Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's Been Keeping Me?

A little of this:

Quilting

A little of that:

Quilting

All with the help of my lovely (and toothy) assistant:

Quilting

My spring break came and went, and when it was over all I had to show for my efforts were a quilt top, a receipt for a walking foot for my friend's sewing machine, and some missing cash. Oh, and some really adorable navy blue backing fabric from another local fabric store, Peapod Fabrics. It's the one with the owls on it, fourth from the top in the second photo.

Between Peapod and Verb, I have two shop owners flashing really great fabric selections at me on both sides of the Bay. Peapod recently changed to a new space (just like Verb!) in a location that is conveniently located across the street from my favorite laudromat1 and one of the cafes in my top-five list. I didn't know that the store had a blog, and so a few months ago when I walked past their old location and saw the windows boarded up, I was crestfallen. I didn't know they were simply moving, but I got all the giddy excitement of realizing that the shop had moved (not closed) while doing the laundry a few weeks ago. Since then, it's only been a matter of time before I found an excuse to start a fabric stash support the local business.

Just like when I started knitting, I've been approaching this whole quilting thing by assuming that it's not very hard to do, and that any mistakes I make won't be too hard to fix along the way. I think one gets more enjoyment out of tackling a big project early on when one is not turning oneself into a nervous wreck worrying about screwing it up. So when I forgot to wash all my fat quarters before cutting? I decided it wasn't a big deal, and washed the pieced top with the backing and border fabric before cutting or adding the borders. The edges of the quilt top frayed, and I trimmed them. No sweat there, although the husbeast practically had a heart attack at the matted mess of frayed strings I blithely cut off the seams.

A bigger mistake was that I didn't read through all those library books I checked out before making the backing, so I cut and sewed the backing to be exactly the same size as the quilt top. Whoopsie! Of course it makes sense to me now that you'd want to have an extra few inches around the edges in case things shift around during the quilting process. My solution is to trim an inch or two off the six-inch outer border before quilting. Seems like my mistakes are mostly going to result in my quilt being slightly smaller than the finished dimensions of the pattern.

Quilting

Another change I think I'm going to make to the quilt is to skip the applique part. I actually love the way the quilt looks without appliqued flowers on it, so it's going to be left as-is. There are two really great things about this quilt: First, I'll probably have a finished quilt (or at least a quilted-but-still-needs-binding quilt) before the summer. Second, I'm getting very inspired to start seaming the mitered square blocks into strips.

Speaking of blankets, did everyone see Mason-Dixon Knitting's Mitered Crosses Blanket pattern? Yeah, I'm already plotting another one. I've got four skeins of Noro Kureyon in some insanely vivid rainbow colors waiting for their destiny, and I'm thinking ivory Cascade Ecological Wool for the borders. I'm blanket-obsessed over here.

1Trust me, when you live in a large city you acquire things like a favorite laundromat.

2 comments:

wildtomato said...

Your quilt looks fantastic!

I've been contemplating sewing due to all the vintage-esque skirts I want to make myself. I'll have to check out peapod fabrics. I don't even sew yet and I want it all!

Hayley said...

Hi Jessica... you might not remember me but we met in Hawaii at a Ukelele lesson! I was clearing out some paper today and found your blog address again! Looks like you've been really busy doing lots of awesome quilting! I don't have the patience!! Hope you and Nathaniel are well!!
Hayley
:)