A Farmgirl Quilting Challenge

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These are quilts I’ve made through the years, as well as a couple vintage ones passed down to me from family and friends.  I keep them scattered throughout my house.

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As so often happens between us Farmgirl Bloggers, our minds are on the same things!  I was writing the post for this week (in my head, as that is how my writing starts) and then I read the Suburban Farmgirls’ post on her friend and her quilts.  And I had to just start laughing as my post for this week is also on quilting.  Instead of changing course mid-stream, which I almost did, I decided there must be a reason we are on the same track.  So the writing continued… and hopefully you other Farmgirls will take inspiration from both Nicole’s and my posts and jump into this quilting frame of mind with us!

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This quilt I made for daughter when she graduated from high school.  I hand quilted it with the help of my mother and my two best girlfriends.  It is a treasure.

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In the late summer last year, I decided that no matter what, this winter I was going to make a quilt (or two or three!).  I’ve made numerous quilts in my life and I will not kid you into thinking they are quick and easy.  But there is something so very satisfying about starting and finishing a quilt.  From choosing a pattern, to purchasing the fabric, to the cutting, sewing and quilting.  Every step is vital in the beautiful end result.

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To this day, the above quilt is one of my favorites that I’ve made.  I made it for my grand-daughter for her 2nd birthday.  She is almost 8 now and it is still on her bed and still just as beautiful.  I did not hand-quilt it.  After I got it all pieced I paid someone to machine quilt it for me.  

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So here is my challenge to you, my wonderful Farmgirl friends!  Let’s make a quilt!  I decided that a great way to keep myself motivated when this quilting journey gets long and hard is to do it together.  So, my plan is to do a blog post here in six weeks sharing my progress on my quilt(s).   What I would love to do is also share your quilting journey.  If you have the courage to take the challenge along with me, you can email me pictures as your progress goes and I will share them on my blog post here in six weeks (March 18th).   Remember that a “quilt” doesn’t have to be for a bed.  It can be a baby quilt, a lap quilt for the recliner, a tiny quilt to hang on the wall, or as small as a one block quilt for a potholder!  If you can sew; you can make a quilt!  (This challenge is for accomplished quilters too, not just beginners!)

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One of the wall hanging quilts I’ve made, tacked in an old window and propped on top of my refrigerator cabinet. 

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So now I’d like to share the start of my Winter 2016 Quilting Journey!  (It needs a name to make it official right?!)

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Flannel and Denim for my son’s quilt!

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I decided to start with three quilts.  They are not full size.  Two of them are what I am calling “Couch Quilts” – basically 48″ x 68″.  One is for my son and the other is for my daughter-in-law.  I had a pile of old blue jeans that I cut up (yikes) to use along with some flannel for my son’s quilt.  And I purchased what is called a Jolly Bar in the quilting world and it is pre-cut fabric in 5″ x 10″ rectangles.  Amazing huh?  I found the perfect flannel Jolly Bar for his quilt and the pattern I am using is called Brickroad.  Getting the pattern figured out, the fabric purchased and the denim cut in 5″ x 10″ rectangles was a big job in itself.  I’ve completed that and set it aside for now.

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My daughter in law loves blue and so I narrowed my focus down to blues and found what I feel is the perfect fit for her.  It is a fabric line called Cold Spell and I was able to find it in pre-cut 10 inch squares, called a Layer Cake!  I am not following a pattern for her quilt, as I decided to sort of wing it by cutting some of the squares into triangles and leaving some of them square and sort of figuring it out as I go.  I’m making hers first.

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I laid all the squares on the floor where I could really get a good look at the prints, shifting things around until I got the perfect weird random look I wanted and then I decided which ones I wanted to make triangles and which ones to leave square.  Once that was finished, the sewing started.

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I sew with a very careful consistent 1/4 inch seam as I’ve got corners that need to match up exactly, which can be very tough if you aren’t consistent with your seams.  Keeping my iron and iron board handy to my machine it is a constant juggle between sewing, pressing my seams, and sewing again.  (And yes, I have an old Bernina sewing machine that works as good today as it did when I bought it brand new 25 years ago!)

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Completed quilt top.  Now to move on to the backing, batting, and quilting.  Although honestly, after looking at this picture I think it needs a border around it!  

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It really didn’t take much time at all to get her quilt top finished.  Next in the journey will be the batting, backing, quilting and binding.

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Bon Bon Bebe fabric… have you ever seen anything so sweet?

