Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dipping my toes into ... quilting ?

Another new kind of project. I've had it in the back of my mind that I'd like to make a quilt someday. Even got so far as cutting flannel remnants into squares. There's a pile sitting til there are enough to work with but up to now, that's it.

A couple of months ago a friend let me know her son and DIL were having a baby and the shower would be at the end of April. My current chat-along on PR goes from sewing to cooking to whatever life throws at us. Lately a couple of the ladies have been quilting and on a whim, I started googling baby quilts. The group was very encouraging and I soon found myself at a local quilting shop.

So, there's lots of pics to follow - I figure I'd document the whole process.
There were a few tutorials I found starting with this one...the inspiration
It was not quite the simple pattern I was looking for LOL but the half-way stage where it was just all squares seemed easy enough. All these instructions produced my quilt top.

I needed 6 fabrics - the lady in the shop was VERY helpful. A good thing since I was lost looking at walls full of fabric. It's one thing to pick one piece for a garment, quite another to pick SIX that go together! She helped me round out all the choices and put them in a good visual order. I did rearrange them a few times but like her original order the best. Go figure - experience knows best :-)

Choices - baby is supposed to be a girl, so girly-ish colours

Strips sewn together

3 strip blocks ready for slicing

Laying out for placement - each row will need the appropriate number of squares cut off one end and reattached at the other

Partway done - the rectangle is forming - the pieces hanging still need to be shifted

16 rows ready for seaming

Quilt top all seamed and pressed - at this point I was pretty pleased with myself.  Little did I know what was to come !

Next up - a trip for batting and backing. This is 1/4 size with everything all just folded over - gave me a good indication of the end product.

All 3 layers cut to size and ready for pinning/basting

Pinning went quicker than I thought but by the time I was finished there was a pin in every square. I had no idea if this was enough or if it was overkill, but this is where I decided to go ahead and start quilting.

Thinking about the actual quilting I pretty much decided on my own to just stitch all the seams 'in the ditch'. I did find a site full of information. That link goes to the instructions for actually doing the quilting.

Here I go - walking foot attached, thread picked, tested on a small sample - good to go...
um, not so much ... whaaat the heck ? Isn't this what the walking foot is supposed to PREVENT !?
a 1/2" tuck at the end of the seam...

A horrible drag the entire length of the seam !

...and a close-up of the stitching (proper tension and stitch length is at the bottom left, but just look a the variation all along the seam. And the part where the stitches are tiny is horrible !)

It took me about 5 days to figure out the problem. Multiple machines, all possible settings, different presser feet - yikes ! Finally I found a few forums talking about defective walking feet. Turns out they sometimes get stuck and can use oiling. I drenched the darn thing in oil and left it for a day. Tried again - still dragging. Drenched it again and tried later. The oiling helped and as long as I sewed really slowly it worked.

Half done

All done

No dragging, no tucks - so far, so good.

I didn't want to do separate binding. There were a few websites I found where you just cut the backing larger and fold it to the front for the binding. This is the one I used...Binding

Turning and pinning went quickly

This way of doing the mitered corners was really easy.

and looked good too :-)

All pinned

...and sewn - heading to the washer

Done and ready to wrap !

So, my first quilt was an all round success - done on time and new parents liked it.

What am I doing now ? Planning another one (this one only used half the fabric)