The day after Thanksgiving was the day I decided to go shopping, shopping in my fabric stash for seven possible fabrics for a quilt to give away to the Hurricane Sandy Quilt Relief Project. I’m not much for crowds, so shopping at my home and office sewing studios suited my personality. Plus, I wanted to give to this worthwhile project. I didn’t have time to sew during office hours—hmm, there was something about a TV show that occupied my day hours. My option was to sew every day, dedicating 30–60 minutes at a time.
A long time ago, I wrote books on 10-20-30 Minutes to Sew and another book on the same concept for quilting. (You can probably find these books on eBay.) Sewing during available minutes is how I am able to grab a few moments of sewing or quilting enjoyment during a busy day or week. Here’s how I went about the process.
Day One—Find Fabric:
I chose a quilt pattern from the book, Column Quilts. The inspiration for the quilt came from an old beach towel. (Read more about the original design in a previous blog.) Having made this quilt top before, I decided to create 13 columns instead of the 11 as I originally detailed. Why? I didn’t think I’d have enough fabric in my fabric inventory for the extra wide borders called for on the original pattern. Two extra columns would give me the needed width for a queen-sized bed and it wouldn’t be necessary to purchase extra fabric.
The process took about 30 minutes. Cha-ching, one job done!
Day Two—Press and Cut
There are two strip sizes in this version of a Column Quilt: 2-1/2″ and 5″. There was a lot of pressing and cutting. The process took 1-1/4 hours—75 minutes. So much for 30 or 60 minutes at a time!
The instructions give the yardage requirements. As a guideline, you’ll need approximately 1-1/4 yards of each fabric. Many of these fabrics were destined to be in this quilt. Here’s what was leftover from some of the fabrics—hardly anything at all!
Day Three—Piece the Segments for the Middle Column Strips
To create the middle section of each column, a 5″ strip is sewn to a 2-1/2″ strip. Then like all good strip quiters, I cut the sewn strips into pieces. Like the bumper sticker says, Quilters never die, they just go to pieces.
The process took 2 hours. It was an over achiever kind of day.
Day Four—Let the Piecing Begin
One of the reasons that I chose this quilt pattern is because it’s easy, really easy. Stitching columns instead of blocks saves lots of piecing time. There are 13 columns in the finished quilt—two of each color except for the single center column. Each set of columns took me about 60 Minutes to stitch and press. Here’s my first set of finished columns.
Day 5 thru Day 9—More Column Making
Whether it was before or after work, I stitched columns for the next five days. Sometimes sewing 30 minutes at a time, other times 60 minutes. Progress was being made!
Total time spent so far 11-3/4 hours.
It was fun to see the progress through photography. (I’m not showing all the photos, just a few.)
Since writing the book, I learned a new pressing tip. Initially I suggested to sew each column and then press. The downside is that the long strips sometimes “bowed” out of shape. This time I pressed after each stitching. Result? Straight columns!
Next, Sew the Strips Together—Day 10 & 11
The pressure was on, it was now around December 6th and I wanted to make sure that I sent this quilt to the sponsoring organization before Christmas. My goal was to sew it all myself. Well, it just didn’t happen. Sharen, on my staff, took over and stitched the 13 columns together. Thank you Sharen! Between stitching and pressing, the total time spent was 4 hours.
It’s a kinda wild-looking quilt top with a 70’s retro feel!
Border Time—Day 12
Remember, the “store” for this fabric was my fabric stash. The only fabric that was leftover was the large flower print. After auditioning the large print fabric, it worked for the border, but needed an inner border to separate the prints. Off to a real store to buy the turquoise.
The cutting of the borders took about 30 minutes and piecing another 60+ minutes, really about 80 minutes. (I tried to stay within the 30 or 60 minute concept; it didn’t always work.)
Friends Make Light of Work—Day 13 & 14
Susan Petruske, a friend and longarm quilter was called to do the actual quilting process. Sue is an expert in her field. Just look at the back to see the perfect stitching. This part of the process didn’t fall into the 30 or 60 minute time frame!
The Final Steps: Binding and Adding a Label
Sharen took over again and added the binding, plus she digitized and stitched the label. My time restriction was called off since we wanted to mail this before December 12. Time spent on the final steps, about 3 hours.
We were really pleased with the final result.
Update from Hurricane Sandy Quilt Gather
Victoria Findlay Wolfe, organizer of Bumble Beans BASICS hurricane quilt gather, told us recently that they received 1,500 quilts in three weeks! Now, they’re focusing on delivering those quilts. Although, they are no long accepting quilts for Hurricane Sandy Victims, her quilt gather will just continue and be donated to others in need. Find out more at Victoria’s blog.
Every state in every community needs quilts. Big or small consider making a quilt by yourself or with others. Trust me, it’s more fun stitching with friends!
For another quilt pattern, you could also use the Quilt to Give instructions, they’re available online.
The Gift is in the Giving
There’s a wonderful feeling that comes with sending away a quilt—or another project—that’s been sewn with love. My challenge that I give myself each year is to stitch a project, it can be big or small, and give it away to someone I’ll never meet. The giving process does a heart good.
Bye for now,