I decided to see how the iPad would do at a photo of the quilt while I had it laid out. It did better than my phone, and it wasn’t difficult to get the whole thing in, even though it is now the same size as the table. It looks like I only have a few rows left to go now.
I have made more progress on my quilt, and have been thinking about how I want to do the actual quilting. I am now up to 5 completed vertical rows, and have the sixth planned out and pinned together. And my back/pelvis/everything is suffering for it. I look forward to non-pregnant quilting, I am sure the consequences will be much less painful. Of course today I can’t solely blame quilting, because we also spent the day putting up a wall decal in the baby’s room and that meant being on my feet and a lot of bending and moving. At least I hope this pain is just from quilting… I don’t want this to be the new normal!
So, I was watching a few beginner quilting videos on Youtube today, trying to figure out if I want to attempt a new (for me) quilting technique… and Sean has been badgering me to tell him what I wanted for my birthday (I honestly couldn’t think of anything). One video recommended getting a table extension for the sewing machine, which is something I wanted, but didn’t think they made my for machine. Sean was sitting with me watching videos on his own laptop, and at his prompting I did a quick search, then called Bernina to inquire… they have ordered one for me and the birthday present dilemma is solved!
The table is going to be helpful in maneuvering the quilts. The bigger they get, the harder it is to shuffle everything around. It is also going to be very helpful when I start on the actual quilting. I had been thinking I would just do another easy straight stitch (aka “stitch in the ditch” – stitching over existing seams) on this quilt, but I am starting to have braver thoughts about doing some free motion quilting and make some meandering stipple stitches across the quilt. Of course, I will practice on some scrap first to see if I should attempt it on an actual quilt… it is still pretty intimidating, and takes a lot of practice.
I snapped a somewhat better photo than the previous one, it will be the last until I have it at least completely pieced together… no point in constantly posting photos of a growing lattice of fabric, they would all pretty much look the same and there is no way I can get the whole thing in one photo easily.
Today I stopped by Wish Upon A Quilt on my way home to take advantage of a sale. Today was the kick off for “passport” purchasing for the Quilt Tour, and all participating stores had sales. Wish’s sale was 20% off three or more items. Bernina had a 20% off all fabric, but I decided to go by Wish instead because I needed more of a fabric I had purchased there before. I am actually starting to like Wish more than Bernina. I love Ursula at Bernina and how their fabric is arranged, but Wish has many more packs of precuts and other fun things that give me ideas on what to make next.
I am looking forward to the Quilt Tour, it will be a good way to check out new shops I never knew about. Of course, by then we will have a one month old baby… so hopefully by then I will have mastered the art of packing the kid up and venturing out on my own. Since I will be on maternity leave, there probably won’t be much room in the budget (or any) for purchases, but it will still be good to see all the stores and get ideas for future projects. Buying the passport also means I will be entered in drawings for door prizes at the shops I visit, and each shop included a free pattern with the passport. Not all of the patterns are something I would make, but there were some that I liked.
I may have gotten a little carried away at Wish. I went with the intention of getting what I need to finish my lattice quilt: fabric for the back, more black fabric (I’m a bit short for the binding due to a pregnancy brain mistake) and batting. I ended up getting those three things and several others, including a new pattern, a jelly roll for that pattern, a quilt kit (pattern plus front fabric), and some odds and ends like binding safety pins. When I came home I told Sean I didn’t need a birthday present because I was pretty sure I had just bought my own. Quilting can be expensive! Needless to say, I should be busy for a while with quilting projects, especially considering I haven’t even started on the burp cloths and changing pads I bought material for last week.
The lattice quilt is progressing nicely, and is larger than I had thought a lap quilt would be. The thing is the same length as our kitchen table (seats 6). I have all the “units” I mentioned in previous posts assembled, and have spent the past couple nights piecing it together. I have completed the first two vertical rows and have several more left to go. I am not sure how fast I will make progress on it, I have made it this far mostly out of stubbornness. By the end of the last two nights my back has been killing me. Tonight I nearly called it quits, but kept going because I really wanted to complete the second row. I think when I am done with this one, the changing pads and burp cloths will be next just because they should be quick and simple… my back can’t take another quilt until after the baby is born, and at that point it depends on how life with an infant goes.
Here is a quick photo I snapped of part of the quilt. I didn’t bother trying to get the whole thing in the picture.
I started on the new quilt I posted about previously. First was cutting a billion squares and rectangles, and now I have begun piecing them together.
The process for the quilt is kind of like putting a puzzle together. First I have to assemble “units” and then later I will piece those units together. The first unit is a rectangle made up of two black squares, one colored square, and one colored rectangle. I finished making all 17 of those last night.
The next two units both use the same T shape as a base. The long part of the T is a colored rectangle, with two black squares stitched to either side. I have made the first 7 of those… only 104 left to go.
