When I first thought I was interested in quilting, I went to the only quilting store I could find in New York City and asked a nice salesgirl about what I should do if I was just starting out and didn't want to spend a lot on a hobby that I might not stick with.
Thank you, salesgirl, for kindly pointing me towards a couple of 30's reproduction charm packs. I remember going home and spreading them out like trading cards, pairing them up for a pinwheel design I had already picked out.
It felt a little like cheating, to have fabric selected for me already, and I like to go back to that mindset sometimes in my quilting now, back to when I didn't know Amy Butler from Denyse Schmidt, when I would have said to you,"What's a fabric line? Whoa, there are collections? Designers? I just want to make something with pink!"
I had found this method of making half square triangles for the small pinwheels, and used this one (I like speed piecing method B) to make flying geese for the larger pinwheel blocks. I set out blindly making blocks - no pattern, no size goal, no thought to design.
I had no seam-matching tricks up my sleeve, no concept of "modern vs. traditional", just Quilting for Dummies (really, checked it out of the library--twice), a handful of online tutorials, and a pure delight in working with colors and prints.
For the sole purpose of making it bigger, I added a border. It measures about 45"x60", which is lap sized, if you just want to sit up straight and cover your lap with a quilt. If you're more like me (slouchy, with a tendency to wrap up and tuck in all corners), a much better lap/laying on the couch size is more like 60"x70".
When it came time to lay out the blocks, I lined them up, with varying (really, all different) quantities of white muslin sashing, so that they'd make a large rectangle. It worked, pretty much.
It's backed in various 30's prints I gathered together and pieced together, and I quilted it in straight-ish lines with my brand new walking foot.
Ah, a freshly washed, rolled up and folded squishy quilt. I bound it using bias-cut yellow-striped fabric that I got in a back bin of a random garment district fabric store. You know, the kind of store that only has sequined zebra print fabric in the window.
This quilt still sits on my sofa, ready for a catnap or TV vegging session. Despite its somewhat rough edges, I love it because it reminds me to stay with that wonderful feeling of fabric playtime, of the reward that comes after sometimes struggling through a tough project, and of the warmth of a sweet quilt.