Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My First Quilt

I decided to show you the quilts I've made so far. I only started quilting this January, so there are not that many to share yet (but I have a little booklet where I collect quilting ideas, I'm at a whopping 20 new design ideas!).

The Fabric

I picked up two batik jelly rolls in Walmart when I was in New Orleans last Christmas. I actually wanted to go to Michael's or JoAnn's. However, they were a bit too far out and not really reachable with public transport so I had to make due with Walmart's. It certainly wasn't the best quality quilting cotton, but I figured it was good enough to start with. Who wants to spend a fortune when you don't even know it'll turn out ok? Besides I'd already spent a lot on a cutting mat, a rotary cutter and a couple rulers.
And this is what I came up with for my first ever finished quilt:
"First Rainbow"
I called it "First Rainbow". It's about 36"x36".

The Piecing

It wasn't actually the first quilt top I pieced, I made a Strip 'n Flip top first, but then realised that it was rather big, so I decided to make a smaller baby quilt with the leftover fabrics. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to wrangle such a big quilt through my machine for all the quilting and wanted to have a smaller practise piece. Turns out it worked just fine!

I used one strip of each colour and added a thinner black strip, then cut them into three pieces, so that it would end up in a square. If you look closely, you realise the blocks are not exactly square. I didn't use a 1/4" foot at the time, but my normal presser foot and anyway, I was very knew to the whole inch concept. I am happy to report that I've gotten better - both with the 1/4" seam and the calculations with inches!

In the making - late at night

When joining the blocks I ran into another problem: on some sides I had additional black strips, on others there was none...It took some re-arranging and thinking, but in the end I only had to rip two seams. The Quilting Police would probably have stuck me into Quilting Camp for 5 years, no probation. Luckily, I escaped that fate!

The Quilting

I used plain black fabric as backing and a fleece throw from Ikea for batting. Batting is quiet expensive around here (even when ordering in the US online, the shipping costs always floor me). That's why it turned out rather thick and should probably be called a play mat.

I bought specially waxed quilting thread (66% poly, 33% cotton) for the quilting and it worked fine. It is mostly quilted in the ditch - or I should say in, next to, over and in the vicinity of the ditch. :D

The border is quilted rather heavily and I used my foot as guidance. As you can see (don't look that closely, leave me some dignity here, please!) they are not that regular and there were a few puckers, too. Oh well, who cares? Non-quilters won't look that closely anyway! Right? Right?!

Detail of the quilted border
Adding the binding was the only frustrating part for me. First, I mucked up the joining of the two strips (they were twisted) and of course, I had already cut off the ends. So after trying and re-trying, the only thing that I could to was cut off the ends and join them in a straight seam. I also blame this unfortunate event - I secretly call it The Big Binding Bind of 2014 - for now being very obsessive when joining binding strips. I at least check 10 times before cutting anything off.

I tried to sew on the binding by machine, but after doing one side I realised that there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that it would look good. So I ripped it all and hand sewed it. It sure took more time, but the result isn't bad at all!

As of now, this little quilt is still waiting for a new owner. I hope some family member or friend will get pregnant soon! :D

All the best,

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