Sunday, April 27, 2014

One Trick Pony

While the new floor was being installed, I was supposed to be minding my business, so I got busy with a new plan for a quilt.

My friend's 4 year old has a "real" bed now, so his baby blanket that I made isn't going to cut it.  I mentioned that I'd make him a new quilt for his birthday, which is in August.  Somehow, April became August, and we went last week just to look at material.

An hour later and this was what I had in my hands.

So much for just looking.

He loves anything to do with cars, but the selection at Joann Fabrics wasn't great.  There were a few fabrics with little cartoony cars and trucks and there were some with construction equipment, but none really tickled either of our fancies.

Plus, she's thinking a few years ahead, and babyish cars won't really work for a 7 or 8 year old.

He does love Cars, the movie, so we found a Cars fabric.  I told her I could cut each car out and feature them in a block and make it like that.

I sounded just like I knew what I was talking about.

I had absolutely no idea what it was going to look like.  And most definitely, I had no idea how much fabric I needed.  I love to just wing it when buying fabric, don't you?

I mostly didn't know how much fabric I needed because there was a breakdown in communication.  That's the second one this week!

When my friend said that his crib would become a toddler bed and then could become a full size bed, I always thought she meant full size, as in a real bed, not a toddler bed.  And I assumed it meant it would fit a twin size mattress.  I've thought this since the day she first told me that.

So I thought we were buying fabric to make a quilt that would fit a twin.

It turns out, that full size means a full size mattress, as in not a twin, but a full.  We spent like 30 minutes of research online trying to determine the semantics of that phrase.

So, we had already bought fabric, which in my head would fit a twin, but it really needed to fit a full.

Good to know, since I had no idea how big a twin is anyway, so I really did no math when ordering the girl to cut fabric.  I shouted out random yardages and away we went.

When I knew I had to make it fit a full, and we had actually found measurements, it still really meant nothing to me.  Someone will be very impressed to know that I did do some scant math wherein I imagined how much material I could use for borders on a square, and then I predicted how many squares I would need.

And I got to work.

These were the first two I did and I was wildly in love with my master plan.  I thought that the black would do a nice job showing off each car, and then the color around it would pull the color of the car back out. I'm pretty sure that's scientific quilting theory, right there.

I also wished I could just do the entire quilt in this mint green because I loved it so much.

But, I followed my friend's wishes and away I went.

The squares came together so simply, I was sure there was going to be a major tragedy.  Like I hadn't made enough or there wasn't going to be enough  material to finish them if I needed more, or I had done too many of one color and not enough of another, or I didn't put the right colors around the right cars.

Or that an old cat might end up in the middle of the whole thing and refuse to move.

I had a little trouble trying to decide the best layout.  I went with 4 blocks across and 6 blocks down.  There are 6 different cars and I used 4 colors.

Rocket science, I tell you.

I knew I'd have to add a few borders around the whole thing to make it wide enough to hang over the edge, but I didn't want to make more squares because it would have thrown off the balance of everything.  Plus, I wasn't sure I had enough Cars material to make more squares and use the rest for borders like I had planned.

See, I do have plans, they just aren't well thought through and I can't visualize the math to be sure I get it right.

Once I sewed it all together and liked what I saw, I debated the borders and did a border of black, one of Cars and one of yellow, since there wasn't much of the yellow in the quilt and I had enough to use it for the edge.  I did wider borders on the sides and narrower borders on the top and bottom so that I didn't get too long.

And then came the fun part of trying to choose a back.

Wait, no, the fun part was the math to figure out how much I'd need for the back.  And I did it just right, with help from my mother who thought I could get less than I needed.

And she was right.  I forget that you can evenly divide yards and have great results.

I needed 5.5 yards but the store didn't have enough of any of the fabrics I used, so I had to go with the blue and the green for the back.  I wasn't thrilled about two colors on the back, but plenty of people piece their backs, so I know it's not weird.

And then, the very most fun of all.

Since I've mastered the wavy line quilting maneuver on my machine, I decided to try it with this quilt.  I knew that I'd have to do it somewhere other than my sewing room because it's so big.  I had a really hard time wrestling that pink and denim quilt through the machine and that wasn't quite as big.

I had to either rearrange my sewing room or go to my parents' house where there are big tables in the cellar.  It was definitely worth taking the time to carry my sewing machine and supplies next door, instead of starting over with the arrangement in my sewing room.

As I had done with the other two wavy line quilts, I simply laid out the back and smoothed it a little.  Then I put the batting on top.  And then I laid the quilt top on.

And I didn't even iron it!

I smoothed and smoothed and fiddled a little bit.  And then, I did my infamous winging.  I just rolled it up and started sweating.

I was worried that the thread was going to break a lot, like it had during the denim quilt and a little bit in the pinwheel quilt. Part of the reason I went to my parents' cellar was because I think the lack of space in my sewing room is what added to the thread breaking a lot.  I think there was a lot of drag and weight because it had nowhere to move.

I did vertical stripes because I knew the rolls would be thinner than if I did lines horizontally.  That meant it was more to throw over my shoulder and contort my body around, but it seemed like a smoother process.

And surprisingly, it was.  It didn't take me anywhere near as long as I expected it would.  And I didn't have thread break once!  I did have a major bobbin catastrophe that I still haven't figured out.  It seems like the machine wound a bobbin incorrectly which seems impossible, but that's the only answer that makes sense.

It was halfway through the process and I was sure the whole project was over.  Changing to a different bobbin solved everything, though!

I will totally do this again.  No matter how big the quilt is, I think this will work as long as there is enough space for the quilt to move. This is my one quilting trick that I can actually pull off.

It does, however, require that I stand every strangely and doing a big project could cause total joint issues because of the weird position, but it is totally worth it.

Now it's "resting" while I determine what I will do for the binding, so you can't see the finished product yet.

Soon, very soon!

**Here's the link to the final product.

Linking here:

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous! I would love to have a nap on this lovely quilt myself.


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