My quilt is finished in its splendid squareness.
I took Home Ec. and some sewing in Mini 4-H (yes, it's a thing), but that's about the limit of my sewing experience. I read reviews to find a good, inexpensive sewing machine, bought it, and read the manual. The Rube Goldberg way they're threaded felt very familiar.
Some of the squares are from fabric I won a few years ago from Uberstitch. Some of the fabric I purchased, buying whatever fabric made me happy (and one that was a lesson from the Universe).
I used a basic tutorial from the Penelope Waits blog. Perhaps that tutorial has been taken down; I can't find it again on her site. She advocated knitting the squares together in clumps of nine (making a "nine patch"), but I decided it was easier to sew the squares together in long strips, then sew the strips together.
It took me a long time to get started, and I read too much about quilts instead of just doing it. Once I convinced myself to actually start cutting (in June 2012), things went fairly smoothly.
I then immediately got freaked out again by the size of the project. My mom came over and helped me make a little baby quilt.
That made me feel better, and I worked on the big quilt sporadically, and not always successfully.
The center of the quilt is alternating strips of white and patterned 3" blocks (2.5" after sewing them). Then there's a border of white, a border of all patterned squares, and another border of white.
When I finished piecing the top, I embroidered a square.
I paid someone to machine quilt it, and although this is not the stitch pattern she wanted me to pick, it is perfect and I love it. The back is five large blocks of lime green and bright pink fabric. (Actually, I think that fabric choice tripped the machine quilter out a little, too. She apparently is used to more traditional quilts.)
I made the binding out of strips of white fabric, using this excellent tutorial. It took two in-depth conversations with a friend who is more visual than I to understand how this was done. Then I set the laptop with the tutorial up in the same room with the sewing machine and ran back and forth between the two. It all worked very well with the exception of the corners. They would win no ribbons at the fair, those corners. I plan to spend the rest of my life ignoring them.
I thought about the various ways to characterize how big this project was (at least, for me)--the fabric used? the hours? This seems as good an indicator as any:
While handsewing the binding down on the back of the quilt (somewhere in the neighborhood if 12-15 hours, by the way), I ran out of thread and had to go buy more. That spool of white Aurifil Mako cotton thread had 1422 yards in it.
Click on the picture to see the fabric more closely.
I love the quilt, and while I know it's all 90 degree angles and a very simple design as quilts go, I'm extremely proud of my persistence. I've purchased the fabric for another (smaller) quilt for the single bed in the guest room.* Right now, though, I think I'll go knit a pair of socks.
*It's based on this photo if you want to see.