Quilt Marathon completed – final count, 17 quilts finished

So, my mom and I finished our baby quilt sweatshop, with 17 quilts completed. Guess what, we used up our 5-inch quilt block stash! Woo hoo!

Our 2006 quilt marathon was begun because we had two huge bags of 5-inch blocks between the two of us. We sewed for a week straight last year, and finished 20 baby quilts, but we still had (it seemed) as many blocks left as we used up. Flash forward to 2007… we finally recovered from our week of intense baby quilting, and decided to try to use up our remaining stash of 5-inch blocks.

My mom did the math, and each quilt takes 81 blocks. If you mulitiply that times 20, it means we used up 1620 blocks last year. This year we used 1377 more blocks, which means that we had 2997 blocks between the two of us. How on earth did we get that many blocks? (I personally won’t be cutting up fabric to use for quilt blocks… ever again.)

Instead of working on them all at once (in one week), we have been spending most Thursdays for the past two months working on this project. We laid them all out one week, and then sewed about three to five quilt tops per week until we finished, with a few extra half-days added in during the past two weeks just to finally wrap the project up. After all the tops were done, we assembled the batting and quilt backs. Using up our stash was the name of the game, but we managed to find enough cozy flannel for quilt backs between the two of us (and a donation from my friend Cassie) to finish up without buying any new fabric. The only thing we had to buy was one roll of batting.

One of my favorite things about this project were the last three quilts we laid out. Why? Because we had to use what we had left and make it work. And because we finally used up the stash of blocks – few things in this world compare to the feeling you get when you use something up! It’s an amazing feeling!

<–This quilt was one of the last ones we did. Who would have thought that the burgundy, pink and various plaids would work together with some leftover surfboard fabric? I love that these baby quilts are unexpected in color palette and fabrics. Not your typical choices for the nursery, but awesome! Also, notice the scottie dog fabric around the border – that quilt back was made from a recycled thrifted flannel sheet.

What do we do with the blankies once we have them completed? We usually save them until we come across someone in our vicinity who is having a baby and use them as our baby gift. I love handmade quilts so much; I can’t think of a better gift to welcome someone into the world with!

The epilogue to the story is that once we had used up our entire stash of blocks, my grandma gave us a huge bunch of vintage blocks and strips. My mom and I are brainstorming what to do with them. They are almost all unique blocks, and almost all 20 years old or older (mostly older). We are selfishly thinking maybe we’ll make quilts to keep in the family with these blocks.

A few ideas are a crazy version of the Arkansas Crossroads pattern, any number of inspirations from Hillary Lang/Wee Wonderful’s arsenal of awesome ideas, this quilt (seen on Wee Wonderfuls) by Josie of Mr Monkey Suit.

<—I love the greyish fabric with the pink clocks on it. Love the color palette and so cute! All of these vintage blocks are so inspiring. I want to scan them all into my computer so I have a record of them for inspiration!

Okay, on to the next project!

Coming soon: forays into altered clothing.

-Heather