Tuesday, July 23, 2013

38 x 38 - Make a Quilt (In Progress)

Growing up, my mom was one of "those" moms - totally uncool and set to ruin my life! While everyone else was wearing clothes from department stores, I was stuck with either Kmart or (sometimes even worse) my mom's handiwork. She made shirts, dresses, or ack . . . this horrible skirt/vest corduroy thing that will forever haunt me in my 6th grade picture. I look more like the teacher in this horrid gray "suit" with my hair in a banana clip and my big giant uncool glasses.

I remember Mom used to sit me down at her sewing machine and attempt to teach me to sew. Totally uncool. I would roll my eyes and mutter to myself how unnecessary sewing is. I mean, like really, that's what we have stores for (said in my best 12-year old girl in the 80s voice). I wouldn't pay attention and pretty soon I'd have a big wad of thread, a messy pile of fabric, and my mom's total and utter frustration. Needless to say, she gave up.

Since then, I've had a complete aversion to sewing. Sewing was impossible and frustrating. I can't sew straight. I can't sew well. I'll break the machine. My mom will yell at me. I hate sewing.

But then as I've gotten older, I've started thinking of all the things I could make. A skirt? A throw pillow? Curtains? Or how about a quilt?

Yes, a quilt, that's it. Unfortunately (and sadly) my mom lives hours away from me so my mom teaching me to quilt is just not possible. It makes me wish I'd paid attention way back when so that I could say, "see what my mom taught me." Not her fault, all mine.

I added make a quilt to my annual bucket list and last week, I asked Eva to teach me. Eva is almost 90 years old and makes the most intricate beautiful quilts ever. She's my boss's mom and I love her to pieces. She likes to be helpful and was eager to get me started (she didn't know she was dealing with a non-sew-er).

She gave me overwhelming, huge piles of books to look through and asked me to pick a pattern. I admired intricate lines, triangles, and details before ultimately deciding to go simple. . . squares and strips. Easy right?

As for the material? I raided my mom's closet of scraps. I wanted to buy one of those neat jelly rolls where all the fabric coordinates and it's basically like a "kit" but I really didn't want to spend the money yet. Plus my mom said with my first one, I should use her scraps until I get more practice (see my mom remembers my sewing projects from long long ago!). I ended up selecting a frog pattern with many primary colors and then some fabrics in primary colors.

Then Eva came over to show me how to cut the fabric. Have I mentioned I can't cut a straight line? Not with scissors, not with a paper cutter, not with the ruler and rotary thing. . . a straight line is my enemy.

Eva helps me prepare to cut the fabric
I somehow managed to cut the material and while it may not be perfect, it did resemble squares and strips. Eva kept explaining that if it's not exact that "we'll just take it up in the seams." Um, sure. Did I mention I don't sew!

After a full day cutting, Eva told me I'm now ready to sew. She gave me verbal instructions and left.

Hey, wait! I don't know what I'm doing!! I had a moment of panic where I was ready to throw the fabric in tomb of unfinished projects. I can always blame it on not know what to do next.

So yesterday, I decided to tackle the sewing part. It can't be that hard, right? I read and then re-read the book. Sew this halfway, then sew that, then sew this, then press....blah blah blah.

Getting started, fingers crossed

And lo and behold, when I was finished I had what looked like an honest to goodness quilt block!
Hey, wow, I sewed that!

Of course, after finishing this first block, I had a moment of confidence where I realized I could totally do this! I had to take a break and text the photo to my mom (just to prove I did it).

So then I sewed a second block, then a third, and before the night was through, I had sewed all twelve blocks (this first one will be a baby size quilt).

Now I'm on a roll and I'd rather be quilting. I can't wait to get home tonight and sew the blocks together. I think I can totally do this.

(this morning over coffee, I peaked at the instructions for doing the "finishing" part of the quilt and I'm a little worried this project will end up in the tomb of the unfinished. Tack this, sew this, do some math, bind that...uh, what?? Thankfully, I know I can call Eva and she'll show me what to do!)

Can't wait to show off the finished project!

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