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And the third quilt I’m going to be working on is a baby quilt.  I have a very close young friend that is having a baby girl in March.  I’ve determined that this quilt needs to be very special, as hopefully it will be hers for life.  So, I’ve been on the pattern and fabric hunt for weeks.  I finally found exactly what I wanted.  I have not begun this quilt yet, but I did get my fabric purchased.  Isn’t it absolutely lovely?  I can’t wait to dive into this beautiful fabric stack!

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My grand-daughter, Jillian.  Her first doll quilt made mostly by her! If she can do it, you can do it!

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So, a few pointers to share for those of you that want to follow along on this challenge with me and are new to quilting.  I am by no means what you would call a “quilter” but these are a few things I have learned along the way.

 

1)  Use quality 100% cotton fabric.  It really does make a difference.  You can get “cheap” fabric but after all the time, work and money involved you will want your project to last!  It also makes the whole process easier when you are working with quality fabric.

2)  Use good thread!  I use 100% cotton thread.

3)  Same thing with your quilt batting.  All three of the quilts I’m making will likely be washed a lot and so I want batting that will not get lumpy through the years.  I purchased Quilters Dream Natural Cotton.

4)  Start very simple. Find patterns that are for beginners.  Even the simplest of quilts are positively gorgeous.  In choosing a pattern, it is great if you can use patterns that are geared towards pre-cut fabrics.  There are many sizes and styles.  Cutting fabric for piecing can be very tricky for the beginner as the pieces must be exact.  So these pre-cut fabrics are an amazing invention!  They also make it less expensive because there is no waste.

5)  If you have a local quilt store, shop there.  And talk to them.  Quilters are amazing and are always so willing to help answer questions, point you in the right direction and help where they can.  I’ve also discovered that with there being so many online quilt stores, keeping a quilt shop open is very difficult.  So I give my local quilt shop my business as much as I can.

6)  A great source of learning are YouTube videos.  My favorite quilting ones are found on the Fat Quarter Shop YouTube channel here.  They have all sorts of videos for the beginning quilter with easy patterns that use pre-cut fabrics. They also have videos for every step of the quilting process.  And if you do not have a local quilt shop to purchase from, I do recommend purchasing your fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop here.

7) Start small, start simple, enjoy the journey, embrace the mistakes, keep going, expect it to take longer and be harder, allow help if you need it, don’t get frustrated with the amount of time it takes, and then?  Celebrate!

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Remember, your quilting project can be as simple as four little squares sewn together to make a coaster.

So are you ready to take the challenge?  Lets do this together!  You can email your pictures of your progress to me at redfeedsack@gmail.com.  Even if all you have to document your progress are pictures of your local quilt shop, send it!  In six weeks we’ll have a quilting story to tell!

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The quilt I made my daughter when she graduated high school was signed by the special people in her life.  It truly tells a beautiful story.

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Most of all remember that making a quilt is kind of like our walk in this life.  It is a journey.  Not to be rushed, but to be savored.  Not to be discouraged in the tough times, but to be thankful for the ups and downs that make us what we are.  Not to compete with what others are doing, but to enjoy our own milestones.  Not to beat ourselves up for mistakes, but to appreciate how far we’ve come.   You won’t ever regret the time it took to make your first quilt!  Let me hear from you!

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Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.

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Dori

Leave a comment 37 Comments

  1. Karen Hopkins says:

    I’m up for the challenge and have many yards of fabric just waiting to be used!

  2. Cheryl says:

    I love, love your fabrics! I have several quilt projects going and my house proves it. I made a baby quilt for a shower and it was the ‘hit’ of the party! I forgot to take a pic. I will try to take some pictures of quilts I have being making this winter.

    • Cheryl says:

      I have never posted pictures on a blog and cannot figure out how. I have tried denting you my quilt projects but …. How? Cheryl

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Cheryl,

      I’ve discovered that homemade gifts at showers (especially quilts) are always so special. And yes… please do email me some pictures of quilts in progress!

      And on that note… you won’t be able to post to the blog. Only I can do that. However, if you email them to me then in 6 weeks when I do an update on our quilting progress then I will include your pictures. Email any pictures to me at: redfeedsack@gmail.com. I’m starting a file saving all the pictures emailed to me. Thank you!!

      – Dori –

  3. Bonnie ellis says:

    Your blog is just right up my alley. I love making quilts. I am going to start on Lori Holt’s vintage farmgirl designs. I am also designing and will be making the 125th Anniversary quilt for the Minnesota State Parks and Trails. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Bonnie,

      Oh I LOVE Lori Holt’s vintage farmgirl blocks. I have been meaning to purchase the book. I must do that.

