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Stitching Along

October 27, 2008

Embroidered flower closeup, originally uploaded by Lisa Ridolfi.

I (N.) should go ahead and warn anyone that is waiting for the next installment on bowmaking that’s it’s going to be awhile. J. started a new job and is gone 14 hours a day seven days a week. I know insane right? His long work hours have left me with the bulk of the cooking, cleaning, shopping etc etc. But I do still manage to find time to work on my quilt kit. I’ve never quilted before and I’ve sewn very little so instead of diving in I decide to dip my pinkie toe in. I ordered this kit from Blackberry Quilts. They sell a number of other kits as well as fabric and supplies. I ordered it in the crib size and it was about $80 with shipping. It came with precut 1930’s reproduction fabrics, border pieces, binding, backing and batting. I realize it would have been more original if I had picked these out myself but fabric stores overwhelm me and I didn’t want to end up with a bunch of excess fabrics. The kit also came with instructions and the promise of additional assistance via email if needed. So far I haven’t used that but I have gone online to see tutorials.

As you can see from the link it’s a pretty simple triangle pattern. It took a day to make all the squares and rows and another day of combining all the rows. I did everything by hand which slowed me down but I still didn’t end up with the triangles and squares perfectly aligned. And honestly I’m okay with that. With the top fully assembled including the border pieces now came the tough part- deciding how to quilt it. I knew I was going to do it by hand partly to see what it’s like and partly because I don’t own a sewing machine so the design needed to be simple. I decided to stitch in the ditch around the triangles and I’m still undecided on what I’m going to do on the borders. They are pretty wide so I need to do something.

Since I was hand quilting I decided to thread baste the quilt sandwich together. My instruction say to lay the backing, batting, and quilt top one on top of the other on carpet but we don’t have a lot of that so I used the hardwood floor. It slipped around a bit but no too much. I used straight pins first (one every 4in) and then thread basted a giant x followed by parallel lines creating a grid pattern. The lines were about 4 inches apart. I used a yellow thread to stand out and left long tails to make them easier to pull out (you know in a year when I’m finally done). This actually took me over an hour to do which made me wonder what it would take to do this on a king size quilt. Pin basting takes a matter of minutes but I read it’s better to thread baste if you are going to hand quilt and it makes sense that you wouldn’t want safety pins pulling at the fabric.

That done I could finally get around to the quilting and it’s a lot harder then I thought! I bought a wooden embroidery hoop and a leather thimble but getting the needle through three layers of fabric and making tiny stitches is impossible. I have to go all the way through the fabric and back up again. I can’t even get a single stitch on the needle. Well I can but it’s a really big stitch which isn’t what I want. I started in the middle and have two squares done. Now that it’s pieced and basted it can travel with me and I imagine I’ll find quite a bit of time to work on this week when I’m traveling. Hopefully by the time I start working on the borders my stitching will be more uniform. Stitching in the ditch means you can’t really see the stitches around the triangles but in the solid white border they’ll be more evident.

Right now I’m not sure if I’ll make quilting a hobby. I bought some more fabric on one of my trips (a fabric store was going out of business) and I could make two quilts out of that. And since I have it I’m determined to use it but after that I’m not sure. I’ve already thought of two original quilt ideas I just don’t know that I would see them through. I guess once I’ve got this one completely quilted I’ll have a better idea.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2008 8:06 am

    It’s a great winter hobby. I’ve only made one full-size quilt. It was for my dad last year for Christmas. I made 5″ x 5″ squares, and I used an old green flannel sheet for half the squares and old jeans for the others. On each of the jean squares I sewed one of his boy scout patches from when he was young. Then I sewed it all together in a radom pattern and used tufts of red yarn to quilt it (I wanted it to look like something my grandmother would have done a long time ago). I used a sewing machine so I was able to make it in 2 days. He loved it!

    I have quilted by hand before, I made my mom a quilted stocking for Christmas and I made a few barbie quilts when I was a young girl.

    I don’t do much quilting now, I love to sew, but curtains are my item of choice to make. Perhaps I’ll make a quilt this winter.

  2. knutty knitter permalink
    October 29, 2008 3:17 am

    Left over fabric is the best! You can be so much more inventive with it. I’m doing a Christmas tablecloth at present. All sorts of bits an pieces made into one style of block including a whole heap put together by family and friends and machine embroidered by them with their names – that got interesting. Especially the one made by my brother in law!

    Youngest has just made his first cushion. Have a look at my blog. (Kneedly Knots) He is so proud of it. Now he wants to try a proper quilt and I think I will let him do that over the Christmas holidays.

    viv in nz


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