Proverbial Quilt Progress (and tips for getting started)


By Melissa

I started Denyse Schmidt's Proverbial Quilt a few weeks ago with some marathon prepping and some agonizing over which words were really important enough to commit to a whole freaking quilt.  This is not a short cut project.  I don't know anyone else who is making it (are you?), so I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out the most efficient way of getting all those letters organized, cut and sewn without wanting to quit part way through.  I also made up this free pattern into a pillow for my mom, just to see how the pattern pieces went together. 

The nature of the quilt leaves lots of room for interpretation.  The letter templates and guides for sewing are very good, but when it comes to how you'd like to cut them, it's entirely up to you.  Here's what I've learned so far:

Spend extra time scanning or tracing the patterns and then carefully divide them each to their own pocket or envelope (I made mine from scraps left over from the cuttings).  These are going to make finding the right pieces and then storing the cut fabrics, MUCH easier.  This part took me a flippin' long time.


I'm storing my pattern, quilt guideline (I mapped out the lyrics I chose onto graph paper, to make sure that the lines would come out close to even), and all my cut pattern and fabric pieces in a shoe box.  With a lid.  I made the mistake of not starting out this way. 

I divided up my fabric into darks and lights (mostly whites). Then I stacked them four to a pile.  When cutting my pattern pieces, I used a gridded ruler to add my seam allowance and then cut out one letter at a time through all four fabrics using a rotary cutter.  The lines of the alphabets out of the darker fabrics, and the negative spaces out of the whites.  I stacked them all together and put them back in their pocket. 

laying out details.

To sew, I lay out the stacked fabrics next to my machine and then rearrange the stacks so that each letter has a mix of different fabrics.  This part is quick!  I finger press the seams open as I go.  I was worried about doing this, but having to heat press every seam before continuing with the letter was taking a forever.  I tried a couple this way, pressed them out at the end, and they look fine.  In the end, all the letters end up being unique and I don't want to run the scissors through my eye.  

The sewing up part is FAST.  Which is what you need after you've done all that cutting.  I think I have 102 letters to do, and I have about 40 finished.  I keep a little tally of how many I need and how many I've done on a scrap of paper, ALSO IN THE BOX WITH THE LID.  

I to the O

Part two coming once I get the rows going together...

Want to be among fellow quilters?  Check out Portland's Modern Quilt Guild and sign up for membership.  Modern Domestic regularly hosts sewing nights for the guild, and their monthly meetings are a great place for sharing, swapping, and learning.