Monday, August 30, 2010

Quilt update

So that “Quilts of Valor” thing? Yeah. I didn’t go subtle for the first one. It’s red, white and blue. It's cliché.  The more artistic one I had planned? I came up with a different design, and I’m reworking it in my head. It’s going to drive me mad. But, as usual, I digress.

I love the concept of a patchwork quilt – you use scraps of fabric that aren’t useful for anything else by cutting them into pieces and stitching them together into something useful, and usually quite beautiful. The process I learned was to make templates for the shapes you need and trace around them onto the back of your fabric, leaving enough room to then add a quarter inch seam allowance. After marking each piece twice (sewing line and cutting line), you cut each piece out, then carefully line up your stitching lines, and start sewing. I never managed to get the hang of machine piecing – I can’t get the corners to match up the way I want them to.

So, getting back to construction of the quilt top. Making a quilt out of scraps is a great idea. I can even wrap my head around why you would want to go out and buy perfectly good fabric so you can cut it up create a specific pattern of color and line. What I can not do, is cut up a square of fabric simply so I can then cut it into 4 triangles and sew them back together into a square. So I’m not doing it. So there. For someone that tries to reproduce original sewing techniques when possible, this alternately causes me to feel like a rebel and a loser. I find I’m getting over it pretty quickly.

See those blue triangles? There are 160 in this quilt. See the white square? If this were being contructed in a traditional manner, they'd be made out of four triangles sewn together. See the red square? There are only 20 of those. I haven't counted the white triangles. I don't think I want to know.

You can see the yellow lines for cutting and sewing. And the penny is there for scale. I like using a small needle. It makes it easier to make small stitches.

I estimate I'm 5% done so far.


  1. The only quilt I ever made (don't laugh, it's a very manly quilt) was a rag quilt, and it was only squares--no triangles. About as easy as they can get.

  2. Hat tip to you - I barely have the patience for woodworking and lutherie. Looks like 'tis gonna be very, very nice!