Mar
27
2009

  Quilting Is Hard Work!

Well, maybe I'm misplacing my troubles by blaming quilting, considering that I think getting up off a chair is hard work now. That's the main reason I got so tired quilting today.

I went to quilt club armed with my pieced top. First I cut and sewed the backing fabric into one large piece, then we used some quilter's spray adhesive to stick the batting to first the front piece, then the back piece. Then I trimmed up the backing fabric to the right size to make self-binding for the quilt edge. Except for sewing the first seam, all those things required standing up and moving around. And then I had to do a lot of pressing to make sure the binding would line up properly when I sewed it. The last thing I did at club was learn to use a tool to help create mitered corners. The instructor really liked the tool, but I was underwhelmed since my regular quilting ruler already has 45 degree angles marked, I can use that at home for the same purpose.

When I got home, I had to take a nap for about two hours. That's how much all the standing and ironing wore me out, and I was probably only moving around for about two hours over the course of three hours spent at club.

After my nap and after dinner, I decided to do some more work on my quilt. I didn't have time to finish the binding at club, but I did want to finish it because the adhesive holding the quilt together isn't permanent, it just helps keep the layers in place, and so I want to get everything fixed down permanently as soon as I can so it won't get messed up. But I discovered that two of my mitered corners didn't line up correctly-- one was a little off, but the other was totally off. So much for the magic little miter gizmo. I ripped the corners and re-did them myself, and now they line up well. So I was able to steam-a-seam the binding down over the front piece, then finish it by sewing it with a decorative stitch.

Sewing around the binding with the decorative stitch was actually more difficult that I anticipated. My instructor recommended that I use some fat thread on top (with thin bobbin thread below) to accent the stitches. It does look good, but the thread broke a couple times, and the quilt fed unevenly in a few places. I only bothered ripping and correcting one place where the bobbin thread was near the end of its spool and the loose end of it got all caught up and made the machine jam. The other places where the stitches just got all close together instead of evenly spaced, I just left. I may reconsider and rip and redo those sections tomorrow. But tonight I rationalized that it just gives the quilt a charming "handmade" look. We'll still see if I feel that way later, I might decide when I'm not so tired that it actually gives the quilt a "sloppy" look and so fix it. I'll have to make the decision whether fixing the areas but risking that the decorative stitch doesn't line up exactly will be better or worse than just leaving the uneven stitches.

I might also put the same decorative stitch around the outside of the green center border. Then I'll switch to transparent thread and stitch in the ditch around all my squares. That will complete the basic part of my quilt, and keep it together enough to use it, and even run it through the wash a few times if I need to. I should be able to attend the May quilt club meeting where I'll learn how to do the rest of the actual quilting. Once I finish that, THEN the quilt will be totally done. So while it won't be complete before its recipient is born, it will at least be usable from birth and should be finished within a month or so.

Here's a link to a slideshow of the Quilting Action Photos my instructor has been taking of me during the last two quilt club meetings. . .