Well, I finally finished the quilt I was making. It took 7 days of about 7-9 hours of sewing to get it done (and an awful lot of fighting with my sewing machine, which is not a longarm and therefore not really meant to do quilts bigger than… oh, 36″), but it is very finished, and Wednesday until next Monday I have declared my mini-vacation, not just because this piece is done, but because I’ve been sewing on average 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday, since May 1st. That’s a lot of bending over my sewing table. My back is thanking me right now for this mini-vacation, let me tell you!
I took so many pictures of this quilt, I don’t even know where to start. Looks like I already shared the fabric and what everything looked like cut out; so I guess I’ll start with piecing the blocks. Here are all of the pieces cut out and laid out in piles:
Holy crap so many pieces! This was the square-in-a-square block (you may have noticed that on the Tutorial page, there’s a non-working link for a square-in-a-square tutorial. Coming soon!), and I pieced 100 blocks to make a 60″ x 60″ quilt. Here’s a pile of the blocks waiting to be trimmed:
After piecing all of the blocks, I trimmed away the paper and excess fabric to a 1/4″ seam allowance – sort of. ^.^; Instead of actually measuring it out, I eyeballed it, which probably wasn’t the best of ideas. It led to some problems when I was putting all the pieces together to form the top of the quilt, but in the end it came out alright… still, I think accurate measuring would prevent serious frustration, so next time, accurate I shall be. Here are all the blocks once they’ve been trimmed (a process that took a lot less time than I thought it would):
And now for the hard part. Sewing each row together with the paper still attached! This is how you paper piece a quilt; you have to wait until everything is put together before you remove the paper, or you could potentially “destabilize” the block (the paper basically acts as a support for the super-fine seams, like where two triangles come together in a sharp point). While I understand this, it also makes the quilt super unwieldy and annoying to sew. I think if I had a thinner paper (I use recycled copy paper) it would have been much easier, but since I’m using such heavy paper… I will admit I might have taken paper off as I went along to make it a little easier. ^.^; Next time, though, I won’t – I felt like I almost lost a few of my edge seams, which would have been most uncool.
I layered this quilt with a 100% cotton batting that wasn’t Dream Cotton, and I have to say I wasn’t as happy with it. The batting pulled a lot, and felt almost like paper rather than fabric. It wasn’t as soft, and I feel like it’s the kind that if you don’t quilt it to death (i.e., stitches every 1-3 inches), it might bunch and gather in places when it’s washed (unless it’s hand washed, which of course is what I recommend).
Quilting this quilt was nothing short of obnoxious. Because the space to the right of my needle isn’t tall enough, and because the space to left of the needle is… well, short… the machine really isn’t meant to support huge rolls of fabric as you try to push them under the needle. I did a very basic design – just criss-crossing diagonal lines – because anything more complicated would have been even more difficult, if not impossible. Must rectify this; looking into used longarm machines. *sigh*
Anyway, here are the pictures I took of the finished quilt in Union Square park, where I delivered it to its recipient (after listing it on Etsy, of course). I am happy to say that she was very pleased with it!
Something I noticed whilst making this quilt requires me to post it as this week’s Tip of the Week: PIN! Another thing that sounds so self-explanatory, but once again something that is absolutely necessary to creating clean lines in quilting. I am notorious for not pinning a thing. I can sew a straight seam on raw edges pretty much with my eyes closed, so pinning is something I rarely ever do. But when you’re working with oversized pieces of fabric and trying to create crisp seams, pinning becomes essential to making sure everything stays exactly where you want it to stay. I actually need to invest in more pins, because I don’t have enough to do rows on a large quilt. Also, whatever you do, do not pin fabric with the point of the pin facing the direction you are sewing in (meaning, don’t let the point of the pin be parallel to your needle). Pin with the point of the needle facing to the right or left of your raw edge, or with the pin perpendicular to your needle. This way you can sew over the pin (slow down near pins just in case; if your needle strikes a pin often enough it will snap) without having to stop and pull it out.
And that’s all for today, darlings. I’m still working on that tutorial for you, and hopefully will have it up and running Monday (in fact, it may be Monday’s post). In the meanwhile, I’m going back to my mini-vacation, which may involve heading to La Mano to glaze a few pieces. But first, I will observe this lovely thunderstorm that’s heading in. Pretty!
Until next time!