Salt Air Charm Quilt

Here's the quilt I made while we were in Florida...bless its crooked little heart. I wasn't planning on making this quilt. In fact, I almost didn't even take my sewing machine with me to Florida since we were only going to be gone for one month. But I needed to work on a quilt top I'd been putting off for a I really wasn't sure if I could survive a whole month without sewing something. So I decided to take it...and boy, am I glad I did.

Florida was so nice. We stayed in Jacksonville--the beach was only 15 minutes away. Despite our good intentions, we were there a whole week before we finally made it to the beach. We went to Jacksonville beach--we'd heard it was nice...we drove down a random street to the beach access next to some condos, grabbed our stuff and headed for the water. Well the first thing I saw when I set foot on the sand were all these old fences...and I know this is going to make me sound like a total nut-job, but I stopped dead in my tracks and said, "I have to make a quilt and take a picture of it right there!"  Normally I make a quilt and then hunt for a good spot to photograph it...but this time it was kind-of the other way around! :) 

The minute we got home from the beach (ok, after dinner, and the kids had a bath and were in bed) I started looking online for fabric. I wanted something bright, colorful and beachy since the fences were slightly drab. It took me about 10 seconds to find Salt Air (by Cosmo Cricket for Moda)...I had seen it a few months before online...long before it was actually in stores--and I remember liking a few of the prints, but I confess I was not in love with all of it, so I pretty much dismissed it. Funny how quickly I changed my tune! I really think it was the perfect fabric for this quilt!

For the pattern, I needed something simple and fast so I would actually be able to get it done before it was time to go home! I mocked up a bunch of stuff in EQ, but in the end decided to just get some charm packs, slap a border around them and sash with the leftovers. This took about 2 and 1/2 charm packs plus about 1 yard of bone Kona. And I really wanted to set this on point...but I was facing a little bit different construction and quilting situation for this, so I decided to play it safe and just do the horizontal block layout. Smartest decision I have ever made! Let me just say that I have never attempted to finish a quilt using only my home sewing machine. I am now in awe of people who do it all the time. It was a tiny bit more difficult than I had imagined it would be. 

To put this together, I thought it would be easiest to use one of the quilt-as-you-go methods I had heard about. So I laid it all out, then sewed the blocks and vertical sashing into rows and then made the horizontal sashing rows. Since the method I planned to use required spray basting the back of the quilt to the batting, I hunted ALL over town to find some 505 spray adhesive and FINALLY found some...(thank you Cinnamon's Quilt Shoppe for being the only quilt shop in Jacksonville that actually answered your phone and was still in business!). So I spray basted the backing to the batting. Then I put the first sashing row on top of the batting, at the top of the quilt and sewed it down. Then I laid the first row of blocks, right sides together on top of the first sashing row and stitched the seam, going through all the layers, flipped it, ironed and then added the next sashing row, and so on. Try as I might (pinning, re-doing, pleading with the quilt to just behave) I could not get everything to line up perfectly straight. Thus, it is slightly crooked in some it personality though, right? That's what I keep telling myself. :) 

Since I didn't have my usual sewing set up, I had to improvise a little. To give myself lots of extra room to wrestle with the quilt as I sewed it, I set up the machine on the coffee table and positioned the ironing board so it was right up next to my sewing machine. It worked like a charm...with surprisingly minimal back pain! Sometimes I think I am so clever! 

Once I had all the block rows and sashing rows sewn together, I went back and quilted a few more straight lines along all the seams (in the ditch) and then diagonally across the quilt in both directions. I really wanted to make the quilting frilly and fun, but I so did not have the skills to make that happen! I decided to just leave it, thinking I'd throw it on the quilting machine and add some other quilting when I got home. But once I got it home and tried to figure out what else to add to it, I decided it would be more trouble than it was worth. So it will stay as it is...a banner to my first (and hopefully last) attempt at quilting on my sewing machine!

I used this pretty pretty feathery print for the backing...I love it!

Once it was all done, we went back to the beach and I took a boatload of pictures. They turned out exactly how I had imagined it! And the lucky recipient of this quilt is my mom...who recently re-decorated her living room and could use a quilt with red accents...let's just hope it's the right red and that it matches (If not, Mom, you know what to do)!


There is now a pattern for this quilt!! Get it HERE!