Saturday, October 2, 2010

On being afraid of the feed dogs

After many cups of tea and neglecting people/food and ignoring conversations/noise going on around me I have finished this baby quilt.

Its not my finest work by a long shot, but in a way its the most "quilty" I have done yet - let me explain...

The quilt top I made from stash fabrics, all cut to a 15cm x 15cm template and sewn together in a 7x6 grid, all seam allowances the same, of course.  Sounds very basic but I had a terrible problem with matching the seams and there was a LOT of wonkiness at the junctions of the pieces.  I am not being nit-picky people, this was serious, and noticeable.  The funny thing was that around the very edge everything matched up pretty neatly.  This was so very frustrating and I almost chucked the whole thing out.  But then I thought to myself that if I wanted a totally perfect quilt I could go to a shop and buy one made in a factory by a computerised sewing machine.  So I embraced my little bit of handmade wobble and pressed on.

When I finally took the quilt top to the fabric shop to find a suitable backing fabric I agonised with a capital A over cotton vs flanelette backing, and batting vs a second layer of flanelette.  I am totally self taught in this quilting caper and I just can't make the leap to using actual batting (plus it seems you might need superhuman powers to take the enormous with a capital E roll of it to the counter so they can cut you off a relative sliver of the stuff).  There I said it, I am afraid of batting.  I am afraid of putting it in my machine, I am afraid of these things called "feed dogs", they might bite, and I am afraid of wobbly quilting lines.

So the double layer flanelette won out.  I actually "quilted" a layer of white by "stitch in the ditch" down the seams that matched up on the quilt top, and then did the old trick with the pink backing by basting the edges of all layers together and finally binding the edge in white.  And yes, I do a kick butt mitred corner, if I do say so myself.

I think I need a quilting class so I can experiment further in a controlled environment where there is scope for discussion and consultation, and therapy for when it goes wrong.


Megan said...

it's gorgeous! I am like you, a total newbie to quilting but I have grand plans! actually I want to make a quilt very similar to yours with the patchwork squares- I have tried a baby blanket with batting and a fur backing and I had sooooo much trouble sewing it all together it ended up being a lot smaller than it was meant to as I had to keep trimming my mistakes! I've got a walking foot now though so am going to have another go, probably with batting and a thrifted sheet for the backing :)

Yana said...

your quilt is gorgeous! the beauty of handmade is not the perfection of it, but the time and love that goes into making it. whoever it is for will love it more than a perfect store bought. besides, we tend to be our harshest judges, so i'm sure the quilt turned out pretty nice :) and on the batting... maybe practice with a mini quilt or take the class. i'm sure you will conquer it if you set your mind to it :) happy quilting!

Gina said...

You know what? I feel exactly the same. I can't manage to get things to meet up and my stitches are so uneven, and the walking foot I've been trying out seems to make my stitching worse! I need lessons. And yet, when I take a picture of things, they still look good, just like your gorgeous little quilt right there.

And yes, you do kick butt with the mitreing!

Bellgirl said...

Same here- too scared to drop the feed dogs, and my corners never meet up! I choose forgiving patterns ;)

I like the flannelette idea, better than batting for a baby blanket really. Perhaps you could find a local sewing group? I learnt every step of quilting from my sewing group. And you could teach them how to do your kick-butt mitred corners!



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