Lately I've had customers tell me that their budgets are getting too tight to continue to bring me tops to quilt. When they pick up their finished quilt they tell me it will be a long time before they can afford to bring another one. My prices are not really high... the economy just stinks!
These customers do understand..... I can't charge less than I am and still pay my own bills but.... I can do something to help these customers continue to make quilts. I can show them a cheaper alternative and hope they remember me when their budget allows them to get another one quilted in the future. So far; I am not hurting for customers but it does make me real sad to loose anyone because of money issues.
This post is for my customers and friends who may want to continue to make quilts but can't afford to pay a machine quilter for awhile. Hopefully, I will see you when the economy gets better.
I wanted to use the blue jean fabrics squares I had in my stash for a long time. I don't remember where these came from. They were in some donations at some point in time. I could have just sewn the squares together to make a quilt but I wanted something different. I wanted a little more pizazz than just plain squares. So I cut out 6 1/2 inch circles. I found I had 48 pieces.
This quilt started out as a Robbing Peter to Pay Paul quilt. That's an old time pattern made with circles and squares of fabric. It doesn't require batting or backing to complete the quilt. It could be called a money saver summer quilt. Maybe that's where the name come from. Traditional summer quilts didn't have batting and this one doesn't need a backing.
Next I took half the circles and marked a 4 1/2 inch square on the front of the fabric with permanent marker. I used a piece of cardboard to make the square template for marking. Why mark only half? Well, I didn't want to spend time trying to match up marked lines from one circle to the next. If one has marks and the next doesn't then there aren't any markings to match. Why mark on the front of the fabric? You'll see in a moment.
I pinned a marked circle to an unmarked one.... wrong sides together. Not right sides as normally is done when piecing fabric.
Next... I sewed on one side of the drawn square. Then I opened the seam and pressed it really flat with plenty of steam. See... this hides the marked line on the front of the fabric.
Let me explain.... in traditional robbing Peter to pay Paul quilts the square would be drawn on the wrong side, right sides would be sewn together, the arc folded toward the back of the fabric, and a small piece of fabric placed inside the arcs to hide the back side of the fabric.
I decided to just use the plain denim without the extra squares of fabrics and I decided to do some decorative stitching with various colors of thread instead of a traditional blanket stitch. So this is what came next.... some colorful decorative stitching.
This was a great opportunity to empty some bobbins. I used the M size bobbins (from the quilting machine) as spools on my domestic machine. Then used up most all the small bobbins with just a bit of thread on them. If I ran out of color on an arc I just changed colors anyway. I like the scrappy look even in threads.
Here I have the next seam line stitching done in the row and ready for decorative stitching. I was careful that I put another unmarked circle with one that is marked. I had to also be careful that the circles form a straight row. It would be too easy to get the rows going crooked.
When I had the rows sewn and started putting rows together.... I discovered this problem. I wanted to have a straight line to follow but the unmarked circles in the row didn't have one.
So I marked one to follow. No, I would not change the way I started with only half the circles marked. This is much easier to mark after the rows are sewn together. I was careful that the sewing line matched up at the intersection.... otherwise the quilt would have a hole in it there.
And here the rows are being sewn together. Denim gets heavy so I did the decorative stitching as I put the rows together instead of waiting until it's finished. Also, if you are doing a really large quilt like this it would become hard to handle as the stitching is done.
Here are more of the rows sewn together. I really like this quilt! I wish I had more denim squares so I could make it larger.
Ok, this isn't the finished quilt but close enough for you to get the idea. When I get these sewn together I will fold up the side pieces and do the decorative stitching along the edge. No binding required either. It's just the right size for a baby to lay on when they are learning to turn over and Moma puts them on the floor.
I hope you like my idea of an alternative quilt.