How Long Should It Take to Make a Quilt?

by Nicole

I make some quilts, like Boxed Radiance in 3 days. But other quilts take me weeks, months, or even years to finish.

Why is that? 
For one, I think it has to do with other things competing for priority.  Over the 15 months it has taken me to make my Birds in the Air quilt, I’ve had other quilts and other responsibilities – mainly family and work – come first. 
But my patient Birds finally made it to the top of the list. They did sit on the longarm for a month while I quilted in free moments here and there.

Birds_on machine

A couple of days ago, I pushed through and finished the quilting. 


All that remains is the binding. But my poor Birds will have to wait again. Easter is coming and I’ve got two little girls that need new dresses. 

Hopefully, it won’t be another month before the binding goes on!
So what do you say? How long should it take to make a quilt? 

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Patchwork and Play April 19, 2014 - 5:01 am

How long is a piece of string? Same concept really- it takes as long as it takes! And some things get better like a good red wine! I'm betting "Birds in the Air" is like that wine- all the better for the time its taken! Looking forward to seeing it in all it's beauty!

ipatchandquilt April 19, 2014 - 6:35 am

My oldest wip is about a year old. I first waited to find the perfect backing fabric, but now I am gearing up to FMQ it. I feel like it took me a year to get "good enough" at FMQ to enhance the pattern of the quilt. I want it to be spectacular. I will finish it in May! YAY!

Wild Irish April 19, 2014 - 7:01 am

Forever since I'm new and scared especially of FMQ

Sarah @ FairyFace Designs April 19, 2014 - 8:14 am

Oh it depends on the quilt! I've made quilts in a few days and then others have taken a year just to piece the top!

Gertie Pye April 19, 2014 - 8:15 am

This is such a lovely quilt Nicole! I am the wrong person to ask how long it should take to make a quilt – by my progress over the past 5 years the answer would be "about a year and a half". However I know that without distractions / little children / work, I should be able to churn out a quilt a month. A goal for the future perhaps!

DeborahGun April 19, 2014 - 9:07 am

I love long term projects – savour them moment by moment and really enjoy the sewing.

Amira@littlemushroomcap April 19, 2014 - 10:16 am

I agree with you, I too have finish some quilt faster than the other. Not much of a difference in terms of how much work is put in. I guess the time is being left untouched is the one that determines how long it takes from start to finish. Thankfully I never have more than one finished quilt top at a time. Often onece the quilt top is done, I get the quilting done before finishing other tops. By the way, I love the quilting in the quilt above!

Books_Bound April 19, 2014 - 2:02 pm

I am trying to avoid "should" as much as possible, for my own mental health. 😉 But really, unless I was making something on commission or other strict deadline, I try not to worry too much about my pace. It's good to remember (for me) that this is a hobby, meant to be enjoyed. Some weeks that means I sew every night, some weeks (this week, for example) it means I don't touch the machine at all. And both are ok!

Katy Cameron April 19, 2014 - 2:06 pm

That's a completely 'piece of string' like question! I think it all depends on the complexity and thinking time required. I can knock up a simple quilt in what amounts to a couple of days, but for ones where I'm, say, going improv, or doing something complex either in piecing or quilting, that takes rather longer! Procrastination tends to accompany thinking time for me for some reason ;o)

Debbie April 19, 2014 - 2:07 pm

I agree…it is what it is. And it's all ok! This quilt is definitely looking to be worth the wait!

Lisa Lisa April 19, 2014 - 2:44 pm

I don't think there needs to be a "should" in the length of time it takes to make a quilt. Everyone is different, has their own priorities, etc. I have several tops that I've completed but just haven't quilted because I want to get on to the next quilt top 🙂 In my opinion, just take your time and enjoy the process, but I'm sure you already do that. Your quilt is gorgeous!!! Can't wait to see the Easter dresses 🙂

Paige April 19, 2014 - 5:31 pm

I'm with you in the sense that it really varies for me. Other things take priority but the flip side is also true. Sometimes I love something so much I will do only that and whip it out quickly! My new favorite quilt is about to go to the longarmer and it took more than a year to make because it was a collaboration with six other quilters living all over the world!

Nana-Bob April 19, 2014 - 6:14 pm

Stunning! Absolutely gorgeous!
I know the feeling too. I just finished one that I started a month ago! lol. It is a BABY quilt (no excuse really). Some days I just can not sit at the machine. Too many other things to do or I just plain ole need a break. I am hand binding it tonight.

Lea April 19, 2014 - 6:22 pm

Nicole, you're quilt is beautiful! You're quilting is absolutely gorgeous! I've never been a super fast quilter. It depends on the quilt how long it takes me to finish (how detailed, small pieced blocks or faster ones with larger pieces.) I usually end up changing my mind as I go and changing the quilt and it usually is something that takes longer to do. Last year I made a couple small quilts that went fast though. These were the first quilts I machine quilted (how fun!) I enjoy hand quilting and even though it takes longer to do the last one I did was fairly fast. Then I had an injury that I injured twice and wasn't able to quilt (until recently) for 8 months. But I'm quilting again, slowly but surely. 🙂 YAY!

Donna April 19, 2014 - 9:03 pm

It seems like the more fired up I am about a project, the faster it gets done. Recently I made a reversible kingsize quilt for our bed in only two weeks, which is lightning fast for me. Some projects I savor and some I blaze through – I like to do both. Love that quilting, Nicole!

Leanne April 19, 2014 - 10:07 pm

I think this quilt is going to be fantastic when it is done. There is no race with quilting, if the project lingers you get to enjoy it longer.

Pickles Quilting April 20, 2014 - 1:13 am

I really do not think that quilts have a set time it takes to make. That is why I like deadlines…I have to finish one or else. (haha) -Brittany

Tamie April 20, 2014 - 1:24 am

Oh I love how this is coming along. So, so pretty. Happy Easter.

Megan April 20, 2014 - 8:15 am

The quilting looks incredible Nicole! I guess it takes as long as it takes to make a quilt. As long as it's enjoyable it doesn't matter 🙂

pandchintz April 21, 2014 - 2:17 am

I figure they take as long as they take! (I have some that are still waiting to be finished after 20 years!! Just don't tell anyone, ok?!). Your quilting is fabulous!

knitnkwilt April 21, 2014 - 3:04 am

anywhere from 2 days to 20 years. I don't have any that weren't improved by waiting.

Sandra @SewofCourse April 22, 2014 - 4:59 pm

They take as long as they take. I am making quilts because I enjoy making them, not because I want to have as many finished in as short a time as possible.

MaterialGirlQuilts April 22, 2014 - 7:04 pm

Nicole, your quilting is just superb!! You really have picked up this FMQ thing very quickly 🙂 I'm excited to see the finish, it was clearly worth the wait!

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