14 January 2010

the biggest (and best) gift i've ever given.

I finished the quilt. Okay, there, I've said it. It still makes my heart race a little bit...thinking about all the hours put into making something and then finally sending it off into the world and having the recipients absolutely love it. In fact, my friend arrived home last night from what sounded like a bit of a harrowing trip to find that her husband had already made up their bed with the quilt that had arrived while she was out of town and he was at home. Perfect.

First, a few words about the quilt itself. I first wrote about it here, and then here. I used this pattern, from Purl Bee. I made notes in this post about the sizing of the quilt- the pattern is
not for a queen size quilt so be sure to think about what size you are making before you start (I didn't). I ended up having to make a big border around the actual pattern, but I really like it that way, so I guess it all worked out for the better. I do wish that the quilt was a bit wider, allowing it to hang off the edge of the bed just a few more inches.

Aside from the sizing issue, I had absolutely no problems with this pattern. As a beginning quilter, I found it to be super easy. It's pretty much just a big series of rectangles. And that was right up my alley. The only part I even had to put any thought into was arranging the fabrics, and then keeping them all in the right order.

The pattern said nothing about the actual quilting of the quilt, since the woman who wrote the pattern sent it off to be quilted by "professionals." Since this was a gift for one of my oldest and bestest friends, there was no way in hell I was sending it off to someone else. And since my machine is definitely not big enough to handle a queen sized quilt, hand quilting it was. I followed the directions in the back of Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts for the basting and quilting techniques. I found those to be really helpful.

The quilting design I ended up with was pretty much just tracing the zig-zags of the fabrics, so it was pretty straightforward--just a bunch of straight lines. I really really enjoyed the quilting part of this project, and I'm super jazzed about doing more handstitching in the next few months. For the binding, I just used a variety of the fabrics from the pattern in the quilt top (and followed the instructions in the book for a double fold binding, it was like magic how it worked out so perfectly!)

During the hours upon hours that I spent working on this quilt, I found myself spending a lot of time reminiscing about all the crazy stories of me and Liz hanging out. I remembered all the times we spent together at summer camp (where we first met when we were just nine years old), then playdates at each others houses during the school year, then train rides back and forth to hang out in high school, traveling in Europe, then both ending up living in San Francisco, and then, finally, her wedding this summer.

As with all long-time, strong friendships, Liz and I have definitely had our good and bad times. But I know that my friendship with Liz is one of the strongest I could ever hope for. And as for how they like the quilt, well, I'm told that they haven't slept that good in a long long time.


  1. it's really really amazing. and beautiful. but the best part is the story of your friendship.
    makes me happy.

  2. Just beautiful! This is so wondrous. You should be really proud!

  3. Oh, it looks SO good! I abandoned mine over the summer and need to go back to sewing it again - seeing yours finished is definite inspiration!

    What a perfect gift. They will certainly treasure it always. So, so lovely.

  4. The quilt is almost as good as the story.

    What a loving friend you are, Julia.

    It looks awesome. This is such a great post-so glad that you have such a great friend in your life. That is so special. Happy Friday :)

  6. what a beautiful story of your friendship!
    and i think that's what gets me about hand-stitching... i feel like i really can put that love into every single stitch. it's a good feeling.

  7. I looove that quilt, Julia, you did it so so good!
    Liz is such a lucky person.
    What I liked the most was the last sentence of your post.

  8. what an amazing quilt for an amazing friend!

  9. That quilt is absolutely beautiful! Congrats on finishing it!

  10. It really is lovely. I adore the comments about reminiscing while you were sewing. Love in every stitch.