Blame the recent radio silence on Day at the Beach, the super-basic Denyse Schmidt quilt that I just finished. As in, completely done. Quilted, bound, everything. Saturday night, I was up late with the sewing machine, figuring out how to get the binding on the top layer, and then I hand-sewed all day Sunday and for the next couple evenings to get it sewn onto the back. And then the following evenings were inevitably taken up with swooning over the finished product. More photos of the project here.
So what have we learned, class?
- Use cotton. I could blame the local fabric stores, but I'll take responsibility. In my overzealous ignorance, I bought a bunch of cotton-polyester blend and used it here in the black section. (Actually, it feels like some of the prints have a bit of poly in them, too.) Cotton feels so much nicer, and the Quilt Fascists would of course lynch me for even touching a synthetic fiber. Even so, I'll be damned if I use 100% cotton thread—mostly because I can't find it.
- Big chunks of fabric are a pain to cut. This pattern was an obvious choice for a beginner because the piecing is so simple. But measuring and cutting such enormous swaths of fabric is much harder than slicing up a pile of six-inch pieces. I needn't worry, though; I've plenty of small-chunk projects simmering in the brain.
- Binding is fun! The Mother said she liked doing it, but I thought she was mad. She may still be, but she's also right. I couldn't stop binding. If there'd been a child or small animal in the apartment on Sunday, I probably would have bound its lips together just because I could. My stitches aren't perfect, though I think I made a pretty decent effort for a first go (but see no. 4 below). Part of the delight was the binding fabric, which I'm really pleased with.
- Mitering corners is hard. I was warned about this. It'll take a few more quilts before I get it right.
- Don't use a sheet for backing. I thought I was being clever. Far from it. El cheapo sheet did have about the same weave as el cheapo cotton, but the sheet wasn't quite wide enough, so the finished quilt dimensions are a little weird (the top had to be cut to size). I could have pieced something else to the backing, but I was lazy and this was a learning project. So mission accomplished.
- Run a sweatshop. After the fabric-buying excursions in California, it's clear I couldn't afford to quilt were it not for the free labor of the Mother. Her machine-quilting service was quick and friendly, and the price, of course, could not be beat. She considered binding the thing herself; I'm glad she left the fun for me.
- There's nothing better than curling up under something you made yourself. Well, it might be better if the Other were here to curl up with under the quilt. Some day.