How to Make Honest Art: I (Sort of) Made a Quilt And You Can Too!

Since my summer’s been kinda boring and I will not stand for boredom, I recently decided to make a quilt. After talking to Intern Hot Laura, I learned that I don’t actually know how to make a quilt. Here’s what went down when I told her my idea.

Emily: I want to make a quilt.

Laura: Then make a quilt!
Start small
Make one patch

Emily: nono

Laura: Why?

Emily: Step one is getting my Dad to drive me to a fabric store.

Laura: Do you not have any bits of fabric or old clothes in your house?

Emily: Step one is searching the house.

Laura: Yes!

Emily: But I need a base.

Laura: Nope, you add the back last.

Emily: Sorry, I should have said “I want to sew things on to one half a pillow sized piece of cloth and call it a quilt.”

Ignorance didn’t stop me! And it shouldn’t stop you either! If you have a whole day with nothing to do, consider making what Laneia calls “honest art”. I don’t know what that means, but get an idea and run with it! Listen to your heart!

I was inspired by the cover art of the Bright Eyes album I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning:

and mine turned out like this:

Obviously you can’t see the resemblance because I don’t know how to make buildings or trees, but who cares because I MADE A PATCH OF A QUILT WITH MY BARE HANDS YOU GUYS. Most of us won’t make something that’ll end up on Tegan and Sara’s next album unless you’re the Alex Vega of quilt-making (or Emy Storey), but that’s okay! If your parents love you, they’ll appreciate it.

I made a video so you can see how I made it.

I used:

+ Old shirts
+ Thread
+ A shoelace
+ A hat
+ Cotton balls.

These are all things you probably have in your house right now! Just to clarify, the yellow thing is not a giant spider, but the sun. The green thing is not a volcano, but a tree. The black blob is not a poodle, it’s a cat, and the red thing is a sidewalk. (The clouds are obvious right?)

Keep in mind that in 10 years when I’m really famous people will want to pay me for this decorated piece of cloth.

So what are you waiting for? Go make something with your hands!

[If you read my blog, you probably recognized this post in about 2.5 seconds. If you don’t, then that’s cool, we can still be friends. This version was better written anyway, right?]

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Emily Choo started as an intern with Autostraddle when she was 18 years old. She's now 10 years older and lives in Toronto with her partner and cat. The defining moment of her career was when Riese said this about her: " I think Emily Choo is a very bright, 'poetically inclined' girl who pays attention to everything and knows almost everything (the point of stuff, how to read, how beautiful things feel, how scary things feel, etc.) but doesn't believe/accept/realize yet that she knows almost everything." She still doesn't believe she knows anything, so, thank you, Riese, for that.

Emily has written 100 articles for us.


  1. I’d love to do something like this but in my experience whenever I pick up scissors, needle and thread, and some cloth, I inevitably ruin whatever it was I was trying to make or modify.

  2. I really love this post. Maybe it’s the Bright Eyes, maybe it’s the quilt (or BOTH!) but I am in such a good mood right now. I am fully for an AS “crafters” club. I would make my own quilt to keep yours company in a hot second, Emily.

  3. I just made my first quilt in June for a friend and she didn’t even bother to pick it up!

    I love quilting. I’m a half ass quilter, there is not other way to be.

  4. About a year and a half ago I bought all kinds of scrap fabric that I cut into roughly equal squares and I bought one of those cheap felt throw blankets to use as a backing so that I could make a small quilt type thing. The blanket, squares and my tiny sewing machine are still sitting in my ‘office’ next to the cross stitch supplies (I completed one and a half projects), the block printing stuff (I did carve one block!), the bin of Sculpey (I haven’t made a clay anything in years), the boxes of model cars (haven’t done one) and all my drawing, painting and drafting stuff. Maybe I’ll bust that stuff out this fall and finish something. Don’t hold your breath.

    EmChoo, your tree is my favorite part :)

  5. This is awesome, next time an elf stays over you’ll have something they can sleep under! :)

  6. Oh my gosh excellent idea.
    I’m gonna go see what fabric I can go shred at this very moment.

  7. A quilt, awesome! I’ll do it after I finish hemming 10 pants I don’t need anymore because I have no job to wear them at. Seeing your guitar makes me want to pick up my guitar instead of getting pricked by needles… I’ll saving your idea for a quilt day!

  8. That video was really inspiring. I want to go create now, so thank you for that.

    Also I could tell what everything was except for the cat. I did think it was a dog. Not a poodle, more like a black lab. But I totally see a cat now. Your quilt is adorable.

  9. Perfect: Sorry, I should have said “I want to sew things on to one half a pillow sized piece of cloth and call it a quilt.”

    i love this post obviously as we bullied you into publishing it. BUT I THOUGHT I’D SAY IT AGAIN HERE.

  10. I have the same pincushion as you! It was the first present my best friend ever gave me when we were 6. Obvs we’re still like bff’s forever ’cause isn’t that like the cutest present ever for one 6 year old to give another?

    Also, also! I love your quilt and the fact that you made a quilt.


    I like the buildings a lot. And the quote where you clarify your idea of quilt.

  12. i wish i was consumed with boredom, as this quilt is absolutely charming. instead i am consumed with anatomy and a period that has overstayed it’s welcome. :(

  13. OMG. How AWESOME would it be to actually make an entire quilt where each square is inspired by a favorite album cover!

    I feel inspired! Maybe just because it’s 1am, though. But…you never know. I graduate in 2 months, so I probs will have a couple months of unemployment on my hands.

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