I finished up the binding this morning (and now this blog and my life will go back to normal as Quilt Watch 2011 is officially over). Thank you for your suggestions and sweet comments along the way.
I wanted to share the inspiration for this quilt. It's a picture from one of my favorite books, Handmade Living. I loved the mess of square patterns and bought fabric to replicate the look. I realized after I had them all sewn together that I was going to make a quilt instead of just a duvet cover.
This project came together quickly because I knew if I stopped it would become too daunting to finish. I purposely kept myself focused on just one part at a time and did not read the directions ahead of where I was. This simplified everything significantly because I had clear, manageable steps to tackle :
- pick color scheme
- buy fabric for top
- wash fabric
- cut squares
- sew squares into strips
- sew strips together
- trim edges
- iron top of quilt
- read about how to bind layers together
- buy binding supplies
- pin back, batting & top together
- sew, sew, sew
- trim edges
- read about how to finish off
- buy fabric for final binding edge
- cut fabric
- read again how to finish off because it seemed ridiculously hard
- iron fabric
- machine stitch binding on
- pin binding
- hand stitch into place
See how overwhelming that list looks? But I really didn't know what was coming next and took it one task at a time which saved me from panic.
Here's the other reason it came together quickly - I threw perfectionism out the window. This quilt is not for sale, it's for our bed. In the next few years we'll get tired of it and it will be an extra blanket for when guests come or when our kids build forts. It's just a quilt for our family. My stitches that hold it all together are very crooked (fortunately, it's hard to tell with the pattern on the front but the backing looks like it's held on with squiggles instead of straight lines) and I didn't do any measuring or lining up so the edges are not quite even.
But it covers our bed at that was the point. I realized while wrapping up this project that I am most effective with DIY projects when I care about something being vibrant, not perfect. Fear of imperfection is a big hold up. I think I've learned enough from this one that the next will technically be much better and hopefully I can gift quilts as gifts when my friends start having little ones.
If you are looking to tackle a big quilting project I can't recommend this book enough. Or do google searches for step-by-step instructions on how to get it done. This is not an impossible project at all - it's just a big one. I'll do my best to answer questions in the comments but will not be doing a tutorial. So many great books and blogs do it much better than I can.
Some technical notes : I used about nine yards of fabric for the top and brands can be seen here. The quilt squares were not measured but are about 5 - 7 inches square. I used a gray queen sized sheet from Target for the backing and a queen size piece of batting picked up on sale at my local fabric store. For the hand stitching and the hand binding, I used 100% cotton quilting thread from Gutermann in white (it took less than one 220 yd spool). The light gray binding was about a yard of fabric that I cut and sewed into one long three inch strip. The finished quilt measures about 87x92 inches. If you missed it, here is our handmade headboard.