Just before Christmas, I finished the denim quilt that I started in October.  I thought I’d be able to finish this beast of a quilt in a few weeks, but it took much longer than expected.

It just about killed me, and after I explained to a friend that my thumb went numb trying to trim all the edges, she kindly notified me that it was my carpal tunnel syndrome.  I explained that I don’t have that.  She looked at me like I clearly have not spent enough time on WebMD to earn my self-diagnosis degree and reiterated her point.  Lovely.

But I digress.

I bought this denim quilt pattern at least ten years ago, thinking how cute it was. When another friend gave me a large stack of pre-cut denim squares, I dug out the pattern and started in.  My original plan was for the quilt to be 14×15 squares. It ended up being 10×12.  I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Have you ever started a project and then halfway through thought ‘what the hell was I thinking?’ but since you already told the recipient they were getting it you were stuck?  Me too.

The first step was to cut all the squares into circles and then sew the fleece and denim circles together.  The cutting gave me a bruise on the fat part of my palm (where my thumb attaches) but my mom did feel adequately sorry for me and got me an ergonomic rotary cutter for Christmas afterwards, so that was a happy bonus.

Then, I had to mark a chalk square on every circle and sew the circles together on the chalk lines.  The result of that was that all the little round edges had to be stitched down.  This wasn’t too bad, for the first thirty circles or so, but after the quilt was almost completed and I had to shove the entire thing under the arm of my machine to stitch the edges down, I was cursing the cute pattern.  All I have to say about that is that denim is heavy.

After the entire thing was done, all circles sewn together, all edges stitched down, I had to clip the edges to give it a frayed look.

This is what caused the carpal tunnel episode. Thankfully, I have recovered all feeling in my thumb after I went to the quilt shop and bought a pair of quilting pruning shears especially designed for this task.

They are the beasts of the scissor world, and I’m sure I can probably use them this spring on my rose bushes in the front yard.  Thank God – not many of my quilting supplies can multi-task like this, so that was kind of exciting.

Thankfully, I completed the quilt in time for Christmas and experienced the joy of finishing it.  Completing a project, especially a difficult one, is gratifying.  I ended up loving the quilt as did my daughter who opened it first on Christmas morning, so she could wrap up in it all morning. Bless her.

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  1. Mary-Jeanine on January 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    great job, I’m sure she knows its a gift from the heart! Its good to have the right tool for the job. I had to stop using scissors altogether for about 4 months until my thumb stopped tingling everytime I used them. It finally did heal. I don’t think I’ll ever rag another quilt. The next time I’ll use the AccuQuilt die at the quilt shop to precut the squares already ragged.

    • Amy Isaman on January 25, 2012 at 5:35 am

      Yes she does! She’s a great kid. I had no idea that the thumb thing was really carpal tunnel, and I’m with you about ragging quilts. I’ve done several of them, and the ragging part is definitely a chore. Thanks for stopping by.

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