My First Quilt

This is the first quilt I ever made. I am 28 year old male and an engineer so some people are pretty surprised when I told them I was making a quilt. My mom is a big quilter and I learned to sew when I was little but this is the first thing I have sewn in a while (other than mending pants pockets or something small) and the biggest things I have done.
My design was inspired by

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Radiant Gradients Streak Fire Fabric

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Radiant Gradients Streak Blue Fabric

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I cut the fabric at 45° so the streaks would be diagonal. I was originally planning to do Half Square Triangles with a finished size of 2.5 inches, but forgot about seam allowances for the outside edges and the triangle edge when cutting and cut 2.5" squares. So I redid my pattern for 2" squares instead of 2.5" triangles.

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I ended up with 23 different shades. I thought about mixing them into bigger categories of dark, medium, light, but the engineer in me liked keeping them separate.

I numbered the different squares and kept them separate in ziplock baggies.

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I designed my quilt in AutoCAD because that is something I use daily at work. I am glad I did too. I went though 3 or 4 deisgn revisions when I realized things that I had failed to think of (like forgetting seam allowances). This final design is actually a smaller part of a larger layout. I cant remember what the reason was but I realized my size was off and it would have ended up 48"x64" which is a bit big for a baby quilt. So I picked a chunk from the center that was 36"x48". The transitions between colors are shown by pink lines. I started with circles and picked which square had more than 50%. You could see the curve of the circle better in the larger version. I liked the dark oranges and light blues better so I started with 23 blue and worked my way down and started with 1 orange and worked my way up. Looking back I wish I would have gone the same way with both of them because where the medium light blues meet the medium dark oranges it doesn't go as smooth as I imagined. I didn't notice until I laid it out, but I really liked the colors I had so I left it.

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I ended up getting pretty good by the end was kept getting quicker. My first rows took a bit longer until I figured out a good system.

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Just like combining squares into rows, I got better at sewing rows together as I went. I can tell which side I started on based on where all the mistakes are... but the baby won't notice. I decided to tie the quilt with yarn. That is how my grandma made quilts, including one I still use every night, so it just felt right.

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I was struggling to find a good fabric to use for the back. I found this one the day I finished the front and it works perfectly. The new mom loves elephants so I was hoping to incorporate those into the quilt.