Thursday, February 05, 2015

Simple Fast Quilts

Several of you have asked about ideas for quick and easy quilts. And, while I am certainly no quilting expert - I will share my thoughts on simplifying quilts though purists will shudder I'm sure!

Three quilts each made in one day:
Christmas Quilt
Rainy Day Quilt {also shown here}
Summery Quilt

Quilt made in a weekend:
Celebrating Ten Quilt

More involved quilts {for comparison}:
Scrappy Patchwork Quilt
Fall Quilt
Memory Quilt

Even just in glancing through these posts - I can observe some similarities that make up the "simpler" quilts.

* Smaller quilts are faster! Obvious, yes - but if you are like me we can easily think it's no big thing to make it bigger. Consider what you want to use it for first. We like mostly throw size quilts because it is not cold here very often and we usually just need a little something not a furnace! The bigger quilts {like my Fall quilt} took a lot longer.

* Hand quilting adds exponentially large amounts of time. Also, super obvious - but I've never put these thoughts all together in one bigger thought. All of my simpler one day quilts were not hand quilted. To simplify and cut down on that time, either machine quilt {like the Christmas quilt, the Celebrating Ten quilt and the Proverbs 31 crafting quilt} or use ties {like the Rainy Day quilt or the Memory Quilt}. Both the Fall Quilt and the Scrappy Patchwork Quilt are hand quilted and they took me several months to finish. Honestly, I like the results equally on all three options and I think all three are sturdy.

* More piecing is a huge time addition! The bigger the pieces, the faster. I know, I am full of revelations you have never thought of! Ha. For the Celebrating Ten Quilt - seriously, the width of the quilt is the width of the fabric, we just cut large wide strips and sewed them together. Could not be easier. The Scrappy Patchwork Quilt in comparison will take hours to piece and sew all those strips together. Both are great and lovely in their own way. When I started the Christmas Quilt, I did not really have a vision but just sort of laid things out on my bed until I liked it - simple big squares ended up working really well and it has been nothing but cheery to me since then!

* Extra details will add time too - like on the Fall Quilt where I embroidered words onto squares. That had to be done even before the squares were pieced together and just thinking of the words, setting it all up and such - that added quite a bit of time.

* Simple finishing ideas:
- use a vintage sheet for the entire back - again, piecing adds time and if you like the look - keep it simple! Both the Proverbs 31 Quilt and the Rainy Day Quilt are one solid piece on the back.
- make the top and the back the same size, stitch on 3 1/2 sides and flip inside out; this is super fast and requires no binding; after flipping, just stitch up the opening. Rainy Day Quilt, Celebrating Ten Quilt, Memory Quilt and Scrappy Patchwork Quilt are made this way.
- another favorite binding is to make the back of your quilt larger than the top; leave enough edge to roll your hem and fold over the top and top stitch in place. You can see up close photos of this on the Proverbs 31 Quilt and I also did this for the Fall and Christmas Quilts. I have never ever made a separate binding for my quilt - so can't compare that option.

Here's the thing - to me at least, a homemade quilt is charming whether it took one day or one year. If you are happy with the colors, weight and results and it makes you smile it is a HUGE winner!!!!

Last week, I was in bed nearly all week with the flu and in addition to my quilt that is always on my bed, that Scrappy Patchwork Quilt was on me almost all the time and then the Christmas one too when I was still shivering. It was noticeable to me how cheering it was to have such cozy and happy blankets during such a low time of feeling miserable.

Quilts are happy, cozy, comforting, warming, homey, lovely texture, simple pleasure, snuggly, slow. I love quilts!!!!!

One last thought - I've started loving top stitching in quilts and pillows that are pieced together. It gives such a finished and polished look and makes the lines very crisp. I did this on the Christmas Quilt and also on these patchwork pillows.

Happy Quilting, friends! Questions or additional thoughts on making simple quilts?! Leave in the comments!


Angela said...

So cute! Do you have a how-to resource? Thanks!

Kendall said...

I have read your blog for a while and you have inspired me to CC, and slow down...but the secret to binding?! I have cut patches from my husband's old work clothes...sitting here waiting for me to figure out how in the world I will bind them! THANK YOU for easy binding cheats!! Keep inspiring :)

It's a Mom Thing said...

Monica, the house you stayed in in Savannah was featured this month in the BHG Refresh magazine. I thought it looked familiar. Too cool!!

Debra said...

I love your quilts. Especially that Christmas one. I wish I had the patience to make one (or more!). Maybe one day...

Shelby said...

I LOVE every single one of your quilts, absolutely gorgeous and the love the you poured into them shows. I guess I should maybe think about getting a sewing machine. Do you have any recommendations?

Mary Ann said...

I love your quilts! My question--about how much fabric is needed for one of the quilts with larger pieces? I just never know how much fabric to purchase.

I've come to terms with the fact that I'll probably not be the person that labors over really intricate quilt patterns. Both my grandmothers did this and we have some beautiful quilts! But squares and strips I can do.:-) I much prefer to freestyle it when it comes to simple patchwork.

Mom said...

What creative treasures these are! :) And it's nice that they are enjoyed regularly -

Love you! Mom

Unknown said...

If you made an ebook of all your simple quilt patterns with instructions, I'd buy it in a heartbeat, Monica. I have followed your blog for many years now and have loved your sewing projects. I even made an apron from your pattern years ago. I think I emailed you the photo of it. I still enjoy reading your blog. God bless you!

Andrea L.

heatherc said...

I did a search for "quilts" on your blog and came across this! I love your quilts and how easy you make it look! I was wondering if you use backing and if so, what size? Also do you use this "backing spray adhesive" I am seeing at stores? As you can tell I am a complete novice at quilting! Any (more) help you could give me would be so appreciated! P.S. I ordered your book on Amazon and cannot wait for it to come in!!
Thanking you in advance,
Heather C.

heatherc said...

Batting! I meant do you use any batting and what size? And do you use batting adhesive spray?

Monica Wilkinson said...

@heatherc: Hi! Yes on batting! Size depends on what finished sized you want the quilt. For my kids quilts, I usually use crib size which makes a great lap quilt; otherwise I will go with twin or larger. I do not use batting adhesive spray - haven't tried it. Instead, I use lots and lots of pins to hold everything in place until I sew it in place. Happy sewing and I hope you enjoy my book! Thanks, friend!