I'll get it out of the way: these photos are horrible. It was storming Thursday morning and super dark, and to make matters worse, my boyfriend lives in a cave. Not really, but a man apartment has pretty much the same amount of light as a cave.
My boyfriend is going on vacation to South Carolina this next week with his family. I was invited to go too, but Cornell is ruining my life* by starting classes on the 22nd. Life is full of these little disappointments, I suppose. Anyway, last week I was struck by the brilliant(?) idea to make him a beach blanket. I knew it needed to include Michigan State fabric, because that is his alma mater, and I saw this blanket's future life as a tailgate companion. The problem, of course, is that they do not sell Michigan State fabric in Nebraska, which is where I was until last Friday night. So I bought the other fabrics and cut the squares and binding strips before I left Nebraska.
*I know, cool it, Drama Llama. Cornell is only ruining my chance to lay on a lovely beach with my boyfriend reading non-challenging literature. Not my entire life. I guess.
On Monday afternoon, I bought the MSU fabric and cut those squares (with a really crappy pair of scissors, I might add). I wanted to surprise him with the quilt, so that meant my sewing time was limited to while he was at work. I took down my work station every day so he wouldn't suspect anything. Luckily, he's not that observant, and I just shoved my sewing machine behind a chair and he never noticed. :)
Fortunately, I had a lot of help during this sewing marathon.
On Tuesday afternoon, I sewed together the top. (There is something satisfying about sewing together those big squares! It took practically no time at all.) On Wednesday afternoon, I basted and tied the quilt. Thursday morning, before I left to drive from Michigan to New York (hahaha, I'm crazy) I sewed on the binding. I think the whole thing (less cutting) took me 8-9 hours--less time than it took me to drive from Michigan to New York.
There were some challenges with this quilt, in spite of its simplicity. One, of course, was keeping it a secret. But the other, biggest challenge was basting. Has anyone else tried to baste on carpet? It's a huge quilt and I had literally nowhere else to go. So I tried to safety pin the bottom layer to the carpet and work from there. It was not ideal, but since I tied it instead of quilting it, it worked well enough. I don't think it would make a tight enough baste for quilting though. I'm curious if anyone else has had experience with this.
This is also the first quilt I tied. I used perle cotton thread (size 3, I think.) I had no idea what kind of needles to use. I couldn't get the thread through the first tapestry needles I got, so those were out. I had also bought a package of "doll needles," which are about five inches long and look pretty dang creepy. The package said "ideal for tying quilts." I think "ideal" is overstating things, but they did get the job done. It took almost exactly two hours to tie the whole quilt, so it was relatively quick. (Thanks to Lyn for suggesting Connecting Threads' tutorial on tying!) I've decided I don't love the look of tying, but I think it probably has its time and place (such as a last minute beach blanket, for example.)
Unexpected downside of a tied quilt--boyfriend's cat thinks I crafted her a special toy of fun, dangling threads. Oops.
This was my first scrappy binding too. I love how it looks! I forgot to get a picture of it finished (and boy, was it a crappy binding--but I was in a hurry! Rebecca will be happy to know that my time constraints emboldened me to try binding without pins, and I actually think I'd do that again) but here it is laid out pre-binding.
It's a big quilt (80" x 80")! Maybe too big. :)
Anyone recognize the backing? It's an Ikea duvet cover. I didn't even undo the middle seam, I'm so lazy. I just cut three sides open, pressed the remaining seam, and pinned the whole thing to the carpet for basting. Voila! Instant backing.