Friday, May 13, 2011

Quilt Top is Done!

I'm so excited to report that I finished my very first quilt top today.

Making a quilt has been on My List. It's been something I wrote down a couple decades ago as something I wanted to do in my life: make a quilt.

Last summer I wandered into a quilt shop and fell in love with a simple top-stitched pattern that gave me the courage to go ahead and dive in.

Here's a re-cap of the process of making this queen sized quilt top.

First I began collecting all the beautiful batik fabrics.

Then I cut 90 nine-inch squares of background fabrics and 90 sets of circles in three sizes: 8", 6" and 4".

Next I sewed them together. First I sewed the 8" circle onto the background square. Then I turned it over and trimmed out the background fabric within the circle of stitching. This is so the finished product wouldn't be so many layers thick for the final quilting process. Then I sewed on the 6" circle on top of the 8" circle, trimmed out the back again, and sewed the 4" circle onto the 6" circle. One final trimming of the back and I had my finished square. But hold on a minute, there's another step!

Once my circles are on my squares, this is where the pattern throws a kink into things. The next step is to cut all the squares into quarters and randomly piece them back together again, making a wild hodge-podge of circles. I couldn't wait to see what my finished quilt top would look like so I folded my newly sewn circle-squares in quarters and put a few next to each other for a preview.

Finally, after many a night of sewing 360 little cut squares back into 90 big squares, I had my finished squares, ready to be sewn together in 9 strips of 10.

But first, another preview. 

It was here that I took a long break from my quilt. This is where I think I ended last summer. Eventually, this past winter I got my basket of squares out again. I sewed them into strips and then sewed the strips together.

Last weekend I bought my border fabric and today I finished sewing on the two borders.

Taa Daa! My first quilt top is done!

It's wild, I give you that.  But I love it!

"And it flies!"
to quote a funny Facebook friend.

I had to take a picture of the back showing all that stitching!

As the breeze took the quilt into the sun, it began to look like a stained glass window.

I already have my backing fabric purchased. I'm going to do a little "piecing" for the back, too. Call me crazy. (I think one of the ladies in the quilt shop wanted to. Knowing it's my first quilt, she asked, "And why are you going to piece the back?")

Well, that's a bit of a story. The color I really wanted as the focal point of the quilt is an aqua-turquoise color. I thought some purple would be nice as an accent color. As I began shopping for fabric, they didn't have any fabric in the aqua-turquoise I really wanted so I had to settle for more teals, turquoises, and greens. They also had way more purple fabric than they did these blue-greens, and I needed a lot of different fabrics. So the quilt ended up much more vivid and much more purple than I intended.

Then, a couple months ago I stopped into the quilt shop browsing for border and backing fabrics. Lo and behold, they had JUST the color I'd wanted all along. It was only in one fabric, though. I knew I had to make it my backing fabric. Because it was the coloring look I'd envisioned from the beginning, I decided to go ahead and make the back something special too. This way, the quilt will be fully reversible and won't look so much like an ordinary quilt back.

I'm going to make two one-inch inset frames into the otherwise single-fabric backing. The edging will be one of the same fabrics used in the interior framing. It shouldn't be too hard. The trick will be lining up the sandwich of top-batting-and-back precisely enough so the quilting I do in designated areas on the front will line up with the piecing on the back. (Hence, the quilt store lady's question, "And, why are you piecing the back?")

But for now, I'm just enjoying the thrill of finishing the top!  WooHoo! I did it!