Sewing a Book Quilt – Part 1

As the title suggests, this will be a new series of posts about a quilt I started late last year. I actually bought the pattern in July of 2020, and one of my 2021 goals was to sew the quilt. That didn’t happen for a variety of reasons, but I am determined to make the quilt happen this year.

One of the biggest reasons I didn’t make progress on the quilt in 2021 is because I didn’t have a plan. So this year I started with planning. I knew I wanted to use the Taller Tales Quilt Block Collection for my quilt, but I wanted it to be more than just a collection of books. I added in the Gnome pattern from the 2021 Quiltmas Spectacular, but I still wanted something else. I hit upon the idea of adding words to my quilt, and I remembered the Thomas Jefferson quote, “I cannot live without books.” Pithy and so very true. When I mashed all these elements together this is what I came up with:

I had never done Foundation Paper Piecing before this quilt, and the first block was frustrating and took longer than I expected. Even so, it only took me about an hour, so I decided I could spare an hour a week to make a block. I calculated that if I sewed a block every weekend they would be complete in 14 weeks. I then gave myself two weeks per row of text, making 8 weeks for the center block. Then I planned 4 weeks to assemble the top, for a total of 26 weeks. My timings were meant to be generous since there will inevitably be a few weekends where I don’t make as much progress as expected. If I am able to follow my plan for the quilt top, that leaves me a full half of the year left for quilting and binding. I don’t have that part planned yet – I will figure it out when I get to it.

For the books and the gnomes I am using my scraps from garment sewing as much as possible. These are all sewn onto a plain white ground for continuity. Not all garment materials are appropriate for a quilt, but I have a fair amount of cotton scraps, and even some from my mom that she used to sew me clothes when I was a kid! I love all the memories this quilt will house once it is done! I am avoiding any fabrics that are stretchy or have significant synthetic components. I am not too worried about colours – I trust that my own sense of colour guided my choices when I bought the fabrics, and thus my stash of scraps is already curated to my personal colour palette. This is also meant to be a scrappy quilt, so as long as nothing screams that it doesn’t coordinate anything is fair game.

The last bit of planning (at least for now): I printed off all my FPP papers for the books and the gnomes. I have selected the alphabet I will be using for the center, but I haven’t ordered the book yet.

With the planning out of the way, I got to sewing! So far I have completed 4 blocks (all the same pattern). I only need 4 of this block, so I will be moving on to the next kind of book this weekend. With each rendition of the block I have gotten faster and better at it. Now I can bang out a block in half an hour – and that includes ironing between each step!

I am so excited about this quilt! The small, quick wins every week are so motivating, and I am having a lot of fun with the FPP technique! I’ll update you once I’ve finished the next round of blocks.

Read Part 2 here.

Published by

Dramatic Lyric

I am a musician and a life-long crafter. I love to read and write, and my favourite book is Jane Eyre.

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