cowboy quilts

I am almost finished with Henry's quilt.  It is layered, pinned and folded awaiting quilting.  The plan is to do simple long channels on the cowboy sections and similar width, but alternating directions, for each of the smaller squares.  I think quilting is the hardest part of quilting.  Well, its not particularly hard (especially if you ONLY do straight stitches, like me) just very dull.  I find it more satisfying to get the top all sewn together.  Then you can truly see your quilt for the first time.

I have seen gorgeous hand quilted works of art and am amazed, not only by their beauty in design, but awestruck by the patience involved.  Someday, I want to make one.  I also have a goal to make a quilt with a bagillion little squares like you see at department stores.  So far, I have penciled in that project for when the shortest goes to kindergarten.  I figure I deserve 6 months after they are both in school to hobby vacation & sleep.  Ahhhh...

I thought I would walk you through the steps I did for this quilt.  It is extremely easy, and if you put all the minutes together, without major disruptions, it honestly only took 2 -3 hours, tops.

First, I am making 2 toddler (crib) size quilts. The directions below are for ONE quilt. I measured our "moo-moo" bedspread (aka Cars movie, kids used to say "moo-moo" for movie, and it was the only one they would watch, I have it memorized beginning to end), and determined I needed about 54" x 43", give or take. 

1.  I used my rotary cutter and board to cut two 12" strips from the twin sized vintage cowboy sheet. I left the full width so I could line up the cowboy pics to my liking.

2.  Then, I cut 6" strips, cheating by first folding the fabric in half, selvedge to selvedge, of the coordinating fabrics. I cut two strips each of the main colors I wanted to use and only one for my accent color.

3.  I took each strip and cut them in various lengths.  12", 10", 6", 5", 4", 3".  I didn't really think about it.  I did plan to use some of the 6", rotated 90 degrees so I could have the pattern going left to right, instead of up and down. As long as I had some of the larger strips, I could always shorten them, if needed.

4.  I measured out about 44" and started laying out the gene stripes.  Mix and match, switcheroo, I changed it around until I was happy.  Then I took a picture, just in case something goes crazy awry, so I can always look back.

5.  I gathered each piece of stripe from left to right, and clipped them together as a row. Then, I stacked the rows from top to bottom.

6.  I took each pile, and sewed the pieces together, right sides together with a half inch seam allowance, forming the row.  I did this for each, keeping them in order from top to bottom.

7. Moving to the ironing board, taking each row individually and flipping over, wrong side up. I ironed each of the seams open.
8.  Then I took the first two rows and placed them right sides together, sewing the two rows together to form one wide row. I repeated this for each pair of rows, making 3 large rows (top, middle, and bottom.)
9. Pressed the seams out (just like #7) for each row.

10. I took the bottom row and placed it on my dining room table. I let the fabric slightly overhang the edge.  Above the row, I added the cowboy panel, lining up the cowboy pics as I wanted them. 


Then, I flipped the cowboy row down over the bottom row.
11.  Sewed the two rows together.  I returned the sewn bottom section to the table, lined it up and added the middle row.  Sewed together. Then, the top cowboy panel, and finally the top row.
12.  I trimmed the excess fabric from the cowboy panels.  I ironed all the seams away from the cowboy panels and towards the gene striped rows.  It was my personal preference, since the cowboy fabric was light ivory and I just don't like seeing the seams under the fabric.

13.  Now the fun part.  I had a large piece of chunky nubby muslin (very cowboy, no?) just under two yards long, and I only needed about 54", so I totally lucked out, yay.  Since it was just regular width (44/45") it was perfect, no sewing required.  I swept my kitchen floor, laid out the muslin wrong side up, laid out a pack of crib sized batting (45" x 60", 80/20 cotton/poly blend) on top, and then laid on the quilt top, right side up. 

14.  I carefully flattened it out and pinned the cannoli out of it.  Yep, the key to good quilting is safety pinning all three layers together, from the center out.  I put pins almost every 5" inches, just so it doesn't move at all, other wise my quilts end up getting wrinkled at some point. 

The next step will be quilting all of the seams of each "box."
Well, that's only how far I have gotten.  Its been waiting for me to quilt it since Saturday, I hope to have it (and its cohort) finished this weekend.