Sunday, January 04, 2009

How I spent my Christmas vacation

Here it is... the unveiling of My Big Project. I wish I could say I'm done, but I'm not. Then again, I did only start it a couple of weeks ago. I've been looking for a quilt for Mallory's soon-to-be-bed (we're going to evict her from the crib in the next few months) for some time, and I never did find anything that felt quite right. Then I saw the pattern for this quilt online, and it looked doable; and I've loved this line of fabrics since I first saw them. The stars seemed to align and I decided to give making one a try.

Quilting is honestly not that hard, and I say this as someone who has never done it before and never taken any sewing lessons save for 7th grade Home Ec. A little time consuming, but not as bad as I expected even in that regard. I did invest in a self healing cutting mat and rotary cutter since getting my pieces the right size was essential. I also had to buy a walking foot for my sewing machine. Oh, and some curved safety pins. And have you ever bought quilting thread? - it's insane. I've spent $12 on THREAD. So I don't think I saved a ton of money doing this myself as opposed to buying something factory-made in China, but it's all about the legacy, people. The cutting was probably the worst part; just tedious, and not very rewarding. The mixing and matching of the fabrics was great fun. I pieced the entire quilt in one night, once my blocks were done; I started around 9 p.m. (after the kids were in bed) and was done around 12:30. So it wasn't too bad, time-wise. I was worried this project would drag on and on, especially since my days are filled with The Children and dealing with their incessant hungers and needs for a playmate and fecal emergencies. But you can get a lot done with a couple of hours.

The quilting part is going a bit slowly right now; the stitching is easy enough, but it's wrestling the monster of a quilt through my sewing machine that is giving me grief. If it's this bad doing a twin size then I promise you I will NEVER attempt a queen or a king!

I still need to bind it, too, and on the weekend we made a trip up to see my grandma that was not timed specifically to coincide with my quilting venture, but it certainly helped me to be able to ask someone with years of experience how to proceed. I have sunk enough time and money into this project that I would be heartsick to somehow ruin it all now.

One evening over our break, I was supposed to go out with Chad and some old high school friends who were in town, but at the last minute the other woman involved (a spouse) backed out and it would have been just me and a bunch of men. And, we hadn't really lined up a babysitter in advance, so Chad and I decided that the guys would come over for some drinks, I would have a chance to say hi, then they would head out for the night and I would stay home with the kiddos. I had an early mid-life crisis of sorts that night, sitting there quilting while my friends were out having fun, wondering what had happened to me and how I had gone from being the fun-loving girl they knew in high school to a homebody quilter. Well, let me tell you - now that I am getting close to finishing my project - the crisis part is behind me. I'm so happy with how it's turning out. My lines are far from straight and my quilting is far from even, but it all kind of jives with the askew-square pattern and bohemian prints I chose for the quilt... I am very much liking the handmade vibe that is resulting. And that's not just an excuse; I really mean it.
When I first started cutting the fabric up, I was a bit worried that I'd gone too bohemian in my selection, and that it wouldn't look good in Mallory's room when all was said and done. Her room and the bedding I have for her to date is a bit on the preppy side; checks, stripes, dots, etc. But I came to the conclusion that it's the right fit. First, it breaks up the matchy-matchy a little bit. And second, I hope this is something she'll have for a lifetime, which means it has to outlast her current little girl room. This quilt will still look good when she is 14 and paints her bedroom black just to spite me.

Anyhoo... that's where I've been for the past few weeks - trying to cram as much progress on this into my precious free time as possible. Back to work tomorrow, which means goodness only knows when I will get My Big Project finished.


Dawn said...

WOW! WOW! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Big pat on the back, that is looking amazing!

I like the mishmosh of fabrics! Look out, maybe a storefront on Etsy might be in your future.......

Mandy said...

I know I commented!!!

I Love the blanket, and think you've done a fantastic job! She's going to treasure it always, and I'll bet it looks darling in her room. You're giving me a bit of hope, because I've always wanted to quilt....then again, what seems simple and not too bad to you might just mean you have more patience than I do. LOL

Great job, mama, seriously!