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Work in Progress: My First Quilt (Top)

I have completed my first patchwork quilt top! It’s actually been completed for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t get around to taking pictures of it quickly.

Ta da!

I cut three 2.5″ squares from each of 40 different fabrics, which I put in a bag. After shaking the bag until they were thoroughly mixed, I pulled them out, stacked them, and made rows of ten squares each by pulling them off the stack. I didn’t count how many fabrics I used; I’m lucky it came out in a number divisible by ten — I had no squares left over. Once it was all sewn together, I took my mish-mash to The Quilt Tree and picked out the border fabric. (Thank you, Shannon, for advice about the color).

It’s sewn by hand, and I eyeballed all the seams (’cause who wants to mark that many pieces of fabric?). Some of the squares came out a bit rectangular, but I’m pleased with it, overall. It’s just for me and my learning experience, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. I was more interested in how the colors would look together. This was a modified version of the first “lesson” in the book Color from the Heart: Seven Great Ways to Make Quilts with Colors You Love. The book wanted me to do that, but instead of just sewing them together randomly, put the whole thing on a design board first. That book, like most I’ve found today, assumed I was going to be machine quilting in a work area, not hand sewing on a bus.

All of my corners came out nice and sharp… but they didn’t always match up perfectly.

Takeaways

I learned much in the course of sewing this together. I’m sure I have more to learn, since I haven’t quilted it yet. And probably won’t before the new year… I have multiple craft projects in the works that are to be given as gifts. When I do, though, my plan is something like the following picture — though less crazy in color. Though honestly, if hand-quilting thread came in crazy colors, that would be different. I want to get the hang of doing this in the first place before I experiment with using weaker thread, though.

The actual quilting will also drape with the cloth instead of looking ridiculous in terms of perspective.

Although no two adjacent squares in the quilt top are made of identical fabric, there are several spots that have two of the same fabric flanking a second fabric. Quilting it with the plan above will help avoid that. I love the little sandwiches, but I also like the idea of being able to blur their existence with a little bit of thread. (Muahaha!) The quilting I do on the border should show nicely, since my hand-quilting thread is light in color.

The border’s not planned as much as the middle. I want to outline the corners to cover up a mistake I made trying to set in the last little bit. I don’t know what I’ll put in the corners, though. I’m toying around with ideas like sakura blossoms, goombas, and wedges of cheese. Not all together, of course, I mean to pick one and use it in all four corners. The center of the top, bottom, and sides, are going to get the kanji for north, south, east, and west. East and west will be backwards on purpose; it was a suggestion of my brother’s that amused me. I can never remember which way is which anyway, so why not? That’s So Raven Lena! I haven’t decided what to fill the rest of my first quilt in with.

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