September 13, 2015

Teamwork Scrappy Quilt


Over two years ago, I made a baby quilt from blocks made by my grandmother. I used only six of the eighty blocks she made from the scraps of the clothes she made in the 1970's. Ever since I inherited the blocks, I had raked my brain for an idea of how to use them-- by themselves, the blocks aren't stunning. But when put all together, it's a whole different look altogether.


During this past summer, I was working on my own quilt for my dorm room bed but lost momentum after I finished the quilt top; I hadn't gotten good enough at free motion quilting to do the quilt top justice. (Also, white fabric and dorm rooms don't go well together.) I then turned to the remaining 74 blocks and thought the busy scrappy look would work well for a college quilt for all the reasons that white doesn't.


So I began a new project when I was still midway through the other one (sigh). Since I've started following a bunch of quilt bloggers, I've been itching to make a "scrappy vortex" quilt but have been intimidated by the massive amount of work such a project would entail (I still am...) So this is the cheater version, since my grandmother already took care of the meticulous cutting and piecing of the blocks. I used 63 of the remaining 74 blocks to make this twin-sized quilt. It took me about ten days from start-to-finish: 
  • 1 day to arrange the blocks,
  • 2 days to piece the blocks into the top quilt,
  • 1 day to buy and pre-wash the backing and binding fabric,
  • 1/2 day to baste the 'quilt sandwich,'
  • 3 days to quilt the blocks in a 3-inch grid,
  • 2 days to free-motion quilt the border pattern, &
  • 1/2 day to do the binding.
The process was quite fun but concentrated into only a few days. I went to work, ate dinner, and immediately went to work in my "sweat shop" (bedroom) to get the quilt done.



 (left) The backing material, a  blue marble. During the quilting process, I discovered that it looked really cool when the light was shining through.

(right) My sewing setup with my Bernina QPE 170 and walking foot to quilt blocks.


After finishing the quilt top and adding a 3" red solid fabric (from stash!), like always, I think the project is nearly done. But the quilting process for this project has been more involved for me than ever, and thus, I had only reached the optimistic halfway mark.

I quilted the body of the quilt with in a three-inch grid, aligning exactly with the natural squares emerging from the top. And for the border, I used my newly purchased darning foot to free-motion quilt a paisley pattern (pretty much the simplest free-motion pattern in existence, but still not that easy). I'm pretty proud of the border's quilting for a first effort; it adds so much more movement to the quilt!


Some quilt stats for my "Teamwork Scrappy Quilt":

  • 65 nine-patch blocks with 27 fabrics each, in 3 x 1" rectangles (not including seam allowances)
  • Approx. 75 fabrics, mostly cotton solids, ginghams, and prints, also some synthetic and flannel fabrics
  • Twin sized, measures 67" x 84" 

All attempts of procrastination aside, I managed to finish it early enough for my dad to take it "on tour" to Los Angeles to show my grandfather and other family. I thought it would be fun for them to see some of the fabrics they grew up with a generation ago turned into a quilt by a millennial. (For example, a common scrap in this quilt is an orange, white, blue, and turquoise striped fabric that my dad says was his childhood bed duster--see three scraps of this fabric above.)


And now, the quilt is on my bed--in the house just past this bridge on campus--to keep me warm, thanks to a multi-generational passion for quilting warm memories together. For this, I am proud to present my "Teamwork Scrappy Quilt."

Have a happy school year! On that note, I need to attack that mountain of homework...

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

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