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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Little Quilt that Grew

Here is a picture of the quilt monster, otherwise known as Spud Three, rounding the corner of the deck at the end of our photo shoot.  And below is the story of how one tiny little project grew and grew and grew.

 Checking my in-box one day, I found this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company: Big Star Quilt.  I watched the video and decided that I could probably manage to make a star quilt following those directions.  I was a bit concerned, as the size of one block was larger than my usual finished projects.  However, I decided to pull out some of my random (and to be perfectly honest, not particularly high quality) Christmas fabrics to try it out. This was going to be a quick, one evening project and then I could get back to my other obligations. 

I made a couple stars.  It is a simple technique.  I threw them together and I did not take the time to trim my blocks.  (After all, I was singing the second verse to my famous quilting anthem "Corners Don't Match".  You know, the one that goes "Points cut off and I don't care".)  I was playing with inexpensive materials just to see what would turn up.  Besides, this is a one month a year quilt.  The blocks are huge.  There will be plenty of room to adjust things later.... right?

A short delay and I happened upon a sale and the local fabric store for a REALLY good deal on Christmas fabric.  I bought a couple more prints and some binding.  I made some more stars.  By the time I had 5 1/2, I figured I would stitch them together into a quick throw for the holidays.  No biggie. 

The only problem was that the stars really needed to have some space between them; well that and the fact that I'd boofed on the final 1/2 star and didn't feel like ripping it out.  I laid out a random spacing, still within the operational definition of a lap robe.  Then Spud One jumped into the mix and laid it out as a nine patch.  We into the bed quilt zone now but still manageable.  Then he said it needed the half star at the top.  Once said, it could not be undone and I had to cut more fabric to fit that in. 

I was getting ready to sew it together and contemplating a border when he popped up again.  Once he suggested that the bottom star absolutely HAD to be pulled out to the edge there was no other way to do it.  That one took me a day to figure out my measurements and wait to review them.  But again, not too difficult.  Not too difficult until you realize how big it was getting to be.  

By this time the wee quick quilt had eaten the design floor and Spud Three was called in to move some furniture and approve the placement of the colors. When you are making a simple nine patch, there aren't very many seams.  When the blocks are 26 inches (give or take) on a side, the seams take a bit longer to sew.   (That is Spud Three laying it out on the lawn so I could take a picture from the deck.  I swear it looked MUCH bigger in my sewing machine!)

Yay!  The flimsy was finished.  Now for the backing.  You may have seen a few posts about the quilt that ate my stash.  I had a couple pieces of Christmas fabric that would work.  However, the quilt really needed to have the white backing.  That meant a trip to the fabric store on (cue music of doom now) Black Friday.  And no, I am not one of those people who can stand to wait in ginormous lines for a bargain.  I just wanted to get the fabric I needed to finish the quilt and move on (Dearie!).  It was always clear to me that the quilt was going to have a scrappy binding and that the binding was only going to be on three sides.  I was going to have to figure out how to do the knife edge on the top row.  

I kept looking at that boofed 1/2 star.  It really wanted to be part of the quilt.  The only place for it was the back.  It had to fold over onto the back.  Yet more time, measuring and thinking to make sure I could get it to work.  Spuds One and Three were very helpful in getting laid out, making the first seam at the top and then helping to smooth things as I ironed the batting in place.  Yes, there I was crawling around on the design floor with my iron!  Thank goodness Mr-of-course-I-support-your-quilting-what-on-Earth-are-you-doing-now was out-of-town for that little project. 

I'd never used iron on batting.  It was really the only way to go for this project.  I did discover why the professional quilters dread the phrase "you can just quilt it out".  All of those untrimmed blocks resulted in a corner that would not quilt out no matter what.  Another verse!  "Won't quilt out and I don't care."   Much as I love it, having used inexpensive materials and having some piecing issues, there was no way I was going to pay for subject a professional to quilting this piece.  I just started shoving it through my little machine.  (Which almost immediately there after decided it needed another visit to the repair shop for a little R and R!)

 The quilting is squiggly lines, which my LQS guru assures me was a smart choice because then there would be no expectation of them being straight.  As if!  The binding is scrappy.  The bottom corners are rounded and the top edge is finished without a binding.  The whole thing measures about 87 inches by 93 inches.  That is almost dead on for Queen size.  (I swear it was bigger on my sewing machine!)  The fabrics are cotton and cotton muslin.  The batting is polyester. 

And that is the story of how my one evening, one block project ended up taking over the whole house, the better part of a week and exhausted my machine.  

(I swear it looked bigger in my machine!)


  1. Oooh, I like it! What a fun story, and you got a quilt out of it too!

  2. LOL! What a great story. And fabulous quilt. I totally love it and now you have this awesomeness to pass on as a family heirloom that has a written story (provenance) to go with it. Way to go (hang in there) Darlin.