Monday, July 30, 2007

First Draft Quilt

First, a huge apology to all my quilter friends. They are legion, and they have presented me with magnificent quilts, large and small, over the years. My husband, stepchildren, and grandchildren have also been the recipients of their wonderful handiwork. I know these dedicated quilters spent many hours, planning, cutting, and stitching.
This week I made a quilt in two twenty-minute sessions.
It was all done with glue. I needed a quilt in a hurry for a miniature couch in a scene I'm creating, and I'm not one to spend hours over tiny swatches and stitches. Here's the pattern I developed, if you can call cutting corners, both literally and figuratively, "developing."
1. Assemble fabrics that go together in texture, colors, and design. (Here it's helpful to have advice from a real quilter.) Since we're working on a small scale, tiny, tight patterns are best. If you have a favorite piece that has a large, scattered pattern, zoom in on one element and use that. For example, the deep pink swatch in the photo is most of a large flower in the original widely spaced pattern.
2. Cut a piece of fabric, three and one eighth inches by three and one eighth inches for the back. Be careful not to fray the edges, so you don't have to hem the piece. Remember we're not actually going to be wrapping ourselves in this quilt, nor are we going to be moving it from chair to bed and back. It's going to be glued in place, there to stay neatly forever. We don't have to worry about fraying unhemmed edges. (I told you we'd be cutting corners.)
3. Cut small pieces from the assortment of fabrics in Step 1. For a three-by-three quilt, thirty-six one-half-inch square pieces will look right.
4. Arrange the pattern you want on a piece of paper. I took six different designs, laid them out in a row, then checker-boarded each pattern over one slot in the second row, with the last one ending up at the beginning of the third row, and so on.
5. Spread a light layer of glue in a line, on the wrong side of the large backing piece from Step 2, leaving enough margin to turn over as a border. Move the first row of swatches across from the paper onto the glue. Continue until the six rows are glued down
6. Turn up the margin on all four sides to make a finished edge to the quilt. If you've cut everything carefully and avoided fabrics that fray easily, there will be no need to turn the fabric under, as you would in a life-size hemming project.
7. Hand or machine stitch a "quilting" pattern across the whole piece.
Except ... I'm not completely happy with this quilt. The squares aren't all exactly the same size, so the backing shows through in places. Also, I machine stitched too haphazardly, so the pattern of stitches is not pleasing.
It reminds me of some first drafts of my novels. So, like some first draft manuscripts, I'm using this "quilt" as a coaster.
The next one will be better!


Deb Baker said...

I think it's wonderful!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Can't wait to try this. Do you use glue to drape it over the bed?


Camille Minichino said...

Yes, I glue it on ... in my case, tucked into the corner of a sofa. Of course you fold in all the loose threads!
to soften fabric so that it drapes easier, run it through a glue bath, equal parts glue and water. this helps especially if the fabric is thick, like terrycloth.