So, if you didn’t already know this, I am a huge fan of Elise Blaha. I loved her first quilt and watched her make her 2nd, and then 3rd quilt and became inspired to make one too.
(source: Blue is bleu)
I couldn’t get this equilateral triangle+striped binding quilt out of my mind and decided that someday, I would make one too.
Well, that catalyst to get it done finally came when Elise had a sew along for quilts in the form of:
And yes, I finally got it done. It took a few nights of late-night sewing but I’m so happy to call it done.
Lesson 1. Throw any expectations of perfection out the window.
This is my first quilt. And I am horrible at measuring + cutting straight.
The phrase ‘measure twice, cut once‘ doesn’t apply to me. I could measure a gazillion times and still not cut or measure correctly. Case in point, I calculated the number of triangles I would need based on the height and width of my desired end product but somehow, I still ended up with 50% more triangles than I meant to. Oops.
The triangle tips also didn’t really match up. I started to get the hang of it midway down the quilt but till then, I was trying to figure my way around. Still, looking at the big picture, it was decent.
Lesson 2. Shortcuts in cutting.
I found this tutorial for cutting equilateral triangle quilts. It’s really for smaller blocks of triangles but the method still works scaled up. My cut triangles were around 5.5″. I think this method helped half the number of cuts I had to make + 1/3 of the sewing was already done by the time I was done cutting. So yay. I had read that a equilateral triangle template would expedite the process, but it was going for $10.99 at my local Joanns and so I decided to wing it with my existing rotar ruler using this tutorial. I also pieced the triangles together using this tutorial.
Lesson 3. Do not try to baste the pieces together on a carpeted floor.
I had thought that sewing the quilt top together would be the hardest part. But heck no. That was in no way the hardest part. Seeing the quilt top come together was really satisfying for me. I read multiple sites on how to baste the pieces together. On my first try, I used the ruler/ yard stick to smooth out the backing, batting and top on my carpeted floor and pinned them all together with safety pins every few triangles and happily started quilting. Several lines in, I turned my quilt around to see that the back was all messed up. I don’t mean puckered at the seams, but bunches of excess cloth that were impossible to ignore. I had to unpick all the lines. I then read this method of taping the backing down and then basting from there. I smoothed and taped the backing down to my carpeted floor, and then repeated with the backing and top. Less excess cloth this time round, but still in no way acceptable. I finally read a site that suggested doing it on the table. My dining table is tiny, and so I basted section by section and rolled the basted and pinned sections tightly. This time it worked.
Lesson 4. Making friends with the walking foot.
I was lucky my basic machine came with the walking foot attachment. It made quilting easier but the huge amount of cloth made it a beast to finagle through the machine. I ended up with wildly crooked lines with uneven stitch lengths on my first try (and here I was using a nice gold accent thread) and accidentally sewed different parts of the quilt together on the back. I later learned that it helps to support the quilt on my shoulder, never have more than 1/2 the quilt under the arm of the machine and to go nice and slow. No tugging / pulling of the fabric. That helped. Still, it was hard and after quilting the horizontal lines, I gave up on quilting the diagonal lines and called it done. I’ve got to move on to the other projects on my nesting to-do list but if you have any tips, please let me know.
Lesson 5. Faux binding rocks.
I am all about shortcuts. I read about the faux binding technique in which you fold the excess backing fabric over to the front and decided to try it. I wanted striped binding like my inspiration quilt. I used a striped/herringbone-ish flat sheet from a sheet set from Target (not available online) and followed the tutorial to a T. Sewed the binding down using the machine instead of by hand and loved the end result. I will definitely be using this technique again on subsequent quilts.
All in all, I’m deliriously happy to have gotten this done, thanks to Elise. It’s been an item on my to-do list for way too long and it’s not too bad for a first try, me thinks. Next time, I’m scaling down to baby size quilt.