I’m making good progress with Oliver’s quilt. I accidentally came across a quilt as you go method from Maureen Cracknell that I really liked, and this quilt seemed ideal to try it out on. Basically, you quilt the blocks to the batting and then sew all the blocks together. She then bastes the backing on and quilts it beside the seams where the quilt is joined. On paper, this method seems to have a lot of advantages. Five blocks out of the nine have now been quilted, and the backing and binding fabrics I ordered on Monday came today, so if I’m not finished in time for Christmas, there is something wrong!
Since I haven’t done any quilting since I got back from my holiday (that was the beginning of October!) I think it would be a good idea to take stock of the situation and see what needs to be done. So, here’s my list of quilting projects and the stage they are at:
1. Oliver’s quilt: Piecing the top. Need to decide on design for the reverse of the quilt.
2. Dinosaur quilt: Top pieced, material for back ready. Time to baste.
3. Pink hearts quilt. Top pieced. Decide what is to be on the reverse. Baste.
4. Neive’s Memory Quilt: Technically, this project isn’t started yet, but I’m putting it here so it doesn’t fall by the wayside. I asked my little sister to collect clothes my niece, age now two and a half, has grown out of, to have a go at making a memory for her grown up bed. I keep forgetting to pick up the bag of clothes when I visit.
So, my to do list for quilting looks like this:
1. Clear workspace.
2. Locate unfinished objects.
3. Collect bag of clothes and have a look and see what we’ve got.
I finally managed to give Red Scatter Squares to it’s new owner and she, well, her mother anyway, is delighted with it. In fact, she mentioned matching cot bumpers! This has given me a much needed boost in confidence, and spurred me on to keep on quilting. Once I locate the projects, I’ll get some photos.
P.S. A new project has reared it’s ugly head: Folders! I didn’t think at first that this was going to be a quilting project, but now I think it has enough of a quilting element to be included here. I want to create a travel journal for my sister in law for christmas, and I think the way to go is by starting with an A5 ring binder. (here’s the pinterest board of ideas I’ve collected.) This way it will be fully customizable, and pf course, I can cover it in some delicious fabric. To this end, I ordered some fat quarters of Michael Miller’s forest range, which I’ve been admiring for ages. If this works, I’ve got a load of ideas for other, similar, projects I want to create.
The walking foot (cheap generic from ebay, about £11.00) was a roaring success, lovely even stitches with a minimum of fuss. It was very easy to fit as well. I have also developed a method for keeping the weight of the quilt from dragging on the machine, and corrupting my stitches. It involves an ironing board and a lot of books. (Big books, including the Harley Davidson encyclopedia, a Collins thesaurus and the Encyclopedia of Photography.) These are stacked round the sewing machine to form a platform, as I do not yet own a sewing machine table, and are working pretty well, (Kindles are ace, but there are some things they just can’t do!) spreading the weight of the quilt.
The sewing machine itself is on the dining room table, and I’ve got the ironing board set up level with it to my left. It’s all a bit Heath Robinson, I know, but I have to work with what I’ve got at the moment, and, notwithstanding human error, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I do need to find a way to get a sewing machine table and a machine with a bigger harp space (even one or two inches can make a massive difference) which are within my budget.
Here’s the commandeered Janome 150 of my mother with the walking foot attached:
From the front we can see the cause of some of my human error:
The needle is positioned nearer to the right hand side of the foot, as we are looking at it, than the left. This doesn’t cause any problems in sewing, but it did cause me some confusion as to why my lines of stitching were inconsistently spaced. Once I worked it out, the results improved greatly!
I love online shopping, it’s great. You get all the excitement of buying something, without the hassle of going to the shops, and then you get to be all excited again when it arrives!
Today’s haul consisted of two packages.
The first contained my brand-new copy of Elizabeth Hartman 's Modern Patchwork. I’ve been following Elizabeth’s Blog, Oh, Fransson, for a while now, and I love her quilts, so when I was deciding what book to buy, one of hers seemed a good choice. I’ve only had the briefest flick through at the moment, but I’ll do a more in depth review once I’ve really explored it.
The second parcel, a small, unassuming jiffy bag, contained a walking foot. Quilting attempts without one on the red Scatter Squares quilt convinced me that this little piece of equipment is pretty much essential for even stitching whilst quilting on a domestic sewing machine. Although the limited instructions made me nervous, It attached itself to my mother’s commandeered Janome with a minimum of fuss, and early experimentation looks promising.
I’m waiting on my walking foot arriving before I start quilting red scatter squares. I tried without, and untidiness ensued, so this morning I pieced together this top, built around Anne Kelle’s Urban Zoologie dinosaurs print (Robert Kaufman). I matched the colours to the dinosaurs as closely as possible, selecting, from the Kona solids range, red, kumquat, peapod, bahama blue and canary yellow. I’m pretty happy with how they matched.
Since I only used a small amount of the focus fabric on the top, I decided to go all out and use it for the back as well. I’m really enjoying the current trend of patterned or pieced backs. They add that little bit extra, just finishing the job nicely.
I’ve finished basting my red scatter squares quilt, (I use Sharon Schamber’s basting method, btw) but the tips of my fingers are still protesting at the treatment I have dished out to them! I really must try and find a suitable thimble. When I did embroidery, I found that a traditional thimble didn’t work for me, but now there are a lot of alternatives available, so I’ll hopefully be able to find something to suit. If not, I’ll just have to grow mighty callouses!
It’s a little bare around here just now, but since I don’t have any readers yet, that’s probably ok. If you do happen to randomly find yourself here, this post explains a little about why I want to make quilts. Please watch this space, I promise it’ll be worth it!