Ok, so I will share one of the Christmas sewing projects since this one is for Rowan and he's already seen it. Plus I don't think he'll have enough time to read my blog before Christmas. I made my first quilt!! I had kept tons of school and event tshirts from my childhood, intending to give them to my kids someday. For years I thought it would be awesome to make a tshirt quilt out of them, but I knew that sewing by hand with my elementary skills would probably be an insurmountable task. So when I learned to sew with my machine this year, the legendary tshirt quilt idea babbled in the back of my mind. I researched directions and examples online and finally went for it. I knew that being my first quilt, I would make all of my mistakes on this one. But I decided I liked it that way because this keepsake project is special to me, and it's much more about the love put into it than the resulting (im)perfection. In other words, I really wouldn't want my attention to be on perfecting the details of the quilting instead of on the memories of these shirts and what memories will be made over the years sharing this quilt with Rowan.
It's taken me months to research quilting design and techniques, cut the shirts, organize the blocks, cut all of the sashing (the brown between the blocks), SEW EVERYTHING together, sew the backing and batting (filling), sew those together, and THEN quilt the top (sew the crisscross lines into it).
I've learned several things during this project and others before it. First, I know this comment sounds stupid- while I knew quilting involved a lot of sewing, and I was excited about that fact, I still didn't realize how MUCH sewing is involved! And with so many seams, there are hundreds of opportunities to sew something slightly crooked. The amount of sewing is incredible, and sometimes I thought I'd never finish since I can only sew when Rowan is sleeping or occupied with Daddy (or else I spend all of my time refereeing between my sewing machine and a pair of toddler hands). And with this project and others, I'm also always surprised at how much sewing projects cost. Before I began sewing, I assumed that fabric was probably so cheap that making something yourself was kind of like it being free. Not so...you can almost always find a cheap finished product (clothing, quilt, decorations) for less that it costs to buy the supplies and make it yourself. But the cheap product will be, well, cheaply constructed of cheap materials by cheap and probably unfair labor and trade practices...and of course not the exact perfect design you want, as you can make by sewing it yourself. But there are always big sales plus second hand or "re-purposable" fabric that can cut down the expense of this hobby. And lastly, I have confirmed that I love designing, sewing, and making things, as if that wasn't already apparent.
Well that is the wisdom I have gleaned over my first year of machine sewing. And this is my biggest awesomest project-- the tshirt quilt for Rowan!