Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Quilts (are coming) Along

Ok, I know the Quilt-Along just started, but I jumped in fast and deep this time around, so it's already time for an update. I woke up on Saturday obsessed with the idea of making quilts, by afternoon I had bought my first round of fabric, by that night I had some layout ideas drafted, and by the next day I had them colored up and ready to roll. Last time the design process took for-ev-er, and while I do like that part, I also didn't want to over-complicate things this time. I'm working on being more decisive on things like this...trusting my gut and just figuring it out as I go. I'm probably way oversimplifying the entire quilting process, but I found it freeing to just go for it, and trust that it will work out.

So I went to the fabric store with a vague idea of what I wanted:
Coral, Yellow, and Black/White/Grey, in modern graphic prints...with maybe a bird or two mixed in there. (I haven't totally figured out the plan for the girls' room...which is another topic all together...but I do know I want to work in a lot of the stuff from Piper's nursery, so that's a least a starting point.)

Since I didn't have a quilt pattern in mind, I had no idea how much fabric I'd need, so I just winged it. (Is that the right past-tense of wing? I never know...I always want to say wung it. Anyway...) I put literally every appealing option in my cart, sorted by color, dragged them all up to the cutting counter, set aside anything that didn't seem to jive, and started ordering up. I followed an unscientific, and still totally unproven method of buying 1/4 yard of things I liked, 1/2 yard of things I really liked, and 1 yard of a couple I love. I'm sure that won't get the job done, but it was a decent start, and in the end, if I have some extra fabrics they can go back, and I can always (hopefully) find more of something if I need it.

So now for the hard part...Narrowing down all my quilt pin-spiration to my final choices. I decided even though I'm doing two quilts, I only want to do one design. This is partly so they match, but mostly because I think it'll be easier. I can do all the math/thinking one time vs. two. But- I do want the quilts to have a different front and back design, so that they can be switched up for different looks if the girls get sick of one side. So in the end I needed two designs: one for the fronts, one for the backs. And without too much agony, I landed on my favorite inspiration pieces:

There were a ton of other options I liked and considered, but in the end.....Simplicity won out. I know no mater how simple I try to make things, it'll end more complicated than I mean it to be, so I figure let's start with something as basic as possible, knowing that will be plenty hard.

Next, I messed around in Illustrator, working towards a final design. I used the three inspiration quilts as a jumping off point, trying to incorporate what I like about each of them into a final design that works as one cohesive piece. You can see it got a little crazy there, and some of the layouts didn't end up quite as simple as I planned. In the end, I deemed the versions on the left the winners.

Final planning step- fabric layout. This was tough...and I could have belabored it forever, but since I already had my fabrics, I just sat in a heap of it all, playing with possibilities until something felt right. I decided I wanted each quilt to have a neutral side, and a more colorful side, so that they're more versatile. I also landed on doing one more coral dominant, and one more focused on yellow. That way they coordinate, but don't literally match.

I still have some doubts, so it will unfold (or unravel?) as I go, but it's a starting point, and I'm choosing to move forward, trusting that if it's not 100% perfect, it'll still all work out ok. (I mean, worst case I cut some pieces I hate and have to redo them. Or I hate the whole thing in the end...doubtful, but a risk I'm willing to take).

I mocked up the finals in Illustrator again, making quick stand-in versions of the prints, so they require a bit of imagination compared to the real fabrics, but it's enough to help me visualize how it'll all work. And here's where I landed:

Quilt 1: Piper
Front & Back

Piper watched some of the process (and "helped" by taking taking 47 camera phone pictures of my feet) and decided she liked the pink one the that's hers. I still have my fears that she'll hate the whole thing and beg for something purple/covered in hideous characters, but I'm playing the long game on this and hoping I can convince her to value timeless design. Ha.

Quilt 2: Fin
Front & Back

I'm actually still struggling a little bit with Fin's. I'm shocked the grey side was the hardest for me to do! But again, I'm just trusting the process and figure it'll shake out to a good point somewhere along the line.

Up next...Measuring, cutting, and SO MUCH SEWING. Yep, it's all downhill (like a spiral) from here...

So did that glimpse into my madness scare you off from taking up quilting? Or maybe it's inspiring to watch someone with no clue go for it anyway? Join in! Share your project with #stitchittogether

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  1. You make quilting seem so do-able. I would imagine you'd need a sewing machine, right? I mean, hypothetically, if I wanted to try this.

    Also, winged/wung throws me off every.single.time. I'm kind of shocked at how often I need to use the past tense of "wing it."

    1. Aw, I'm glad my mess is at least a little encouraging! :)
      And yes...hypothetically, you'd need a sewing machine. Although- the planning and the cutting of the quilt actually tends to be just as time consuming, so it'd be totally possible to use a friend/family members machine. You could do all the prep work, and then just blitz out the sewing part in a few sessions when you had the time. Hypothetically, of course.

    2. sold me. I'm on board. I officially own a sewing machine. Now I just have to figure out how to quilt...gulp. Suddenly, I'm trying to remember everything I ever learned in home ec. I'm not sure I listened as well as I should have.

    3. YESSSSSSS do it!! Can't wait to see how it goes!

  2. I love the designs - so modern and fun. I've recently been in love with everything black and white - I'm especially eyeing up Cotton and Steel's new Black and White collection. Gorgeous prints!

    1. Ooooh, I love cotton and steel. Such good stuff!