Monday, December 30, 2013

We'll Be "Snug as a Bug" Tonight- the Comforter is (finally) Finished!

It's been over a month since I've posted last...and it's not that I haven't been busy!  I had several projects in progress, mostly Christmas gifts, and was occupied with getting them finished and given away.  So, I'm going to try to get several new posts finished over the next week, so I can share some of what I created this fall.

I'll start with the thing that I finished just today -- a comforter for our master bedroom!
We'll be sleeping under the new comforter tonight!
What possesses us to redecorate right in the midst of planning a big family event?  Last May, my husband and I decided to re-paint our bedroom and re-finish the hardwood floors.  We've been in the house 18 years now and had painted the room once, but it was due to be freshened up a bit. Of course, my son was getting married in June, and we would have company for several days, but that didn't deter us. So, for two weeks, every piece of furniture and clothing was in the hallway and we slept in the spare bedroom.  Talk about motivation to get the job finished as quickly as possible!

I had purchased some coordinating fabrics almost a year ago when I found them on sale at the local fabric store.  I knew I wanted to make a quilt from them, and bought several yards of each. The color palette was just right for a master bedroom -- not too feminine, but clean, bright and airy. The light grey wall color was selected by matching a swatch of fabric.  
I bought all six fabrics at the same time.
My friend Sherrie has been telling me about the modern quilt guild meetings she attends, and it piqued my interest.  She lent me a couple of books for inspiration, and I found a block that I thought I could use. It's called "Just Passing Through" and was designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr.  It appeared in Modern Blocks.  The instructions called for four fabrics.  I had plans for the remaining two fabrics.

I don't know if it would be considered 'modern' quilting, but one of my favorite techniques is to find a quilt block pattern and 'blow it up.'  For instance, if a finished block is supposed to be 4" square, I may enlarge all of the pattern pieces and make my finished block 12" square.  I frequently do this for baby quilts -- the quilts go together faster and I can successfully use large print fabrics.

Since I wanted to get this comforter finished fast, I decided to 'blow up' the block design.  For example, the instructions for the 12"  finished block called for 2" and 1 1/2" wide strips...mine are 11 1/2" and 8 1/2" wide.   Instead of making several small blocks and sewing them together, I made one, huge queen-sized block that would cover the entire bed.

'Blowing up' a block does require some thought, especially to determine what size to cut the pieces and the finished size of the quilt.  My d.h. had one request...he wanted to be sure that the comforter was wide enough that when I rolled over, he didn't freeze because the blanket rolled with me.  A standard queen mattress is 60" wide by 80" long.  The finished comforter is 90" x 95".  I sketched everything out on graph paper before I began cutting.
Sketching and coloring the design on graph paper gives me a pattern to follow, both when cutting and sewing the top together.  
Because of the larger width, I discovered I didn't buy enough fabric for the back of the quilt.  Rather than run out and buy more grey fabric, I pieced together a strip wide enough to close the gap.  It adds interest to the back of the quilt.

Another consideration was the weight of the batting that went in between the quilt top and the backing.  I wanted something with a little more thickness and loft, so I decided to use a polyester blend batting.  I ordered it through  This is an American company that sells made-in-the-USA batting by the roll or piece.  Their website is a fantastic resource, and David, who took my order by phone, was so very helpful that I'm sure I'll use his company again.

My long-arm quilter, Susie, and I discussed the quilting pattern to use and settled on the interlocking squares design.  I liked it because it was masculine and modern.  She used light grey thread, which blends nicely with the fabrics.

With the remaining two fabrics, I made two simple pair of curtains for the windows and four coordinating pillow cases.  Another scrap was big enough to recover a flea-market bench that I re-painted.  Believe me, there weren't many scraps in the end.
The flea market bench (about $10) got a fresh coat of paint and a new cover.  And I have a place to sit down to put on my shoes and socks!
My friend Sherrie once asked me about making a 'burrito-style' pillow case.  I used that method to make these; my next post will include the 'how to'!  
So glad that the redecorating is (finally) finished!

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