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look!  i made another quilt.  this is a custom order for a coworker of david’s.  she’s hosting a baby shower for her best friend and *this* is the gift of honor.  how cool!  she gave me a head’s up she’d be in the market for a quilt months ago, sent me pictures for ideas, and more or less gave me free reign to do what i wanted.  a perfect client!

you can tell by reading this blog i’m not much of a quilter.  aside from some little patchwork pouches and pillows here and there, this is only my third quilt (not including the placemats i made as a first project and practically vowed never to quilt again).  i haven’t done it in so long, i was actually really excited to start a new, totally unique project from scratch.  additionally, since i’ve sworn off quilting cottons as i’ve gotten heavily into garment making, i’m always left drooling over my weekly newsletter from hawthorne threads and all the adorable prints i have to turn a blind eye to.  NOT EASY.

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for my color palate, i eagerly based it on the crazy cute up up and away line by skinny laminx, which i’d been eyeing longingly for months.  i bounced it off chelsea, who asked me to leave out any reds.  then i consulted my favorite source of quilt inspiration for ideas–i love that her quilts are all AWESOME but totally simple and doable.  armed with my vague idea of bold geometric randomness, i went to select my solids.  i love how the hawthorne site is set up, with coordinating fabrics in the same window as the fabric you’re looking at, so choosing solid colors was quite easy.  i went with all pure elements by agf because the colors are great and they really are notably smoother than other quilting cottons.  not being much of a quilter, i arbitrarily ordered half a yard each of honey, mirage blue, burnt orange, and ash.  i don’t remember how much linen white i ordered, but i was way short.  anyone with basic math skills would probably not make the same mistake.

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anyway, you guys would be proud.  i am learning from my mistakes (since i’m still a rogue quilter with zero formal instruction or even a book to my name)!  i was very precise about cutting and pressing my half square triangles (fastest method that i know of here).  i made them to come out to 5″ squares, to make it easy for me to make a 45″x60″ quilt.  i avoided cutting 800 squares too many as i did in my wedding quilt, so perhaps my math is improving.  i was extra careful about matching up points and lines and corners, and was pretty proud of my quilt top.  i cut my binding 2.25″ wide to give me PLENTY of wiggle room to fold it over and machine bind everything, including mitered corners, on the first go.  and i did!  my best mitered corners ever.  i think that extra .25″ might have been a bit of overkill because there’s quite a bit of space between the seam and the folded edge, but i’ll take it.

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for the back, i used some up up and away and grey flannel (because again, i did not order enough of the prints), and just pieced them together.  i spaced the embroidered initials and my shop tag pretty appropriately!  see, evolving.  while my actual quilting leaves something to be desired (i blame this partially on my plastic machine that i have to stack text books behind to keep it in one spot), the only other gaff was a little contrast piece of binding i put in just for show, and OF COURSE, i planned so carefully on the front side where it would end up, without consulting the back side, where it is in fact NOT contrasting, but the exact same fabric.  drat.  i’ll keep that in mind for next time.

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anyway, i’m really happy with how the quilt came out.  my only approach to piecing was to make it totally random and not repeat the same color two squares in a row, and somehow, that worked.  as for quilting itself………..bah.  i was so excited to start this project, and i got to about here

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and was ready to call it a day.  after the stimulation of sewing garments to fit a human body, the repetition and slow pace of quilting is a little tough for me.  it’s like 5 steps, and each of those steps is so prolonged and so repetitive.  bean was pretty much over it, too.  i can definitely appreciate the value of a quilting shop where people gather to quilt in company.  when i visited karyn’s shop last summer, it was totally abuzz with people hunched over huge quilting tables, helping each other piece and baste and generally henning it up.  that’s the only way to quilt, i think.

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however, you can’t argue with the impact of the final product.  it really is something to be proud of that fits my criteria of utility and beauty.  it’s something you can give a baby that you know will last longer than a few weeks and is really special.  it’s also the only type of sewing during which i’ll permit myself to watch something as opposed to just listening, so i got well in to the first season of orange is the new black.  which is NOT like the book.  but does make the quilting go faster.

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