.”  I needed the entire living room floor to lay out, measure and cut the back of the quilt fabric.  Then, it had to be secured to the carpet with pins and the center batting and top laid out.  This was no something that could be done with Lily around.  So Lily went to Grandma Becky’s and Grandpa Tim’s for the past weekend and I spent all of Saturday crawling around the floor of our living room getting the pieces put together.  The fabric I chose for the back is a silky soft minky dot fabric.  It’s amazingly soft, but super stretchy and very hard to work with.  Of course it is… I wouldn’t have picked something easy to use my first go around at this quilt thing. 

I had to tie all three sections together, trim the edges and then bind and pin them together.  It took all day and by the time I gave up it was after my bedtime and I could no longer walk.  I then told my husband to please add making a quilt to the list of things I am not allowed to do while pregnant.  It is second only to making jam.  I tried that with Lily and it was torture… and I love making jam.  A couple times this summer I’ve thought about making some jam.  Then I remember Jeff reminds me how badly my back and feet hurt after I was done.  No homemade jam for us this year.  Anyway… back to the quilt.

I was hoping to finish it Saturday so when she came back on Sunday it was on her new bed and done.  Have I mentioned that I always think I can do things faster than I can?  Another one of my quirks.  I had to “let go” of that idea.  She loved her bed even without the quilt.  But thankfully I was able to finish it this week after she went to bed one night.  Did it turn out perfect?  No.  But I am extremely happy with it anyway.  A big step for a perfectionist like myself.  The quilt went on the big girl bed last night.  What did Lily think?  She loves fairies too and every time she’s seen it in our room over the past year, she pulls it down, says “fairies Mama fairies!” and get’s so excited.  What does she say last night when I show it to her?  “Grass!”  She thinks the green ties are grass.  Awesome.  Well, she’ll appreciate it someday… right?

So let’s review…
  • I like to think I can do anything, even with little to no experience
  • I like to make things harder than they need to be
  • I don’t like to ask for help
  • I like to start projects and never finish them
  • I procrastinate and do not work well without deadlines
  • I always think things will take less time to finish than humanly possible
  • I am a perfectionist who is trying really hard to learn to let go… sometimes

big girl bed - I also refinished the headboard in the past couple weeks... I know, I know it was one more thing... but I really wanted it to be white and distressed... it's cute

close-up of the fairies
close-up of cute zig-zag stitch in green thread
close-up of ties - "grass"
she wanted her hoo-hoos in the picture but wouldn't stop trying to look at the picture on my phone before I could take it :)


  1. Testing!

    I don't know why this isn't working!


  2. Awesome quilt! I'm sure she will treasure all your hard work for years and years!

  3. I love it. I'm so impressed. I don't even know how to turn a sewing machine on. (I wish I did.)

    Love that Lily calls owls, "hoo-hoo's". So does Lila. Cute.

  4. Thanks! I really wanted a special gift for her first birthday (we just won't tell her she didn't actually get it till closer to her 2nd birthday). It still counts right?

    Once you turn it on... Just keep the manual close by. That's how I survive. Oh and test fabric. I always have to do a test run to boost my confidence before sewing the real thing. And don't be afraid to tear out what you aren't happy with. Almost everything is fix-able :)


Thank you... I heart comments!