Wednesday, December 30, 2009


This past Thanksgiving, I came home with a bag of t-shirts, and a vague plan.

"I'm going to make my Dad a quilt for Christmas!"  says I.

Yes, I have quilted before.  Always following a pattern, and always with plenty of lead time.

I had 7 days.

Enter my friend Lisa, who works for Briarwood Ballet, and also happens to be a very talented and experienced quilter.  I brought the bag of shirts to her, and she immediately got excited, showing me websites and sketching designs.

This was NOT what I had bargained for.  And, turns out, not quite what Lisa had bargained for, either, but it was terrifically fun and rewarding all the same!  Here's the process we went through:

1.  I arrive at Lisa's (amazingly cool, neat, funky, urban, historical) house with t-shirts in tow.  I had cut the shirts apart, and ironed them onto lightweight interfacing.  Lisa unrolls her design wall (think, flannelgraph) and we throw some pieces up there to see what we like.

Surprisingly, this took more time than I had bargained for.  The clock was ticking as Lisa scratched her head, puzzled, measured, sketched, and thought some more.
Here's Lisa, with the pieces squared (using a rotary cutter), thinking.
See the steam coming out of her ears?

2.  Now the creative juices start to flow.  (Must have been the awesome turkey paninis she made!  And the toffee. . . . .)  Lisa has me iron interfacing to some t-shirt material, cut, and sew into stripes.  Fun!  Don't they look like socks for Santa's elves? 

3.  Now I cut strips out of the fun backing material I picked.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to match turquoise, green, and red??  Lisa has even more creative juices flowing (must be the toffee, again) and the design wall starts to look like this.

4.  Time to measure and square off the backing material.  We are both astounded that the Lord has granted us favor - I've got little wasted fabric, and almost all Lisa's measurements work out!

  5.  Here is the finished quilt top.  There was a lot of sewing, a little re-sewing, a whole lot of praying and hoping going on.  We were both surprised by how good it looked!  Somewhere in the middle of the day I found out that Lisa had never actually "thrown together" a quilt like this - which made me even MORE impressed!"

6.  No pictures of this, although I thought I had them. . . next came the basting (spray basting in Lisa's kitchen - wow, was that fun!) and the quilting.  We had originally talked about my using red thread to quilt, but after I did about 6 inches I changed my mind, ran out to JoAnn Fabric & Crafts (thank you, 15% teacher's discount!!!) and bought invisible for the front and black for the back.  I really liked the fact that the invisible thread allowed the quilt top to stand out.

For my machine quilting, I used the "painter's tape" method shown over at Tallgrass Prairie Studio.  I really could not have finished the quilt on time any other way!  The pattern I used was called hanging diamonds - I quilted horizontal lines 3" apart, and then diagonals another 3" apart.

Finally, for the binding, I bought some sparkly-gold red fabric.  Thanks to this awesome book, (loaned to me by Lisa, but showed up under the Christmas tree for my very own!) I learned how to do a double-fold bias binding on my own!  I was sewing the last inches on the top as we pulled off the highway in Indiana. . . .gulp!

7.  It was all worth it, don't you think?

My sentiments exactly, Dad! 

(with extraordinary thanks to Lisa over at The Pipkin House!)
Not to mention my wonderful, amazing, husband, who basically ran the show for a week while I obsessed over this quilt and playing Handel's Messiah at church.  Love you, Babe!


Lisa A said...

I am still astounded at how fast you quilted that thing knowing all you had to do to get on the road!

Our Westmoreland School said...

That is really incredible! The quilt looks beautiful and you both really flew through the creation process.

Amazing :)