My Cheap, Fast and Practical Quilt
We needed a new blanket for our king size bed. We had been using the quilt my grandmother made as a wedding gift 25 plus years ago and it was finally coming apart. New puffs of stuffing appeared every morning out of openings where the fabric was thin and worn.
Never fear! I was taking a quilting class from my good friend Cathy. As a result, I made a quilt for the first time using all the proper cutting and sewing techniques!
I used a disappearing nine patch pattern consisting of scrap material that I already owned supplemented with some fat quarters from the local thrift shop.
Unfortunately, since it was my first quilt I made it small, intending it for a different use. It worked for a while on the king bed, but had its disadvantages.
So I set off on my own to make a bigger quilt. My requirements were as follows.
- Cheap: It should not cost more than a store bought quilt.
- Quick: A subset of cheap. Time is money. Plus I didn’t want to wait years before it was finished.
- Practical: The quilt was not a gift and it was going to spend its life hidden between the sheet and the bedspread. I wasn’t going to knock myself out trying to craft a fabulously original design. Nor was I going to nit pick every stitch to perfection.
I decided to make a jelly roll quilt, but with my own scrap fabric (much of it left over from the previous quilt). I googled how to make a king size jelly roll quilt, and it was easy and straightforward.
I was inspired by the jelly roll quilts I have on my Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/prvashaw/quilt-patterns/. I was planning on doing a cat silhouette applique like some of those designs, but decided my finished quilt was busy enough.
The one wrinkle was that I cut my strips in various lengths. Because they were not all the same length, I ended up having to do a lot of extra measuring to make sure the finished product would turn out the right size.
By the time I finished I had reached all my objectives:
- Cheap: the entire quilt top was made of scraps I already had. The backing, batting and thread were bought when I had 50% off coupons.
- Fast: Because the strips were different lengths, I wasted some time measuring. Otherwise, the sewing was repetitive (which made it seem longer) but was really quick and easy.
- Practical: It fits the bed perfectly. When I’m sewing, I become aware of every tiny problem and error that gets sewn into the fabric. When I was machine quilting, my “stitch in the ditch” seemed more like “stitch back and forth across the ditch like a drunken heron.” Nevertheless when it was done, it looked much better than I expected. I washed it and have it on the bed now. Just right!
I bought four spools of gold/brown cotton thread that matched the color of the backing fabric for doing the machine quilting and binding. When I finished the last bit of sewing on the binding, this was the amount of thread I had left over:
Had to laugh at the near perfect amount of thread for the project! To be fair, there was also some leftover thread on the bobbin, but not much.
I post this quilt as encouragement to all beginning quilters. Everything on the internet looks so perfect and seems so daunting. Nevertheless, something nice and useful can still be made with a minimum of skill, money and time. Let’s see if this quilt will last us another 25 years!