Big or Little, Iron or Not?

A bit ago I posted this photo on our Instagram account.  It was of the mystery quilt….a finished top, loaded and ready to go.
Mary from Country Threads left a comment on the post:
How in the world did you get that assembled so fast? I’m just to Border 2! I hate handling big quilts back and forth from the ironing board to the machine! And you’re probably doing day care at the same time! Yikes!

Mary is a hoot!!  We always tease each other back and forth.  Mary calls this a big quilt.  It was 72″ x 72″.  I call this a little quilt.  Mary makes lots of baby quilts to throws, to table runners to table toppers.  Yep.  This would be a big quilt.

Me…I made quilts that are typically 90″ x 90″ up to 100″ x 100″.  I rarely make anything smaller so for me, this was a little quilt.

Mary is an ironer.  Here’s my true confession….I ironed VERY little in making this.  VERY LITTLE.  I ironed my finished blocks and I didn’t iron again until I put on the last border.  I don’t iron.  I know tons of you are thinking I’m crazy but I don’t like to iron and I think it’s highly overrated.  Our Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers made quilts all the time and I can almost guarantee they didn’t run to the iron after every seam.  Who would if you were using those old sad irons??  As long as there are seams to but up to that hold a place, I don’t iron.

Can you tell when you look at my quilts?  Do mine look “unironed” and problematic?

For me, once something is ironed, it’s not flexible anymore.  I can’t flip the seam as well and they don’t but up the right way without ease.  The fabric doesn’t “stretch” as well if I was slightly off on my cutting or piecing and I need it “stretch” so the seams match.  No matter how careful I am…no matter is my seam allowance and cutting is good, I love having the seams be as noncommittal as possible until I sew them down in place.  This way I can flip them with ease.

Once it is all together…Yes I iron.  I iron a lot and with some spray starch.  Then I like my quilts nice and flat, ironed to perfection.

As far as quilting during childcare.  Bahahaha!!  I don’t….well not really.  On the day Mary wrote this my new baby that came to childcare last week, drank a bottle at 10 am…then cried from 10:30 to 10:50…screaming and no matter what I did she wouldn’t calm down.  At 10:50 she promptly fell asleep.

I hit the ground running.  I was trying to do everything I could before she woke up.  I fed the older kids….they all went potty….we cleaned up the toys….I read a couple books….we went potty again….they all laid down for nap.  Every minute I was rushing thinking the baby is going to wake up.  I did all of the things I needed to have done before she woke….but she didn’t wake so I…

Ironed the pieces I had sewn for Geese on a String in Bonnie Hunter’s new book String Frenzy.


Here’s 212 to go with what I already had.  Enough for two quilts.

Still the baby didn’t wake….It was 12:50pm.

Hm…what else could I do?  THIS….Cut binding strips for the mystery quilt.  Done.

Baby was STILL sleeping.  I kept checking on her.  Hmm.  It was almost time for her next bottle.

Well I thought I could quick press Hunter’s Star.

She was STILL sleeping.  I went in and sat with Carver and the other little boy who don’t fall asleep the best….10 minutes later they were sleeping and my baby was STILL sleeping.

Hmm.  What else could I do?  Well I cut out the quarter square triangle pieces that go on the four patches for the quilt.
(note:  They are pink not red.  I don’t know what was up with the camera)

The baby was still sleeping.  She slept even longer….for 3 1/2 hours!!!!!!!!  (She would have slept longer but I woke her up)  I had ran around anticipating that she’d be up in just a few minutes as before she’d only slept for an hour at the most for me.   I had EVERYTHING ELSE DONE so I could do sewing things….the time was like winning the jackpot.  I never get this much time to do quilty things in one day of childcare as I don’t do any of it while they are awake.  I can press a quilt…iron a few pieces…cut a batch of binding strips but only ONE of those things.  I NEVER can I do all of this.

I’m not counting on it ever happening again…but if it does, I won’t complain.

…so no Mary.  I didn’t sew the quilt in between childcare.  I did do A LOT (on this day) during naptime though.

So are you like Mary and thought this was a big quilt…or like me and thought this was a little quilt???

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16 thoughts on “Big or Little, Iron or Not?

  1. Gretchen Weaver

    To me 72″ is a small quilt, a throw to cuddle under while sitting on the couch or a perfect size for the mid sized grands. People often ask me why I make such large quilts, I have tall sons and son in law, all over 6′ to 6′ 6″! Also the larger quilts sell well at charity auctions because there aren’t that many. I love it when the grandchildren take longer naps too. Happy stitching!

