Confessions of a Non-Quilter

I am not a quilter. Sometimes I wish I was, but most of the time I am gently resigned to my fate. Quilting takes a huge time commitment for, well, something that just lays there on a bed…beautiful, but time consuming. I guess clothing and quick-finish projects are my forte.

But every 7 years or so, I get the quilting bug. I see a beautiful quilt, and I say, I really could do that if I tried. I have started 4 quilts in my life, but the fact that two remain unfinished in my studio closet after all these years is proof that I can’t – I am not a quilter. I don’t have a lot of unfinished projects, just these two quilts. They haunt me sometimes. I thought quilts were supposed to make you feel cozy and sleep better, not worse!

Quilt #1 Grandma’s Garden, unfinished
I was an innocent, unsuspecting 12 year old when a friend started me on this insane project. Maybe it would not be so insane if I was a born quilter, but with every stitch hand sewn, it has taken me 14 years of working on this ‘quilt’ off and on (mostly off) to get it this far, and it’s not even crib sized yet! It is appropriately named – I do believe I’ll be a grandma by the time I’m done. Of course, the quilt has high sentimental value, as it contains at least a scrap of almost every fabric I worked with through my teen years, including one flower made from cloth from the first dress I sewed for myself.

Quilt #2 – Original design, lap sized.

I made this one when I was 17. I felt so proud of myself, actually completing a quilt, and being so thrifty to use all those scraps of corduroy someone had given me…Too bad I didn’t even like the colors, and I still think this quilt is so ugly, I don’t even have it in my house anymore – I had to go into storage to take a picture of it!

Quilt #3 – Original design, crib sized

I actually liked this quilt when I got it done, but I didn’t know what I was doing when I chose the batting, and it’s so stiff, the only thing it’s good for is a wall hanging or as a cover on Jesse’s dresser (I have it turned upside down in his room, so just the boy-ish blue backing shows).

#4 – Original design, twin sized

My most ambitious quilt project to date – and yet unfinished. I started this one when I was 19, but lost the motivation to finish it as I have been sleeping in a queen-sized bed since I was 22. What’s the point in finishing it if I can’t even sleep under it? I know, I know – I could use it on my guest bed…I just gotta finish the quilting (which is 70 % done) and bind the edges…you didn’t know I was such a procrastinator, did you?

Anyway, all that to say, I’ve been bit by the quilting bug again, and despite all sound reason, have determined to make another attempt. I will never be a ‘quilter’, but I do have this one quilt that I’ve fallen in love with…It’s called “What a Bunch of Squares” by Denyse Schmidt, and I desperately want to make one for the new baby…

What a Bunch of Squares Baby Quilt by handmadebyalissa.
other examples here and here

I have decided that what draws me to this quilt, and others in this same style is the minimalist styling – a lack of busyness that is inherent in many quilts. I think it is a perfect baby quilt, and I have the perfect fabric – all the leftover scraps from the 15+ Emmeline Aprons I’ve made this year!

That was the real motivation to quilt, actually – my fabric. Usually my personal stash is not so inspiring, but all the lovely fabrics I justified buying this summer to turn into gifts, well, it was hard to give them away at times, and I realized I really wanted to keep a part of each apron…and a quilt was the way to do it.

And now I am going to show you said inspiring stash, and you must promise not to be too impressed, as it has only very recently become this photogenic, thanks to the lovely stash-folding techniques I just found here. You have GOT to try this – it is soooo much fun to turn a box of disordered scraps into these lovely, tidy little stacks! I am totally addicted, and wish I had three boxes to fold!

I was delighted to find that the “What a Bunch of Squares” quilt pattern is in a book – “Denyse Schmidt Quilts” which I now have on order from the library! Having an actual pattern, beautiful fabric, and a deadline really makes me believe this quilt could make it to the finish line and be something I actually use and love in the years to come. Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

I will keep you updated – the accountability of this blog has been great motivation in the past…

8 responses to “Confessions of a Non-Quilter”

  1. Trina Avatar

    Mrs. Turkey Bird, thanks for your helpful comment! Yes, I know I need to learn to use a rotary cutter. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a friend who is mentoring me in the finer arts of quilting. As to the actual quilting part – that is my favorite step! I've found I love free-hand stippling, despite the shoulder ache. I look forward to checking out your link…

  2. Mrs. Turkey Bird Avatar

    Heya! You DO have a gorgeous stash, and some lovely quilts. Two words of advice from a quilter who likes to get things done?

    1. Remember that you can pay to have someone else do the quilting once you've finished piecing the top. I do that ALL THE TIME, and I wouldn't have ever finished a quilt if I didn't! As it is, I've finished more than 10, and have even given some away.

    2. The photo of the scissors had me wondering if you have not yet been introduced to the wonders of rotary cutters. I have a dear friend who was trying to make a quilt using a rotary cutter with an insanely dull blade, and with scissors. A $10 blade changed her life, sped her up, and let her finish the quilt in time for the baby! Give 'em a try!

    Here's a link to my crafting post on my blog, with photos of my quilts:

  3. Kateri Avatar

    I love quilt number three! And the one you are planning on making is really pretty, too. I have a pile scraps I’ve been saving for years to make into a quilt, but haven’t started. At least you’ve started and finished something!

  4. Kelerr Avatar

    I love the quilts! It’s one sewing project I haven’t tackled yet… perhaps I will soon!

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Ha, your story about the Grandma’s flower garden quilt is exactly the same as mine! I started it when I was twelve, and it has haunted me with it’s unfinished-ness ever since. Just like you though, I love how every fabric I have ever used shows up in my quilt somewhere. ~Heidi

  6. rahraht Avatar

    Sigh! For not being a quilter you sure do have a lot of quilts made/started ๐Ÿ™‚ I am not a quilter either, but since I am related to Quilters, Kniters, Crocheters, and Crafters of ALL Sorts, I had to TRY at least once. That was enough. I did finish it (it was a small cribsize for my niece), but my mom held my hand, literaly, the whole way. It did help that most of the design was embroidery – which I CAN do ๐Ÿ™‚You must be getting really excited by now – the big day’s only a few weeks away!!!

  7. Jodes Avatar

    I love that quilt! Have fun making it ๐Ÿ˜€And you know, a true quilter always has a project that isn’t quite finished. I too have a Grandmother’s Flower Garden that I have been working on forever (12 years or so now). It is a great project to carry around, since it’s hand done.As for the corduroy quilt, since you don’t like it consider using it for the kids – snuggling up in the car, picnics outside, stuff like that. Quilts were made to be loved!!!

  8. Traci Avatar

    I also love that quilt, probably for the same reasons you described! Alas I’m not a quilter either, and lack the discipline to be taught. I do love quilts though, and what gorgeous gifts they make for people! You’ve inspired me to organize my scraps too.

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