Works in Progress - charity quilts

If you read my blog post from a couple of days ago, "Goal Check", you can see that I'm way behind on charity quilts for the year. It's not that I don't have the tops done (this batch is mostly donated tops) - I do.  I'm simply behind.  My goal is to finish an average of 10 per month - meaning, I should be right at 30 done for the year.  I've finished 10 so far for the whole year! I'd best get hopping!.

But, I've got some more in the works.  I wanted to show you how my brain works.

Since I'm working on 10 at a time, I actually do quilt a couple, trim them off and then bind them. I learned he hard way not to let 10 pile up for binding and then try to bind all 10 in one day. That's just boring. An no. folks, I don't hand bind. I don't hand do much of anything if I can help it.

Then, I wash them.  

I usually wash each quilt after finishing and like to wash them during our cheaper electricity (from 1 - 3 pm or from 10 pm and 6 am) or on the weekends. ( thankful for that as it enables me to run my machine all day Saturday no problem.  My fastest wash cycle is 1 1/2 hours long.) My machine only holds one at a time. I let them hang dry. I have 3 drying racks plus my table that I can dry them on.

So, let me share with you my WIP - only in this case, it is "works in progress".

First, I make sure I have 2 tops that are the right size ready to go.

I aim for a European single or double.  The singles are about 57"-60"x80" and the doubles are somewhere in the realm of 80"x80" or bigger. If I get one that isn't close to this, I add borders until it is.  I didn't use to do this but I saw that these are the best sizes for the people we give them to. If it has a kid theme, then I really only want the single size. I don't find most couples choosing a child themed quilt for themselves.

Second, I match up backings and place them together like this:

These are some European singles that are ready to sandwich. Each of these will be reversible since I'm using one big large piece of fabric I purchased here in Poland.

These are some European singles that are ready to sandwich. Each of these will be reversible since I'm using one big large piece of fabric I purchased here in Poland.

or this stack - these are ready to sandiwch  - but these are a double size.

IMG_4540 sm.jpg

I try to make sure I have at least two of these ready to go the day before I want to sandwich. So, today, I will make sure for tomorrow that I prepare the backings and tops I need fo tomorrow.  This means, I will press as needed between 1 and 3 pm (cheap time). Then I can be ready for right after breakfast tomorrow.

I  prefer to sandwich right after breakfast before I come up to work on the computer. (The computer seems to just swallow up huge amounts of time!)

I sandwich usually no more than 2 at any given session.  These smaller ones aren't hard to sandwich though - (European singles) so I can even do three in a session before tiring.  Then, I pile them up and try to tackle them as I can.  Sandwiching is emotionally a big hurdle for me. I don't enjoy it. It's tedious and not interesting to me.

If everything goes well, I can quilt one in an hour or an hour and a half - certainly not award winning quilting, but quilting that holds the layers together.

Then, I trim them and pile them where they wait for binding.  I really like using stripes for binding. It's a fun way to provide a bit of "pop" to these quilts and it uses that hard to use stripe fabric I have been given! 

I do that if I can. Otherwise, I tend to use scrappy binding in the colors that are part of the top. I can pull out of the bags of strips I have already cut - either 2.5" or 2" depending on the method I use.

I go with striped or scrappy binding that unless it is a very special top - then I will actually cut binding that is perfectly coordinated. 

I tend to create backings in bunches. I have some "misc. fabrics" that I can use to create the larger backings. I have about 10 more double size tops already made (donated by my friend in AZ) and ready to sandwich, but I want to make the backings for them. I went to my shelves and found this fabric that I can use.  It is kind of just thrown on the floor at the moment - as I'm thinking. Yes, I'm thinking. I'll try to make backings that either coordinate with the front, or at least don't clash!  I do improv piecing to make the backings for these.  

I've managed to find a bolt or two of fabric here in Poland that is nice and wide, and attractive. I'll use that as soon as I use these pieces up. 

I find if I take my large goal of 10/month and break it up into smaller chunks, I can do it. It's just like the Patch the Pirate song, "Little by little, inch by inch. By the yard, it's hard, by the inch, its a cinch".  (I put up a you tube link to it so you can hear it if you wish.)

Some of you think what I do is amazing. It's not. Not really.

I learned a long time ago, to break down big goals into manageable bites and nibble at them. Usually things are doable, but the key thing is, I have to actually get busy doing it.  There are people who say, "It's impossible to get all that done" while they drink their tea and relax. And maybe it is for them.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you. Even though my goal of 10 per month is "just a goal, not a life/death issue". I do want to try hard to meet it - at least until it gets too warm to quilt.  Then I'll probably just stack up and tops and backings until it turns cooler again. But we're not there yet.

Have a wonderful quilting day!  

While you are here, feel free to check out what goodies my sis has for you.



Becky Petersen3 Comments