Thursday, August 8, 2013

A quilt for my niece (Part 1)

Remember when I mentioned that I was going to make a quilt for all my nieces and nephews when they turned 12?  I'm super excited because I've now officially made my first!  I was nervous to put it up (because I haven't sent it off yet) but then I realized that she probably has no idea I have a blog, and I'm not sure her mother does either, so they won't accidentally happen across it.

It started with me asking her (through her mother and facebook) questions about all her 'favorites': colors, shapes, animals, books, movies, hobbies, etc. 
While her favorite colors were gold, aqua marine and lavender, I didn't have quite the selection of fabrics to get that specific, so I took artistic license and used the following instead.

The 3rd from the left was actually gone when I went back to buy the fabric (I hadn't done all my measuring and calculating yet) so I got a cute blue geometric square fabric pictured in the diamonds below.  Her favorite shapes were diamonds, stars and nonagons (yep, 9 sided), and I decided to not try to piece a top with nonagons, so I stuck with the first two, originally wanting to do a beautiful top like this beautiful quilt.
But when I accidentally cut the strips wider than planned, the finished quilt would have been over 7 feet square.  Too big.  So I changed plans to what became the finished quilt.  

But a funny thing happened on the way to the finish line.  I accidentally sewed the strips above exactly as pictured.  In my original inspiration, the diamonds all went from light to dark to light, but the above ones are doing that the short way across, instead of the long.  I sewed 8 like this.  (At least I had the sense somewhere in my subconscious not to do them all!)  So I panicked, then decided to put those 8 as the diamonds that surround the center star, and then the change in color would continue on perfectly.

So I sewed the other 8 the way I had originally intended and chose this lovely pale yellow as the color for the blocks and triangles to finish the top.  (The gold bolt in the back was just too much IN YOUR FACE!!! color, so I ditched it)
Here's the star with all the squares sewn on.  I used this awesome video to know how to piece it all together.  (It was also my inspiration for the final pattern).  Y seams are easy! Yay!!! 

Then onto the bordering diamonds.  
I would like to say, this part was the easy part.  The hardest, scratch that, longest part was sewing the diamonds together.  To get all the seams matched up I tediously marked a quarter inch on each seam, then pinned each seam match up with a stay pin (is that what it's called? Where you put it straight up and down through the 2 fabrics?) and then pinned on either side of the stay pin.  Then I sewed.  So marking and pinning 25 seams for each diamond x 16 diamonds = 400 seams + 40 for sewing the diamonds into a star = 440 + 48 for all the square corners and bordering triangle corners = 488.  

My seams line up beautifully, though.  I'll find a close up shot (or take one) and share it with tomorrow's post, but I'm super proud of how nice the diamonds look.  Well worth the time and itchiness felt to move on.  

The top is finished off with corner triangles, and then to lengthen it a little (I feel uncomfortable with square quilts, seems wrong inside, I need a longer edge!) I added a 3 strip border on top and bottom, yellow, blue diamonds, yellow, and a single yellow border on the side.  

It didn't fit on the quilting frame that my mother in law lent me, and I was being a hermit in Salt Lake, so I did what I could.  Lay the batting down, lay the backing on top of it, smoothed it out, rolled it up and flipped it so the backing was on the floor.  (I tried doing backing then batting but I couldn't smooth the batting out, too sticky).  I didn't have basting spray or anything, just lay the top on the batting, smoothed it as best I could and safety pinned away.  I didn't do too bad, but I also wasn't planning on quilting it extremely dense or fancy, so it worked out just fine. 
I'm exhausted by the process, just explaining it is bringing it all back!  So I will leave the ending for tomorrow.  

(P.S. - I went to a rodeo! So exciting! (and rainy))

See you soon!
(With the final product!)

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