Friday, August 17, 2012

Go Green! Go White! Go to the Beach!

Hey! I finished something!

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.

 I left it on his bed for him as a surprise when he got home from work. He was very surprised and very happy with it! It turns out that guys don't really care if the binding is on exactly straight or not. Now I just hope it holds up on the beach! Also, a big thanks to everyone who weighed in on my last post with opinions/advice about tying!

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  1. It looks fab - I really like the old-fashioned look of binding. Pooh to Cornell ruining your beach-time. Here's to some relaxation with non-challenging literature in the future!

  2. Yay quilts for boyfriends! I love how fast you put it together. I'm from Michigan and I am neither a MSU nor U of M fan but I know a lot of people that might attempt to steal that quilt from you.

  3. Your boyfriend is lucky. And yes, someday you will have time to lay on the beach and read for pleasure!

  4. Looks great :) I'm looking forward to trying scrappy binding at some point. I have to baste on carpet in my house (only hard floors are in the bathroom and kitchen which are both tiny!) and it is pretty hard! Took me three attempts with my current quilt...

  5. I love your quilt!!! What a great surprise :)
    I baste all of my quilts on the carpet :) I make sure the back is pinned to the carpet well and taut...not stretched ;) I also make sure the batting and top are smothed down really well, then I use curved safety pins and pin the heck out of it ;) I have fmq'd 30 quilts like this and there have only been a few puckers in the whole lot ;) ..and most of my quilts are pretty big :)

  6. Good for you! Binding with pins is for the birds. And those more patient.

    I pinned my backing to my carpet with straight pins for that queen-sized quilt because someone suggested it to me once. I think I needed more pins for it to be effective, and we all know how allergic I am to pinning anything.

  7. Pity you missed the beach but Ttis is looking great!

  8. It looks fab, well done! My house is mostly carpeted, so I've had to use the carpet to baste and it usually is a pain in the bum. I actually took the last one into my friend's classroom and pushed loads of tables together to use as a flat surface :)
    Sorry that you missed the beach, and I hope that classes start well this week.
    PS - is that fabric actually produced by the university? Funky!

  9. A great quilt ... as a fellow spartan I love your fabric choices! And I really like your scrappy binding - it adds an additional layer of zest. And I can't imagine how fullfilling it felt to finish that large of a quilt in such a short time! I'll have to try tying a quilt soon.

  10. New follower here. You had me at Go Green Go White. Yeah Spartans. I moved to Kentucky three years ago for a job and I really miss seeing my Spartans play (Basketball, football, whatever). Nice quilt idea. I am anxious to see what your next project will be.

  11. Shame about the beach, but you still get a great quilt!

  12. That is so freakin awesome! My bf keeps asking when I'll sew him a Lions quilt.. maybe for Christmas! :) 80"x80" is a great size, and I love the binding! Guys like simple stuff too, so I think it's great you tied it like you did, and used big squares.

    Basting on carpet, yipes! That sounds like it might be tough. I have a spot where I fold back an area rug and do it on the wood floor... I'm probably scratching the hell out of it with the safety pins but I'll just let the future home owners worry about that.

    I can't believe how far you drive! I keep saying I want to take a trip up to the upper peninsula of Michigan, but it'd be at least a 5 hour drive, if not 8 to get to the good stuff. I'm inspired by your stamina - though I think you said you were a trucker in your past life so you've got me one upped. I think I must have been a cat. (Lazy..) :)