In a mad final frenzy of stitching I finally finished Clark’s robot quilt in time for him to snuggle under it tonight. He asked me how long it took to make it, which I had a hard time answering. Because realistically I bought the fabric for this quilt a good two years ago. (Fact check: an email search shows that I ordered the fabric January 13, 2012, so I guess start to finish it was just under two years.) Then I started cutting out. Then I put it away for a year. Then a few months ago I decided to buckle down and when school started I got the top put together. The machine quilting took last week. And then quite suddenly I did the binding over two days. So here’s the finished result and then I’ll tell about the process.
So how did I make this non-patterned quilt? When I got the material I had some different ideas of how I’d put it together. I knew I wanted to feature the big robots, but how? They are all different sizes! After Megan’s quilt and the fall quilt, I was keen on rectangles as a “quick and simple, but visually pleasing” style. The problem here was that I started cutting not just different length pieces, but also different width. Oh, and I wanted an orange stripe to zig and zag around, in a way that would remind us of these things in Kirby’s Epic Dreamland. Here’s what I finally did. I took my robot pieces and sewed orange strips on just two sides. According to a past email I did that back on May 2 and wrote to a friend, ” So yesterday I completed work on the robot with orange stripes around it portion of the quilt I started so long ago for Clark. I finally found a way for it to work and the rest of it now should be fairly easy to do. I laid it out to show my family and they barely said anything. I had to respond that from their reaction it was clear they had no idea HOW HARD IT WAS TO DO THAT. Perhaps they’ll be more impressed when it’s done. Unlikely though. But seriously, it’s hard to make things work that are not the same size at all. I’m satisfied with what I’ve come up with though.” Isn’t it fun to see that it did work? And how annoyed I was? So that was back in May. Then in September I made this schematic to figure out the dimensions:
I laid the robots out in an X, then measured between each pair of robots. I also used post it notes to number them and keep them in order until they were stitched. Using the distance between each pair, and the height of that particular pair, I created a block to fill the gap. Then I attached the robots. Then I figured out how wide I wanted the quilt, subtracted the amount of the robot block, divided by two and knew how big to make each block/strip on either side. Then all those strips went together and made this:
Then I made strips to go above and below that to make the total length I wanted. For the back I just happened to have lots of yardage of this lovely flannel that was all the right colors. (Who just happens to have lots of yardage of space flannel? My sister in law gave it to me and I still have lots left over.) I like to include a little something in the back, so here it was a bold orange stripe.
I machine quilted this with parallel lines. For the orange zig zag, though, I did follow the zigs and zags. I wasn’t thrilled with my thread choice (royal blue), but committed to it because I didn’t want to pull it out after the first day! For just a few sections I did use orange thread to hide it.
And for the signature I appliqued two of the robots holding a banner that I embroidered a sweet message on.
For the binding I picked up a new fabric at Joann’s a couple weeks ago and I’m super pleased with how good it looks-a nice blue on blue design of circles. I did not cut it on the bias as I was not rounding any corners and it was like a revelation to discover that was totally ok. Yesterday I cut the strips and machine stitched on, and then indulged in watching Reign on tv while I got to hand stitching. (I’m going to have to get bifocals-no denying it now. I had to allow the tv to be a little fuzzy so that I could look at my stitching without glasses on.) I usually find hand stitching on the binding to be somewhat tedious but this time it went really quickly and also, if I may pat myself, my stitching was practically invisible.
I’m absolutely thrilled with how well the overall finished quilt ended up looking like what I had envisioned. The colors play together well, I think it’s not too cutesy, I love the orange accents with the royal blue, the flannel backing is cozy, and best of all the orange zig zag reminds us of electrical bolts of energy in a game we love playing together!