      And designing the 125th Anniversary quilt? OH MY WORD. Please, please send me pictures!!!

      YES! Keep me posted!

      – Dori –

  4. Bonnie B says:

    Hi Dori! From a fellow quilter – this is a great post. Your quilts shown are beautiful and it’s wonderful that you are fostering that desire in your little grand girls. I encourage both my granddaughters to quilt and they did for awhile. Sadly they are now 20 and 16 and involved with life (as they say). But I have hopes that one day they may want to take it up again! Your suggestions for quilting are “right-on”. You have covered everything I can think of as well – except one last thing, and that is to always sign, date and give the city & state. You may also want to list who it is for and what occasion. It will be beneficial for whomever finds that quilt many, many years later to have a history of it. That was the first thing we were taught in the quilting guild I was in for 20 years.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Bonnie,

      Thank you SO MUCH for commenting and for your words. I so hesitated to write this post because like I said, I do not consider myself a “quilter”… but it is something that I so desperately want to see done and continued. It is an art that is going to be lost if we don’t foster it!

      And YES… signing and dating is so important. On my quilting journey follow-up post in 6 weeks, I will be sure to talk about that. I have many old quilts passed down to me and I don’t know the history of them at all and this would be so lovely. Thank you for that reminder.

      Your grand-children will remember what you taught them and they will come full circle. I know, because I did! :-)

      Thank you again Bonnie!

      – Dori –

  5. JoniBug says:

    I like this challenge! Thank you.

  6. Krista says:

    This is a fun challenge. I made my first and only quilt 11 years ago. The fabric I choose was super thick and hard to work with. But in the end it turned out wonderful. I have wanted to make a smaller baby quilt but keep talking myself out of it. It turns into a battle in my mind. I will walk past the perfect fabric to make the baby quilt with; I’ll pick it up, then talk myself out of it and put it back down. This time I should just buy the dang fabric and make one already! I will certainly attempt this challenge with you but I am not making any promises!

  7. Marilyn Collins says:

    Good luck with your quit. I would love to learn to make a quilt. Jillian is a talented young lady. Her quilt is lovely. Thanks for this post. I will be looking forward to your future posts and your progress.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Marilyn,

      Thank you! I am so thankful for a little grand-girl that would sew all day with me if she could. I hope she keeps it up!

      – Dori –

  8. Deb Bosworth says:

    Dori,
    What a fun and inspiring post! I have a confession to make. I have never, ever made a quilt or even attempted to make one. I have always sewn though. I’ve made aprons, table runners, placements and napkins, curtain panels, valances, pillows out of old shirts and fabric scraps, and even some clothing for our kids. When they were babies I had an obsession with fleece and made everyone in the house scarves and hats. But, a quilt? Nope! I do love them though and after reading your post all the way through, I think I might know why I haven’t attempted to make one. It takes patience. I guess I’m a sucker for instant gratification, but I’ve decided to take you up on your challenge… I’ll make a mini something…I’ve got some very fun fabric I purchased for aprons I could dip into so I won’t even have to go fabric shopping! Oh good Lord, what have I gotten myself into? Now, your quilts are lovely and the ones you are working on are going to be darling! Thank you for the inspiration my friend!
    Hugs,
    Deb

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Deb,

      YES!!! I’m super excited!!! Be prepared though… you know what will happen right? You’ll be hooked!!!

      Can’t wait!

      xoxo

      – Dori –

  9. Cindi says:

    I’ve made a couple of simple baby quilts but not having a clue what I was doing, I didn’t consider myself a “quilter”. Then I finished my first full sized, start to finish quilt at Christmas – made for a dear friend as a thank you gift. It took much longer than anticipated, I am easily distracted, but I put the sewing machine pedal to the floor and did it. Thankfully, in one of the many quilting tutorials I watched, the host said something that became my mantra: “It’s better finished than perfect”. Yep. I’m gonna pull that out again and take this challenge. Ha! There are going to be a few imperfect (but finished) quilts out there before long… I hope.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Cindi,

      That is awesome and I love, love, love that mantra! You can be sure that will be in my post in six weeks! :-)

      Can’t wait to see what your next quilt is!

