Saturday, July 25, 2009

Puckery quilty goodness

Didn't mean to gag you with the superlatives but that's what was running through my head as I pulled the quilt out of the dryer. Puckery quilty goodness. Like I mentioned in previous posts I bought this quilt kit from Joann's several years ago intending to finally give quilting a try and trying to save myself the step of having to pick out the fabrics as well as figure out yardage. Not necessarily my type of color scheme or fabric choices but at the time I figured it would make a great baby gift.

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I put it away then as usual, got distracted with other things including a pregnancy or two. I always thought it would take too much concentration to make a quilt and feared I would lack the follow through for a quilt. But then I started following a few quilting blogs in my reader. Crazy Mom Quilts, Oh Fransson, A Quilt Is Nice and other blogs that featured plenty of modern looking patchwork. Suddenly I actually had the desire to make a quilt. I pulled out the kit and dove in figuring with no deadline I had no pressure.

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The kit included four prints for the top, a cuddly flannel for the back and a plush orange fabric for the final border on the top. The wovens sewed up very well using the quarter inch foot since I suffer from poor spacial skills - let's not even talk about my inability to paralell park.

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That plush fabric was a bear to sew. Despite lining up everything and keeping all the seams tidy, the orange plush wanted to slide all over the place. It wasn't until the last two strips that I finally figured out to pin the heck out of the two fabrics before sewing. I'd love to have a little chat with the person responsible for throwing a slippery knit fabric into a quilt kit designed for a beginner.

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Once the top was sewn on the kit's instructions specified this was to be a birthed quilt. Don't worry, no birthing photos in this post. Birthing means the backing and front are sewn right sides together, leaving an opening, then turned right side out and topstitched. Luckily I had some Warm and Natural batting kicking around because I felt the backing was a bit thin and needed something between the two layers. I layered the backing on the bottom, then the quilt top right side up, and finally the backing, wrong side up. I pinned the heck out of that.

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Then I sewed around the edge using the walking foot, leaving a 6" opening. I then turned the quilt right side out, and handstitched the opening closed. Next, I smoothed the quilt out on the floor and pinbasted it. Then I began to fret.

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I'd done some free motion quilting a few years ago on a small project similar to a placemat but this quilt was bigger and I now had a different machine than my beginner version. So I did what any self respecting type A personality would do, I made a test quilt sandwich. Then I messed around with stitching just to find a speed/hand movement combination that would produce an even stitch. With free motion quilting the feed dogs on the machine are down and the person pushing the fabric under the darning foot is what determines the stitch length. Too fast and you end up with loops of thread, too slow and you get a perforated quilt. Oh Fransson's free motion quilting tutorial is great for walking you through the basics.

Not pleased with my results the first time around I made another quilt sandwich. After the second try I found my sweet spot on the speed selector. With the third attempt I tried to get a feel for the squiggles of free motion quilting.

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Even after my attempts at practicing on scraps the first quarter of the quilting was a little jerky and tight. However, I claim the galloping horse rule.

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What's that? If you can't see an error from three feet away on a galloping horse then no one else can either. Ha! I kept furtively quilting and finally figured out why people are so easily addicted to quilting. I couldn't put it away. Finally it was quilted but the transformation isn't complete until you wash and pucker.

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Tada! Even if the galloping horse rule didn't exist, the puckers of a good wash and dry hide any imperfections as well as softening the batting. The kids kept trying to walk off with the quilt and were only slightly satisfied with promises to make them their own larger quilts in firefighter themes.

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I'll wrap it up and send it to a little baby that I hope will use it to pieces.

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Now, the hard part. Narrowing down what kind of quilt to tackle next and finally to attempt a proper bound quilt.

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2 comments:

Cheryl Arkison said...

Congratulations on your first quilt!
And yes, what idiot puts knit in a beginners quilt kit?

Marielle said...

Ha! You totally said what I thought when I began to put together the quilt. BTW, gorgeous blog and *sigh* what beautiful free motion stuff you have. Will definitely be keeping up with it.