  2. Cheryl

    I don’t have much luck ironing after my seams are in. I make a huge mess. Can you show how you iron without making a big mess after assembling a big quilt?

  3. Kris Pedrow

    I’d say 72″ quilts are pretty average for me. Most of my quilts turn out to be very large throws, or twin sized. My girls the twin quilts to have a drop of about 15 inches on either side, and the bottom to be long enough to tuck under the mattress so they don’t lose their quilts in the night.

    I don’t make a lot of really large quilts, but I have 2 queen and a King that are waiting to be basted and quilted. Sometimes I wish my gammill was on a frame instead of a sit down style. Wrestling a king sized quilt to free motion quilt it is hard work.

    I love hearing how much you accomplish in a day. I’ve had a few great sewing days lately, so the stack of ‘ready to be quilted’ quilts is growing.

  4. Kim LeMere

    Most of my quilts are twin or bigger and I always make them longer than standard size, since most of my family is over 6 feet.

  5. Pattypiecer

    Oh Jo! ! You amaze me! You certainly use your time wisely….. I am always impressed with how sewing you get done. Smaller quilts for me. I have no extra beds to display the larger quilts on, so I keep them rather small.

  6. Carol Lorraine Stearns

    I consider getting up from my machine and walking 3 steps over to the iron as exercise. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show up on my fitbit. I do like to finger press and use Bonnie’s nesting seams instructions for quick sewing. I like to iron piles, not pieces. Most times, I make the mystery quilts larger to fit my queen bed. Not sure I will on GF. Grand Illusion and ORL fit my bed. Alletaire became a king for my son and wife.
    You accomplished quite a bit Jo! Can’t imagine how you do it all.

  7. Joyce

    Jo, 72” square is a medium quilt for me. ;) I’m with you on not ironing, though. I finger press if I need to keep seam allowances out of the way, but don’t usually press until the whole top is put together as well. Keep up the good work of sharing your systems!

  8. Patricia Boelens

    Normally 72×72 would be about a normal quilt as I do a lot of “throws”. BUT this was a big quilt for me as it had a LOT of little pieces and I’ve never done string piecing (I didn’t even have any strings), so it was BIG in all that was new. But I will have to say that Bonnie Hunter does an excellent job of directions for her quilt. It went together easier than many of my other quilts much less complicated.

  9. Cindy E

    Lately I’ve been making quilt tops sized 60 x 70 for a charity. That is their max. size wanted. But I have made a couple as large as 90 x 90. As for the ironing, I might try finger pressing more. It is not of my favorite things to do – ironing large sections of a quilt.

  10. Jean

    I love Mary! But that’s really a small quilt! “I like big quilts, and I cannot lie!” ;) I manage, and I enjoy them, but they are really not so easy to quilt at my kitchen table! I really do try to make smaller quilts once in a while, because it would be easier to practice fmq, but they always grow to king!
    -Jean :o)

  11. Sherry Whalen

    I usually make queen or larger, so this is a smaller one for me. I got mine sewn into a top last night. I am also working on the bullseye quilt along and I got a batch of log cabin blocks sewn into a top a couple of weeks ago, so I have been busy pulling some fabric pieces to make some pieced backs for all of these. Next up – since I have a sit down Tiara, I have to get everything pinned together so I can get some quilting done! Sherry Whalen

    PS – you do get an amazing amount of stuff done every day Jo!!

  12. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I’m so glad to know the finished size of the GF!! My largest quilt was 130×130…and I’ve done 2 of those. I prefer to make queen sized quilts with a nice drop to them so they can actually be used on a bed. Depending on how I like the quilt, it may end up a baby sized or increased to be a queen. I’m addicted to my iron.

  13. Mary Jo

    It was a small quilt for me. I recognize that old VIP print you used for the binding. I wonder if you got it from me when I sent you some old “boring” neutrals that I was clearing out a while ago. Love how your Good Fortune turned out.

  14. Jo Post author

    Mary Jo…It could be from you. It’s a print that I have several pieces of. It must have been popular at the time as I have several pieces. THANKS!!

  15. jean fletcher

    That is not a size quilt I would make. King, queen, or really little are my kind of quilts to make. The really littles use 1 1/2″ strips in the making. Test an idea for color comparison, or just for the fun and get me back into making something. Quilt-making is on vacation/hiatus right now. Machines need oiling n cleaning or some other repair. That’s hubby’s job and he is currently busy with getting medical care.

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