HOW TO :: (NOT A HOW TO) Improvise a Quilt



A few weeks ago, I made a quilt. Well, kind of. It's a wonky mess, that's not finished "correctly", but it is technically a "quilt" and I slept with it on my bed last night, and it didn't fall apart, so I'm calling it a quilt.

quilt finished

I went into this whole quilt-making thing not wanting to follow any rules, any tutorials. I was in a mood and I was just not having any of that. I was not about to cut anything straight, measure anything, do any math. I just wanted to make. the. thing. damnit.

Here's what I did:

Step 1. Take a bunch of old sheets and pillowcases - doesn't matter how many, I used 2 pillowcases that were different colours, a big flowery sheet, and a double bed fitted sheet. If, like me, you're using a sheet with elastic in it, rip that shit out. Seriously just make a cut with some scissors and then rip it out. 

Step 2. Rip up your sheets/pillowcases. Doesn't matter the size, or if they match or anything. Maybe keep one that's reasonably big to use as the backing for the quilt. I basically ripped a double bed sheet in half (roughly) to get the backing for my quilt.

Step 3. Lay those ripped up pieces out in front of you and start jigsawing them together. Bonus points if  - like me- you tried to do this on your bed and accidentally pinned through your sheets a lot 

Step 4. Pin your pieces into place once you roughly have the look and size quilt face that you want - it doesn't have to be perfect here, I left a few spots that I filled in later with bits to fit the quilt backing that I'd made. I decided to fold my pieces over so that there weren't raw edges, but raw edges would be cool, too (I guess you'd just have to worry about the seams coming apart after a while) 

HOT TIP (which I learned after I made mine, of course): try using safety pins instead of regular pins when you're pinning your quilt pieces together so that they don't just all fall out when you go try to sew it. 

Step 5. Sew your quilt top! start wherever the hell you want. I know I did. There's probably an easier way to figure out where to start, but I don't know it.

Step 6. If your seams are so wonky that they cause a whole part of your quilt to get all billowy and floppy, just fold that bit over and make it an "accent" - make it work, right? 

Step 7. with right sides facing (this is the only time that a rule matters) sew your quilt backing to your quilt face - now you've got a lil quilt cover-y thing that you can slide some batting into. 

Step 8. Go buy some batting - and maybe measure your quilt before you go - that way you're not wasting money/batting. Bring your batting home. Cut your batting (probably don't try to rip it, that probably wouldn't work out well) to just under the size of your quilt - I didn't measure, I eyeballed. 

Step 9. With your quilt cover thingy right sides out, slide the batting inside. Trim if it doesn't fit inside. I had to. Then once it does (roughly) fit inside, pin it in a couple place so that it stays put.

Step 10. Make some cross marks with pins (or don't) and just start hand sewing little x's every so often to hold the quilt in place. I guess mine ended up somewhere around 10cm apart - but again, screw measuring. 

Step 11. Sew up the top of the quilt either by hand or by machine. 

Step 12. Admire your wonky ass quilt. 

quilt on bed

You've just improvised a quilt! Sorry in advance to all the real quilters who actually know what they're doing - let's just call this thing a "how to that's not really a how to".


Learning As I Go - On Self-Acceptance


The 'Learning As I Go' series invites you to take a peek behind the curtain. Each month, I'll be posting thoughts on life, crafting, pursuing passions, and the messes I make along the way. I hope you'll join me on this journey of mine.

For the first post in this series, I wanted to talk about something I find difficult to talk about. Silly as that may sound, my hope is that in sharing this, however inarticulately, it might help others on their journey with self-acceptance, wherever they may be .

Now, let me tell you, I am far from being all "I love me, I love myself, I don't need anybody else" (sorry for the ridiculous reference there), but I'm getting better at accepting the parts of myself I used to feel really ashamed of. 

I think it started in high school, my being cognisant of my difference, that is. I didn't really feel like going out, partying, drinking. And at first I think it stemmed from this weird place of judgement. I think I liked feeling "above" people for not partaking in activities I saw as bad or unhealthy. And this stemmed from my school environment - 200 of the same students, more or less, for 12 years. I couldn't break out of this "goodie-two-shoes-stick-up-her-ass" image people had in their heads. So that's what I was - a goodie-goodie. But I wasn't feeling myself that whole time.

Fast-forward to university, and things were feeling a bit better. I found like-minded friends, strong, athletic, tender women who raised each other up. But still, there was this nagging feeling. Every Friday and Saturday night, my co-op would boom with loud music, friends and acquaintances would run down the hallways, screaming til the wee hours of the morning. And sure, there were times that I was that person. My face painted, high heels on, I was running up and down the halls, dancing til my feet felt like they were going to fall off. 

But something about that never felt right. I would often drag myself to parties, only to leave 30 minutes later, feeling deflated and honestly just sad. I'd pity myself and reflect on how "boring" I was, how different I felt to everyone else my age. I'd try to shake it off and poke fun at myself, saying I was an 80-year-old in a 21-year-old's body - but I'd mostly say that just to make the joke before someone else could. 

There was one night that I had a moment of peace with it all. I was walking down "frat row" - the street that had all of the sororities and fraternities (aka party central) - as it was the fastest route from my co-op to my partner's house. I looked around at all the people, drunk and stumbling, giggling and singing. I'd just finished performing at an African Dance concert, and I was feeling alive. And in that space of contentment, I thought maybe I'm more like everyone else than I had believed. Maybe we're just all looking for ways to have fun, ways to be happy. And for me, that's dancing in an ensemble, knitting alone on my couch, singing in my shower. And for others, that's dancing the night away, imbibing, living wildly. And we're both right. Neither of us is doing things wrong, we're all just trying things on to see what fits us. 

Maybe we're all just learning as we go.