What, Me Quilting?

It’s 6 am, and I’m ironing.
What is wrong with that sentence? EVERYTHING.

Let me back up. Why am I ironing? There’s no point trying to hide it anymore. I was…I was…quilting. Oh, the shame of it! I have strategically avoided everything near quilting for years. It’s my mother-in-law’s chosen craft, for starters, and I don’t want to step on any toes. (Don’t I have enough crafts?) There’s the problem of straight lines and me being the least perfect match since Sid and Nancy. And the not insignificant fact that I know nothing of quilting.
It all started with a blanket. (doesn’t it always?) We had one of those machine knitted blankets on our bed, the kind you can purchase at any Target for 14.99. It’s our summer blanket. However, this summer it had become a mess. Something to do with pugs jumping up on it, and jumping off of it, and their little curly crochet hook claws dragging huge holes in it.
It was time for a new summer blanket. Of course, a new knitted one was right out. So was microfleece. (Dan hates the texture.) Regular fleece was a possibility, but I work with fleece all the live long day. I longed for something different.
Enter the idea of the thin quilted blanket. Of course, I wasn’t calling it a quilt then. I was still in denial. My thoughts were: I had fabric. I like to use what I’ve got. Why NOT make a giant quilt? (I’m four and a half months pregnant. This is as much thought as I’ve put into anything lately.)
Everything went really well for awhile. Hundreds of little squares were carefully cut, and then carefully stitched into long strips. I even used the seam guide things on the sewing machine! And there was ironing. Lots of ironing. I was doing everything right. As far as I knew, anyway.
Things started to go awry when those long strips needed to be attached together. Not a single one lined up with another. Despite the hours of careful, painstaking cutting and piecing, it appeared that every “perfect” square was a slightly different size. Sometimes a very different size. I still don’t know how this happened. Clearly, there was to be no reconciliation between me and straight lines.
What could I do but continue? I hate unfinished projects, so I plowed on. Many hours later, the finished quilt top, while hardly perfect, was actually sort of charming. (I have a huge tolerance for imperfection.) But now what?

Stay tuned for part two…the finishing.

About Claire

Absolutely Small is textile artist Claire Chambers. Claire Chambers is a crazy-pants artist/crafter who spends most of her time indoors, very near to Portland, Oregon. She likes making people laugh, chickens and pugs, and writing about herself in the third person. She is utterly obsessed with making things out of fabric.


  1. It looks great! The slightly mismatched collumns just add character. Im sure there will be plenty of perfectly square quilts fashioned by grandmotherly hands coming your way in the future, an inevitable future im afraid. Your quilt will be a hundred times cooler by default. looks nice and big, you should make me one!

  2. Absolutely Small says:

    Thanks Alex! Character…yeaaah. That sounds good, let's go with that.

  3. Haha, I work at a fabric store and the pressure from the Quilting ladies is enormous. I'm starting to convince myself that it doesn't really matter if all the doohickeys and squares are perfectly aligned, especially because once it's washed and possibly quilted, all that tidy perfection loses some of it's crispness anyway.

  4. Absolutely Small says:

    That's a good attitude to have!
    It makes sense that the quilting ladies would be laying on the pressure. Anyone who can handle that many straight lines and get them to line up properly is no doubt a force of nature! Er…science? Math? Something strong.

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