My amazing family of artists did an art exchange once again this last Christmas. And I, being very pregnant, decided to take a break from my maternal stresses and dive into something quite ambitious. I've been wanting to take a stab at a triangle quilt for some time, though I'm not a quilter, and this was a good excuse :) I knew it would be a good fit for my sister too (right Nan???)
Being on a budget, I decided I better start with a plan. A very thorough plan. I mapped out the entire quilt. It's not quite a twin size quilt but I had decided I wanted it to be long enough to span the width of the foot of my sister's bed in case she used it as part of her room decor.
I went with a quilted throw, size 53" wide and 72" tall. I chose a color pallet of seven colors and I recommend no less than that or it will be hard to avoid having the same color pieces touching each other. I made a template that included a 1/2" seam allowance to make the math easier :) I also looked up how much shrinkage to expect to make sure I had enough fabric after prewashing it. After all the math, I determined I would need 2/3rds yard (24") of each of the seven colors assuming I bought fabric 42" wide. It's a lot of planning ahead but it saved me $$$!
After prewashing all my fabric, I ironed it and began to trace my pattern. I've only done a quilting project once before but I rememberd how important it was that all the pieces be cut exactly the same so they sew together evenly.
So I cut each piece out as exactly as I could.
It's also a good idea to have a mix of values (darks, lights, and all the inbetweens)...
Lay all the pieces out in an order your like. I liked it being totally random, but still having the lights and darks spread out evenly over the span of the quilt.
Then came the "I want to go cry in the corner" part . . . I find sewing emotionally draining so I only sewed one row each day to avoid a real breakdown. It took me about an hour and a half to have each row sewn, pressed and sewn to the next row up. It's worth your time to be a perfectionist on the first row. I redid it a few times until I figured out a system that worked so all the rows would turn out clean and consistent.
Next, I made a batting sandwich. For the back of my quilt I just bought a twin sized flat sheet from Target. That way I wouldn't have a seam on the back. It also gave me enough extra fabric to bind the edge. The batting I bought was a thin, inexpensive, artificial batting, but you can splurge on some really nice, organic fiber battings. After prewashing the back, I laid it out as flat as possible, then laid out the batting and last, laid the quilt on top.
Ideally, you bast the three layers together with a quilting adhesive spray. It's not cheap (enough) so I skipped it. It's the one regret I have. I ended up stabilizing the three layers with A WHOLE LOTTA PINS!
When everything looked stabilized and smooth, I trimmed an even, clean edge along the entire perimeter. I used a ruler to keep the edge exact.
I cut several long, even strips (3" wide) to bind the perimeter. I laid them flat against the edge of the front face and sewed them down. Then I folded the binding back over itself (picture on the left), and wrapped it around the edge to the back (picture on the right). After that, I pressed it to create a smooth, straight edge and to have a clean rolled edge to sew down on the back.
I finished the binding, sewing it by hand, with a blanket stitch. After that was done, I hand sewed (tied) down each corner of each triangle with a discreet stitch to keep the quilt nice, flat and stable. You can do this with a top stitch instead, but it makes a big difference in the overall appearance, and I couldn't get it to look right on this quilt. Once it was totally tied, I pulled out all the pins, gave it one last press and . . .