Monday, April 11, 2011

Quilt with Me: Day One

Many people have stopped by my blog and expressed surprise at how quickly I turn out my quilts. As a result, I thought I would do a "Quilt with Me" series to show you how I go from start to finish as quickly as I do. I have several quilts to finish for a custom order, so I thought I'd let you follow along while I make one. I hope you enjoy this little series and that it inspires you to take advantage of little moments in your day to do things you want to do, but don't think you have time for. As you'll see, it doesn't always take a lot of time.

On the first day, I picked out the fabrics. For some of you, this may take a long time. I tend to be the same way, so one day I took some time to create groupings with my vintage (and non-vintage) sheets. Then I took pictures of them and filed them away on my computer as "quilt possibilities".

Now, when I'm ready to make a quilt, I can go to my pictures and see what strikes my fancy. In this case, it was what struck the fancy of the customer who ordered it. It also happened to be the combination I wanted to make next anyway! :)

The next thing you need to know is how big your quilt is going to be, and what design you're going to use.

This one is to be a throw, approximately 50x60", and my customer liked the basic patchwork square style. Since I've already done a few like that, I knew that 8" (7-1/2" assembled) blocks are a good size to show off a fabric's pattern. All I had to do was a little math.

I took the desired dimensions and divided them by 7-1/2", the finished size of my blocks. If I got a mixed number (which is likely to be the case), I just rounded up.

50/7.5 = 6.66, so I rounded up to 7 blocks across
60/7.5 = 8, so I will be doing 8 rows

Take the number of blocks multiplied by the number of rows, and you'll have the exact number of squares needed. (This can apply even if you're not doing a simple patchwork style. This is how you determine the number of fancier blocks you need, too.) I came up with 56 squares (7 blocks x 8 rows = 56 blocks).

Since I'm working with 4 fabrics, I simply divided the total number of squares by 4 and came up with 14. That means I needed 14 squares of each fabric. Once I knew that, I pulled out my fabrics and got to work cutting my blocks.

Here's a tip that makes this process faster and easier: Woven fabrics can usually be ripped across the straight grain, which saves tons of cutting time and ensures that your blocks are on the straight grain. I do this for (in this case) an 8" length of fabric, then I use my rotary cutter to cut that strip into 8" blocks. This might seem like a lot of math, but it's just the basic math that you learn in grade school, so don't be intimidated. Even if you're not good at math, a calculator makes this a cinch.

And here you have my quilt-top blocks, ready for the next step. Since it was revival week, this is all I had time for today.

I didn't time myself, but I can tell you when I did it: when my son was finishing his (2nd grade) homeschooling seatwork. It might have taken an hour. My daughter is in kindergarten, so we can finish her work pretty quickly. That means I have a lot of extra time while my son (who hates seatwork) takes his good old time finishing his independent work. This has the added bonus of me being available to him while still getting something accomplished.

I'm linking to Fiber Arts Monday.


Scrapbooking Beginner said...

I just love your fabric. Making a quilt is on my bucket list. I’m hoping in the near feature I can achieve quilting and sewing. Thanks for the information. I may just be doing a quilt. :-)

ladychiara said...

I love those colours.I think beginner quilters can get quite overwhelmed with thinking about all the things they need to do to make a quilt.(Especially the maths) Having it broken down step by step makes it much easier to process especially for visual thinkers like me! Whilst I have not quilted in a good while I shall enjoy watching you put your quilt together.I think we forget that it doesn't all have to be done all at once!

Shore Girl said...

I love the fabric you picked for this one! The blues are probably my favorite!