Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friendship Quilt

I have been working on a small quilt -- curl-up-on-the-couch size -- for one of my children's classmates, who is going through a lot of health problems.   We wanted to do something nice for him as a class, so I thought of a friendship, or autograph, quilt.  As the name implies, friends sign a block and contribute that block to the quilt.

I do know how to sew and I have made quilts, BUT I have never made a quilt on a machine.  All my quilts have been made by hand.  This was a little out of my comfort zone.

I decided to use a brick pattern:  rectangles seemed to be a good size for signatures, plus the rows didn't have to exactly match up.  I don't have a rotary cutter, so I just made a template from a manila folder (about 5"x9") and cut out the fabrics -- enough muslin for the signatures, and the greens were all either fat quarters from Joann Fabrics or scraps I already had.

I took the muslin squares and a fabric pen to class and collected the signatures (instructing the signees to leave at least an inch margin -- some listened better than others ;)  Once I had those, I arranged the blocks in rows on the floor.  I sewed the blocks in each row together, end to end.  
Then I sewed the rows together until I had the top done.  To make the brick pattern, I had to stagger the rows, so some rows had six blocks, and alternating rows had seven.  
After it was all put together, I just trimmed down the excess block that stuck out on the sides.
I put batting in between, and for the backing I used minkee fabric, which is a textured polyester, very soft and cuddly, it feels a something like a supersoft towel.  The internet information on "sewing with minkee" was a little intimidating, especially since I had never quilted anything on a machine before, but I safety-pinned everything together fairly well and jumped in.

Minkee taped to the floor:
Batting laid over the minkee and trimmed to size:
Top laid on batting:
At this point I safety-pinned it, starting in the middle and working towards the edges.  I tried to evenly distribute all the safety pins I had (probably around 30).  It wasn't as closely basted as it might have been, but it worked.
I just quilted in the ditch (along the seam lines), starting with the middle rows and moving out.  I sewed the whole thing on my Singer 301, and I have to say despite my inexperience and working with a potentially difficult fabric, everything went off without a hitch.  This is a very capable sewing machine!
I used a brown print for the binding, and the only part I did by hand was sewing the back of the binding down. I washed it and everything came out beautifully.  The minkee feels really good.

While there is nothing particularly complicated about what I did, all of it was pretty new to me.  Be encouraged to jump in and try something new :)
My hope for this quilt is that it will be an encouragement and comfort -- both physically and spiritually -- to its recipient.


  1. Did you use a walking foot for the quilting?

    1. No, I didn't. I have a walking foot for my Singer 401, but I hadn't used it before and it kept messing up on me. No walking foot exactly fits the Singer 301, but I found that it worked great without one, so one less thing to worry about.

    2. You can find a walking foot on ebay or other shops online. Just google walking foot for singer 301 and a lot of options will come up.

    3. I am glad it worked so well. Nice job and nice quilt. I am sure the young friend will cherish it.

  2. An expert knows exactly what and how to do, Angela. ~smile~This will indeed bring much comfort to the young man, all he has to do is look at alll of the love that has been put in the quilt by his friends and of the loving hands that made it. What you did in making this quilt speaks volumes to me, of what true Christianity is. We are told to be doers of the Word and not only hearers, and you have exemplified this. The quilt is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  3. That's a very nice quilt, and I'm sure your child's friend will just love it. I really like all the green fabrics. Now you have confidence to make more quilts by machine. Great job!

  4. What a beautiful, meaningful, thoughtful gift! The recipient is certain to feel loved!

  5. This is such.a beautiful idea Angela and the result is fantastic! Love the greens contrasting with the pale muslin "bricks". Have never heard of minkee fabric but it looks just right to make a snuggly backing for a lap quilt. Very impressed that you mastered the machine quilting in one go. Like you I have only done handsewn patchwork and felt nervous of tackling machine quilting but you are changing my mind! Hope the recipient will find this a real source of joy in hard times - am sure he will. E x

  6. It is just wonderful...both the quality of the work, excellent, and the spirit and love behind it. I am sure he will be so blessed and encouraged in his journey...may we all look for ways to encourage others, and one of the best ways is a gift from our heart...this truly was.

    Happy 4th!!!!!!!!!!

  7. You're giving me inspiration. I'd really like to work on something larger than a table topper. I like the way you taped the piece down. That is a tip I can use.

  8. I always assumed my old machine wouldn't be adequate for sewing quilt layers together, but seeing your photos makes me think it would be worth a try -- and in theory I could make a lot more quilts. The last quilt I made I used minky for the backing and it is so cozy!
    Long ago when I was in churches among many childbearing women we used to make friendship quilts for every baby and sometimes for other occasions. It was always a challenge for the person sewing the pieces together, for one reason or another. I admire you for taking on the challenge.

  9. Ah, you used your 301 for this quilt! How lovely! They are wonderful machines! And, yes, I like the quilt too.


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