      – Dori –

      • Cindi says:

        Yes, I think I will embroider it on a pillow or something!! I must give credit where credit is due – while it is not an exact quote, that encouragement came from Jennie Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company, whose writings (wonderful!!) and tutorials have helped me push on in spite of a serious lack of confidence in my sewing abilities. Ah, we daughters of perfectionists…

  10. Carol says:

    I have recently wanted to take up quilting. I know absolutely nothing about it and I do not own a sewing machine so I am sure that it won’t be an easy task, but I would like to do it. Any ideas for beginners would be helpful.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Carol,

      I sure love that you are so willing to give it a try! The YouTube channel I recommended in my post would be the best place to start. However, you can even just do a google search on beginning quilting and see what great things you might pull up. Remember my recommendation to START SMALL!!! Even without a sewing machine you can do a little hand sewing on a small 10 x 10 block that you can actually hang on a wall when you are finished. I’ve got a few and they are precious.

      Keep me posted!

      – Dori –

  11. Bonie says:

    Many years ago when my daughter was about three years old, (honorary) grandma Chris made a quilt for her and her baby doll. My daughter is now 16. Those quilts are still very treasured. So, now, at her inspired suggestion, I am going to make a baby doll quilt and a little quilt for my granddaughter :). Her brother and his wife have a two year old with a favorite baby doll. The baby doll one is pieced and sewn together….the excitement is rising as I piece the bigger one together!
    This was a great post and very inspiring….thank you!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Bonie,

      Oh I just love thinking of your daughter still treasuring the quilts made for her and her baby doll.

      I cannot wait to see the quilts you make for your grand-daughter and her baby doll. Don’t forget to send pictures!!!

      – Dori –

  12. Debbie says:

    Dori,

    I love to quilt too and have been making the cutest baby quilts.

    I love your blog.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Debbie,

      I hope you’ll join in our little challenge and send me some pictures! I would love to see your baby quilts! I love making baby quilts – I think they are probably my favorite.

      Thanks for writing!

      – Dori –

  13. Vivian Monroe says:

    I am up for the challenge as well. I have made 3 quilts in my time, and had lots of trouble with them all, but I am getting better each time. The last one I made just a few weeks ago which was a simple one called a rag quilt. I think Deb Bosworth (Beach farmgirl you could do one of these. :) I do have another friend having a baby so maybe I will make another baby rag quilt. (taking the easy way out haha) thanks for the challenge Neta.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Neta,

      YAY! I love the rag quilts. I’ve made a few of those and they are so fun!!! Can’t wait to see what you settle on and don’t forget to send me pictures!

      – Dori –

  14. Over the years I have learned that I am a hunter-gatherer, not a finished product person. I love the raw materials of a quilt or a wreath or a gourd basket, but I will appreciate the work of others and be glad to help them gather what they need to make their prize. I like this line, “Remember that a “quilt” doesn’t have to be for a bed.” So, my quilt will be a field, planted with vegetables, herbs, and maybe some flowers. I’m sure that working on this edible quilt will keep all of us on the farm very warm! You’ve done it again, Dori; another beautiful and inspiring blog!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dear Wayve,

      I always, always love your way with words. And YES…. you have the best kind of quilts! The very, very yummy strawberry field kind!!! :-) And I CANNOT wait until April and strawberry season arrives!

      Big hugs to you dear friend,

      – Dori –

  15. Jackie says:

    I’ve been a quilter for twenty years so any excuse to start another quilt is good. I’m up for your challenge! I will definitely email some photos to you..you are off to a wonderful start on your quilts. I love the fabrics!!

  16. Beverley Doolittle says:

    I’m up to the task. Not sure that I will be as fast as you though.

  17. Beverley Doolittle says:

    Sounds like fun. Count me in. May not be as fast as you though.

  18. Karen Sizelove-Murphy says:

    I want to express my Attitude of Gratitude to each and everyone at Mary Janes Farm. My Mother always enjoyed all her Mary Jane Magazine ‘s and would always share them with me. Since she passed away in 2012?i continue to get the subscription year after year. I have also purchased many friends a subscription too. Everyone throughly enjoys all the articles and continue to tell me that they to read Mary James Farms cover to cover.
    Much gratitude, I appreciate all you farm girl told ant I am looking forward to learning mores out our farm.

    I just started my business: Attitude of Gratitude Hats. Your Atttitude of Gratitude determines your Altitude in life.
    Attitude of Gratitude,
    Karen

  19. Karen Sizelove-Murphy says:

    Typo error in my email. I corrected. Thank you.

    I want to become a Ranch Farm girl at Mary Hanes Farmz.

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