Adventures in Quilting…


So. Quilting. Have you done it? Have you wanted to? I haven’t since I was in middle school.  And then I did it under the watchful eye of my grandmother Dorothy.  It was just your basic square patchwork.  I added the word “BABY” and gave it to my aunt who had just given birth to my cousin, Spencer.  It was small and basic and won 2nd place at the Home Ec competition.  But that was the beginning of the 90’s. (Start your age guessing now!)

Flash forward to the early 2010’s.  I have been trying to turn my creative impulses into something that can support me.  (I am an account for a non-profit and the office setting is starting to get to me.)  I am always trolling fabric shops like JoAnn and Hancock Fabrics.  Well, I found a new independently owned shop in Lawrence Kansas called Sarah’s Fabrics and absolutely fell in love with a quilt they had hanging on the wall.  It was called a Wonky Block Quilt and it was a pattern the shop had developed.  So I bought the pattern.  The lady behind the counter gave me a few hints, like using a square ruler and the pattern itself can be made with those fat quarters.

So began my foray into quilting.  Man have I learned so much.  I’ve only finished two of the thirty blocks that the pattern calls for but the experience I’ve garnered already is invaluable. I want to share it with you.

First – fat quarters.  If you don’t know, these are 18″ by 21″ squares of fabric sold at stores.  They are essentially a quarter yard of fabric.  If you pin on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen DIY pins regarding all the things you can do with a fat quarter.  What they don’t tell you is that if you are going to take on a big project it’s gonna be expensive to go that route.  At both JoAnn and Hancock, fat quarters are $2 each.  This pattern called for 30 blocks, or 30 fat quarters.  That $60 for just material.  To be fair you can sometimes find them on sale for cheaper, even 1/2 price on the websites, but then you have shipping to pay.  I decided I wanted an owl themed quilt.  I only found a couple of owl patterned fat quarters. But then I did some more math.  The retail fabric stores almost always have fabric on sale.  I went to JoAnn and found 9 different owl patterns.  I decided I didn’t need every block to be different. If I bought 1/2 yard of each I could get two quarters.  Most of the fabric was regularly $6.99 to $9.99 per yard.  All were 30 or 40% off.  $4.19 to $5.99 per yard.  $2.08 to $2.98 per half yard or $1.04 to $1.49 per quarter.  Plus one I cut out what I needed for the quilt, I had good size scraps to use for another project.  Result = saved almost half the cost, better selection, extra projects

Some of the cute fabrics.

Some of the cute fabrics.


Next up – square ruler.  Have you seen these?  They are just what it says.  A ruler that is a square.  And they are EXPENSIVE.  It was even expensive on Amazon with Prime!  Plus, the pattern called for 17″ squares and they don’t sell any square rulers in that size.  But, I have tools.  I have regular rulers, triangle rulers, utility knives and cardboard.  So I made my own.   It was just the size I needed and FREE.  The 90 degree triangle is a must to help ensure you get a good square. With these items, you can make any size you want and if you cut into it too many times and distort the edge, you can just toss it and make a new one.

17" X 17" Square

17″ X 17″ Square


Last (for now) – IRON!!  Have you ever tried to follow a pattern and it tells you to be sure to press your seams?  Do you think that is a pain?  Do it.  Do it.  Do it. I cannot emphasize this enough.  I always thought it was a superfluous instruction.  My iron is actually in the other room, so in order to press my seams, it is a bit of a pain.  But it keeps things looking so nice and keeps me from jamming seams and leaving huge bulges.  Also, be sure to have a decent iron.  I have a cheapie that I bought a few years ago from Big Lots.  Little did I know that just a few short years later, I would need it for much more than the occasional clothing press.  It has NO label on the dial.  Only dots.  I have no idea what settings are for what kind of material.  It’s a crap shoot, and I’ve come close to burning myself and my fabric.

My friend thinks it is labeled - in Gallifreyan!

My friend thinks it is labeled – in Gallifreyan!


That’s all I have for now.  As I discover new things, I’ll share.  Feel free to send me tips!  I’m sure many of you are more experienced than I am and I would relish your knowledge!

One down…29 to go!




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