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Speedy Quilted Gift Tips

Quilts are terrific gifts. Our friends and family love to receive something that we’ve made just for them. We love the creative process and knowing that our gift really says “I love you” like nothing else.

There is always a catch however and with gift quilts there are several. The first and most important is time. Depending on the design, you could be working for a whole year just to make one quilt. This is fine if that is what you want to be spending your time on, but for those of us who want more bang for our buck we need to be a little faster.

And this leads directly into another downside – a quilted gift shouldn’t be cheap. What I mean here is you cannot sacrifice your workmanship, design, or quality of the quilt just because you need to get it done fast. Would you feel good to receive a quilt with loose binding or god awful fabric? Please remember: we can always pick up a nice candle or picture frame and give it as a gift instead. A quilt should be special – it doesn’t have to be the next ark of the covenant, but it should be something we would feel touched to receive.

So here are some tips for simplifying without sacrificing:

Budget your Time – From the very beginning of the project decide how much time you want to spend. Use this estimate to determine several decisions such as: quilt top design, hand or machine stitched binding, hanging sleeve, thread color, and quilting design. Keep in mind what overall look you want to achieve, but make sure that you’re not biting off more than you can chew.

Divide the Design
– Decide on a design that is either very simply pieced or very simply quilted. I find that the simpler the piecing designs are better as the quilt top doesn’t take much time to get together and then it can all be punched up a notch with the quilting. Remember – the quilt HAS to be quilted, but it doesn’t have to be pieced. You might even consider doing a very simple whole cloth quilt. It will give you nice practice on quilting techniques you might be wanting to master.

Fabric Choice – You can take a beautiful fabric and do almost nothing to it and it will still make a fantastic quilt. The same holds true for ugly fabric. There is some cheap, ugly crap out there in the quilting world, but no matter what you add to it, no matter how small you cut the pieces, it’s still going to be ugly. Well, I take that back, you could thread paint over it and maybe it wouldn’t be ugly anymore!

Think Big Strips
– Okay, so maybe you just have to create that log cabin quilt for you mother. Yep, I committed this sin too. Log cabins are gorgeous, but that’s quite a few pieces to be cutting out and then stitching all back together. The solution is to think big. Making your blocks 10″ with 2″ strips (9 pieces) will piece together a lot faster than 10″ blocks with 1″ strips (19 pieces). You do the math. Trust me, the look will be the same, and the quilt will go together so much quicker. Unless of course you are hoping to get a medal for Most Ridiculously Pieced Quilt Ever, but you wouldn’t be reading this article if you were, would you?

Size Does Matter – You can follow all of the guidelines above and still spend a year in the making if you haven’t taken overall size into account. Most everyone will be thrilled to receive a cozy lap quilt to cuddle with on the couch. Yes, they would also love to get the Gargantuan Monster Quilt for their king sized bed, but is it really necessary? I actually think that I get more bang for my buck with wall hangings than anything else. They may be small, but they can still bring warmth and love into any room.

There you have it! Keep these simple rules in mind and you will never find yourself running out of time to create that special gift.

Happy Quilting,

Leah Day


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