Dec
14
2010

  Quilting Again

I started quilting again a few days ago. I have a renewed interest in actually finishing W's baby quilt. It has been sitting in my sewing room, constructed but unquilted since March 2009. At that time, I did the bare minimum of quilting required to hold the thing together-- I just stitched in the seams between all the large squares, and around the edge. While that was enough quilting to keep the blanket from getting ruined just by moving it around, it is NOT enough quilting to actually use the quilt and run it through the wash without any problems. The batting could have bunched up and caused problems.

So I finally got my act together and started quilting the thing, starting with the large square in the middle. While the only decisions I had to make during the piecing process was which color to use for which part of the pattern, quilting is entirely discretionary. Which is one reason I've been putting it off-- since I've never quilted anything before, I was a bit frozen in indecision, not wanted to mess up the quilt by making bad choices.

I finally got over that. After over a year of mulling over different quilting pattern options in my head, I finally made my choices. For the middle, I decided to go with a diamond quilting. I did that first, to get it over with. It wasn't too hard, although my invisible pen ink had dried out and I had to mark the lines with chalk, that was more of a nuisance than a difficulty.

I did the diamond quilting in one evening. The next day I started on the squares. I wound up quilting all four corner squares yesterday, two in the afternoon, and two in the evening. Tonight, I started on the two squares on the short sides of the quilt. I finished one set of two, but may wait until tomorrow to tackle the second set of two. I've caught another cold and am very tired.

The process is a little bit tedious to me, but I get a silly little thrill every time I finish outlining one shape and the stitching meets back up with the starting stitches when I finish the shape. I think it's a silly thrill, because of course the thread is going to meet up with the beginning line when you're outlining a closed shape, it's a fact of geometry. And I'm using a quilting foot on the sewing machine. It's got red line markings out the wazoo, running both horizontally and perpendicularly to the stitch line, so there's little effort required to stitch an even distance from an edge. I figure at some point, the thrill will wear off, but for now, I still marvel that this process works out.

Now that several squares are quilted, the blanket is finally staring to get that puffy look characteristic of a quilt, as opposed to just a plain blanket. I also get a little thrill watching that process take shape, as the quilt gets puffy bit by bit. I'm obviously at a point in my life where I am easily amused.

For now, at least, I am determined to finish this project, and will work on the quilt a little bit every day until it's done. It takes me about 20 minutes to quilt one square, so there's at least three hours of work left. But I can't do it in one sitting, because my back gets tired and my head hurts from concentrating, etc. I still haven't decided exactly how I'm going to quilt the binding edges (there is an edge around the center rectangle, as well as the outside edge), but I'm pretty content just quilting a quarter-inch outline within the larger shapes of each square, so I'll probably continue with that for at least one more shape after I finish the current one. There is one kind of square that might be problematic to do with this technique because there aren't too many larger shapes within the square, it's all very complex little shapes, so I'll have to think about that in the coming days.