I am looking forward to making more T pieces when I get home tonight. Once I hit my limit with those I will have to take some photos and post them, although it really isn’t anything exciting at this point. It is getting harder to sit at the sewing machine for long stretches, the belly makes it hard to lean in, and it kills my back to be bent over the machine. I have to try to remember to get up and move around occasionally, or I will be in so much pain afterwards.
I made about 13 more T sections last night before my back had had enough. I spread out some of what I have made and snapped a photo so you can see what I am talking about. I am still not very sure about the fabric I chose (it was rolled so I couldn’t see what I was getting until I got home) but I am still considering this a learning experience, so I am not too worried about it. If I like the quilt I will make it again and put more thought into fabric choices.
I still can’t find that damned heart-shaped button to finish the baby quilt. I have looked just about everywhere I can think of locally, and scoured a few sites on the net too. I will have to put more time into an internet search I guess, because that is probably about the only way I am going to find one at this point. The are colorful plastic hearts galore, and miniature wooden hearts, but no 1-inch wooden hearts so far. Argh! So close to being done… one stupid, elusive button is all that stands in the way.
But I do have a new project to keep me busy in the meantime. While I was looking for a button at Wish Upon a Quilt, I picked up a pattern for a lattice lap quilt and some fabric (and I feel like I am cheating on the nice folks at Bernina). This one is labeled as intermediate, so I guess we will see how I do. I am not sure I would have chosen this one if I had read the instructions first though, it is a lot of cutting. Like, a LOT. As in 238 rectangles of the colored fabric, 270 squares of the black background fabric, 31 squares of the colored fabric… and I am worried about failing to make good cuts and having everything off-kilter instead of looking like a nice straight weave.
For the colors I picked up a jelly roll (40 precut 2 1/2″ by 44″ strips sold in a roll) which helped reduce the cutting somewhat. The problem with buying a roll like that is that you can’t really see the fabrics until you get it home and unroll it. When I opened the roll I got it wasn’t really what I was expecting, but I am going to use it anyway and see how it turns out. I already made all the cuts with the roll, but screwed up a couple times so I need to go pick out a similar fabric to make a few more rectangles. And by a couple times I mean I ended up with 230 instead of 238… but I guess that isn’t too bad given my lack of experience.
I will wait to get that fabric until I am done piecing together as much as I can with what I have though. I am working my way through the 270 little squares right now, and have no idea how many I actually have or how many I will end up with since I have messed up some cuts with that as well. So, I figure I will just cut as many as I can out of the black fabric, put as much together as I can, and then see what I am lacking.
I have no idea what I want to do about the quilting of it… should I just stitch along the straight lines? Take it to a free arm quilter that can make pretty swirls? I don’t know. I guess I will wait until I get it together and see if any ideas come to mind. I just hope that a) the colors work out and b) that it comes out looking straight and c) I don’t screw it up.
The quilt is nearly done! I just need to find a heart shaped button before I can finish. The trees each get a round button, and the yo-yo (round thing in last pic) gets a heart shaped button. I already picked up the round ones, but I might have to get different round buttons depending on the color of whatever heart shaped button I manage to find.
I think I did pretty good for my first ever sewing project, but there are definitely flaws. I learned a lot in the process though, so hopefully the next project will come out better. Speaking of which, what should I make next?? So many options. When I was at that quilting shop last week I saw so many fabrics that were begging me to make them into quilts, and at Bernina I saw some patterns for tote bags that looked like they might be a fun project. I am kinda thinking I will go with a tote bag just because I think it would make a good “emergency baby kit” for the car(s)… holding diapers, change of clothes, etc in case we are out and about and realize we have forgotten something essential. Plus a tote bag will be way cheaper than a quilt!
All of these pictures are pretty crappy. I took them with my phone in poor lighting, so the colors are all kind of wacky. But I guess that is what I get for working on the quilt so late at night, and then trying to take photos of it.
In this pic you can see the full quilt…
Here we have a close up of the binding…
A close up of the yo-yo laying in its place, I will stitch it in once I find the heart button.
The midsection of the quilt with the yo-yo and buttons laying in their places.
I am getting the quilt pieced together now. I just finished putting all the panels together, next step is adding the border. Then it will be on to the part that intimidates me the most… quilting. It involves adding the batting (inner fluff) and the back fabric, then stitching inside the same stitch lines that I have already made piecing everything together. Scary. That will probably be the part where I completely screw the whole thing up.
There have definitely been some more lessons learned lately, and I am still improving. For one, when I visited Bernina to pick up the batting I asked what I was doing wrong when my blanket stitches came out loose. I wasn’t sure if I was using the wrong thread or if it was me. The clerk told me that my sewing machine prefers cross wound thread, and that I should try using the vertical spool holder instead of the horizontal spool holder I had been using. That definitely made my stitching look better. And there have been other lessons as well, everything from rotary blades are sharp to not forgetting to turn my seams the right direction when I stitch over them.