It has been many, many years since I’ve attempted it.  At least thirteen, if I remember correctly.

The proper tools make all the difference in the world.  I got these Ginghers for Christmas when I was in college.  My then-new-boyfriend-now-husband did not understand why I flipped out over a pair of scissors.  He has since learned their cost and seen the light.

While I love watching a quilt top come together, I hate, hate, hate the finishing – quilting and binding.  Hence the piece-and-quilt-at-the-same-time approach I took with this one.  I needed something quick for a silent auction at the boys’ school.

You can make a quilt with what you have on hand.  I didn’t have any batting.  Only two of the fabrics here were bought at a store; I got them from Mom’s stash years ago.  The “batting” is a huge, old bath towel I’ve had in my fabric stash for a while.  The remaining fabrics are old shirts and a pillow case.  This is how our great-grandmothers made quilts.  Upcycling is not a new concept, but I am so glad we, as a culture, are rediscovering it.

Choosing colors for a quilt is not difficult.  My very favorite quilts are those that come together out of fabrics that don’t coordinate.  They are unexpected.  They are gorgeous.  When I worked at a quilt shop in college, women would agonize for hours – literally! – trying to find fabrics that “went together.”  I encourage you to ignore it.  Grab fabrics you think look horrible together.  Make a quilt.  You will be surprised.

Quilts should be used.  Yes, quilts are art, but they are art with a purpose.  Just like books should be cracked open and read, quilts should be scrunched up, cuddled with, draped over chairs to make forts, sneezed upon, dragged around, and thrown in the washing machine.  (Of course, this doesn’t apply to quilts meant to be wall art – my mother has made some incredible ones.)  My point is, if someone gives you or your child a beautiful, hand-made quilt, don’t be afraid to ‘mess it up.’  It was made with love and meant to be used.  Use it!

The quilts that are used daily in our living room ~ from top to bottom:

Baby Quilt made for Jason by his great-grandmother
Baby Quilt made for me by my great-grandmother
Baby Quilt made for Nicolas by my mom
Lap Quilt I made Jason for our 18-month anniversary when we were dating
Baby Quilt made for Kalen by my mom
Quillow Mom and I made together when I was a young teen