Saturday, March 19, 2011

I found it!

One of the reasons I set out on this journey to make 52 quilts this year was because I want to get better at quilting. and the best way to do that is to make as many quilts as you can.  I had a bit of an "ah ha" moment last week.

My big problems are with my pieces measuring up at the end ( I feel I tried everything for this, and continually I have to just fudge it a bit at the end... How do people increase their precision?) and with the quilting together of top, batting, and back.

I think I discovered one of my problems with the actual quilting process.  I've been using the wrong batting.

From my early quilting days on I've loved high loft fluffy batting.  I've been trying to machine quilt and free motion quilt with this stuff and I've been successful, but it was so difficult to do that it almost wasn't worth it.

When I was putting together my Sunbonnet Sue Symphony I decided to use some batting that my mother had brought me from her stash.  I had it on hand and the piece was the perfect size.  This batting was a dense cotton that you could probably sleep under as a blanket itself.  I laid out the backing, and put the batting on and it was amazing.  The batting stuck to the backing fabric like crazy.  All I had to do was smooth it out to get the ridges and wrinkles out.  I put the quilt top on it, and I have never had such an easy time quilting a quilt in my life.  The batting was beautiful and it all held together amazingly well.  It took hardly any pins, and while I was quilting I hardly had to struggle with the quilt to feed it through the machine.  It was awesome.

I am converted.  It's cotton batting for me from now on.  No more Polyester!!

Quilt #14 - I love Lucy Checkerboard.

Ok, again, they can't all be victories.  Why is it that when I set out to do something that I think will be very simple it ends up being a big problem.

So, for the lucy quilt I wanted to make something fluffy and simple.  No quilting stitches, just a plain old tied quilt with polyester batting.  I tried to do an enormous checkerboard, and to begin with, I think the patches were too small for the business of the pattern.  To add to that, There were a few times in the cutting where it got slightly off... and a few times being slightly off means big troubles in the end...  So, my backing fabric was too small on one side and I had to add more to it.  When I started sewing around the outside edge to turn it, I realized that it wasn't just the dimensions... it was as if the top and the back were two different shapes!  How did my quilt top end up being a RHOMBUS or some such nonsense??!! 

I did finish it.  I do sleep under it when it's chilly outside, but this is not my best work.  Lessons Learned:  It is very difficult to be both fast and precise. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quilt #13 - 9-Patch Handbag (Quarter of the way there!!)

I absolutely love my little handbag.  This bag was made out of a pack of charm squares and an old pair of my corduroys.  The cords were from the era of the cargo pant, so there were plenty of zippers, clips, pockets, and buckles to play with.

I used a swirl pattern for the quilting, and I'm pretty proud of it.  I'm loving my new-found quilting movif abilities.  After a year of loops, it's nice to be proud of the quilting itself.  I did not use a pattern for this little guy, I just made it up as I went.  Here's the full photo album: