Last week I launched a blog. But why, at 36 and in 2016, when there are millions of DIY blogs written by crafty mommies would I do this? Well, for starters, every good name I ever came up with for one had already been taken. So I put it off. Because I do that. Then I discovered a list from last year stating that one of my “goals” for 2015 was to “start something.” Which I didn’t really do, unless you count streaming workouts (also a required activity for 36-year-old moms). Anyway, I’ve been meaning to start blogging my adventures in crafting and home projects mainly to document my own mistakes, so that I (and perhaps others) can learn from them. When I get into a project, I don’t always prepare or have the right tools, and I ultimately learn by trial and error.
My goals for 2016: slow down, learn how to make pizza dough, and start quilting, with the ultimate goal of making a quilt for my 5-year-old’s bedroom. I’ve yet to slow down. The pizzas are tasting pretty good. And a few weeks ago I took an intro to quilting class to learn some basic quilting skills. We made a pillow, which was beautiful, but for the steep $65 price of another class, I decided I could purchase a few materials and essential tools to get started at home. My mother-in-law loaned me the Betters Homes and Gardens Complete Guide to Quilting, and I was set. It contains so much clear-cut, useful information, but the main takeaway I got from that and the class was that you can start with a block. It could be a block that is the centerpiece or a block you’ll repeat over and over again. So I asked Skye (pictured) what she most wanted on her quilt, aside from like, every color in the rainbow, and she said, “Butterflies.” Damn, now I have to learn applique, too?! Eh, I’m always up for a challenge.
Wanting to do this as simply as possible, I decided to applique a butterfly inside a white diamond shape enclosed by four corners to make a large square (approx. 10 by 10 inches). I measured and cut the size of each corner to be about 4 by 4 by 5 inches, leaving about 1/4 inch to spare for the seam. I then faced all right sides together, as though cutting an X through a box and opening each piece to reveal a full square underneath, although the longest side of each triangle should be 1/2 inch longer than each square side. To see how to properly sew a diamond into a quilt block so that you can connect it with other blocks later, I recommend this video.
After sewing and pressing all the seams smooth, it was time to applique. I used a precut butterfly form, and snipped all the curves so that I could fold it (not well, mind you) around the curve and press. The worst part, and this is what the book recommended, was hand-basting the seam closed. I did this as I ironed, which I thought would save time, but it still took an hour to hand-baste one single butterfly. Who has that kind of time?! Once complete, I tried affixing it to the square using different stitches (like a zig-zag) on my machine, but it didn’t look uniform enough around the curves and I ended up hand-stitching the entire thing to the diamond. Then I removed the hand-basting, and voila, I had a pretty cute, not perfect, first block! The true test of success? Skye’s smile when she saw it.