Or, how I spent a few months changing my mind a lot
Pretty much as soon as I got the invitation to my dear friend Cara's wedding, I knew what I would be giving her and her husband, Matt: a quilt. Yes, I quilt often, and I always have at least one project in the works, but that does not mean that every occasion calls for a quilt. Many hours and a lot of material goes into each one, and that's once I've decided the direction its going. I've never made a quilt as a wedding gift before. But Cara always gushes and makes a point of complimenting me on previous projects I've worked on, so right off the bat, I thought she was someone who would value an original from me. So that is what she got, whether she really wanted it or not! (I think she was pretty excited, so it's all ok!)
I definitely didn't want to make anything bed-size, because I would never reach my hand that far into a couple's life together -- I'll stay in the living room. It was to be throw-size, and had to be modern, because that's what Cara always seemed to appreciate most about my quilts. I wanted to ask her more about what elements of my other quilts she loved, but I also didn't want to give anything away ahead of time, because I didn't want her feeling guilty or anxious about my gift. Also, I happen to know she hates surprises and is really good at figuring them out ahead of time, so I wanted no clues lingering around in her mind.
The first concept I had for her quilt was to make the modern squares in the Sew, Mama, Sew Modern Block of the Month Quilt Along, because I discovered it sometime in June and adored their clean lines. I even made about five of the blocks, before I decided that what Cara loves most about my other quilts was that they were not in quilt-block form--the traditional block form that many people associate as the building blocks of a quilt. Here I was making my first block quilt -- well, that would not do at all.
Back to the drawing board. I flirted with a large-scale four-crosses design, taking inspiration from Denyse Schmidt's series of Four Crosses quilts. I love their intentional flaws and inconsistencies. I still want to play with this someday. But after these two ideas, I already had all the fabric, but still could not commit to what would be good, what would live up to Cara's expectation for a modern quilt. (I hope I'm not making her sound difficult -- she's a ridiculously gracious and unpretentious woman.)
I saw a baby quilt with this design on Pinterest one day, and jumped almost immediately. I think I was working on it the very same night. Their quilt was born! I used large pieces of card stock paper to make the pattern pieces, the same curve for each of the four quadrants. I wanted the final product to be 60" x 60" so I aimed to make each square 30" x 30."
After I made the quilt front, everything came together easily, and I love every part of it. I adore the chevron fabric that is the backing; I am very pleased with the straight-line quilting lines pattern I crafted on my own, that follows like curves of the design itself. And for the binding, I purposely went out of my comfort zone, because I so admire other quilts I see where they've gone entirely unexpected for the final border. Vivid orange houndstooth -- it could not have been a more perfect match, and perfect for my colorful friend.
I must also add that during the making of this quilt, my cat Beatrix could not get enough of it. It would be a safe assumption to say that anytime I wasn't working on it, she was sleeping on it. So even though I was thoughtful enough to wash all the cat hair off, I was delighted that my fellow cat-lover Cara would be receiving some love from me, and also from little Beats. And when I told her this, after she returned from her honeymoon and reached out to thank me, she was as excited about it as I'd suspected she might be.