Yesterday, while I was sewing blocks of fabric into the strips that are going to make up my friend’s baby quilt, I realized that the design needed “something”. After staring at it for a long time and from multiple angles, I finally decided that it needed a boarder to bring it all together. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan on a boarder, so I didn’t have enough fabric.
I lay my pieces out on a table and start roaming the quilting section for just the right fabric to bring the whole thing together. As I am wandering, many people offer me welcomed advice. Finally, I choose a fabric and was about to pack everything up, when a women asks me a seemingly innocuous question, but one that I had been dreading. “Why is my backing basted to the quilt batting already, when the top is still in pieces?”
Of course, most of you have no idea what this means so I will explain. When you quilt, traditionally you piece a top together, than you “quilt” it together with the batting and the backing, creating a sandwich. Now there is a lot of controversy in these two steps, and many consider themselves purists.
Like vegetarian and vegan, one set of pure doesn’t even encompass the purists. There are people who piece each individual bock together by hand, and then stitch the sandwich together by hand as well (these are the vegans of quilting); and there are people who will use a sewing machine to stitch the blocks together, but will stitch the sandwiches together by hand (these are the vegetarians). Now your meat eating sinners do the whole thing with a sewing machine.
I am going one step further, and am doing the piecing and quilting at the same time (basically the eating equivalent of a diet consisting of trans fats and processed food). How this works is I am piecing the blocks into strips and then sewing the strips onto the sandwich, so that I don’t have to go back over and quilt the layers together.
Now, I understand the look of abstract horror of the women’s faces when I explained what I am doing. I am normally a very dedicated “vegetarian” quilter. I love the comfort and quietness of hand quilting (but I like to get the piecing done as quickly as possible). As enjoyable as this is, it seems like an awful lot of work to do for a pattern that is modern and funky. Not to mention that I want this quilt to actually be used, and a little boy is hardly likely to care exactly how many hand stitches I made as much as he is going to enjoy the colors and pockets that I am putting into it.
One of my aunts received a beautiful hand worked baby blanket for her little girl, and it has spent most of its time in a box so that said little girl won’t mess it up. I make quilts because they are an expression of warmth and home, they are totally unique, and they are a work of love. Let me tell you, there is no greater compliment to a quilter than to see a very well-loved children’s quilt.
More on my funky baby quilt: