Saturday, September 13, 2008

I did it! I finished it!

Ta da! Here is my first completed quilt, ever. I feel awesome about it. In fact, I feel high from it. I am also irrationally attached to it. I have been carrying it around the house with me just to look at it. Is this strange? Am I coming unhinged? Or, am I just totally in love?

Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments on the previous quilting posts. I took your good thoughts with me into the sewing room - and with your help I accomplished something great! Also, without quilt month, I'm not sure I would have been motivated to get to this project just now. I am so happy that I did though.

The actual quilting wasn't as bad as I expected. I really did need to just jump in and give it a go. I was scared by all the advice I received about getting the layers to lay flat, basting stitches, being sure to start from the middle and work your way out, and on. I thought I would totally mess it all up. But, I just decided to ignore that advice for a moment and went with what I felt the most comfortable with.

The event started last Friday night with my brother-in-law's girlfriend. She helped me tape the backing down and lay the layers flat. Then I went to town with the spray adhesive. This stuff works miracles I tell you. We rolled out the batting (I went with a low loft cotton), sprayed again and then placed the top. We finished with some basting pins for extra insurance.

I did the quilting on Saturday and made binding strips too. For my quilt design I made a square around the outside border and continued with a line down the middle, vertically. Then I went left to right horizontally in a random pattern, following the seams on the front of the quilt. I trimmed it square and attached the binding.

I made the binding myself, which was fine as I had done this before. But attaching it correctly required me to return to the computer for quick tutorial. Well, a big shout out to HELLOmynameisHeather, who has an amazing continuous binding tutorial here. I only ripped one seam on my journey to a finished binding, and that was due to a problem with my machine needle, not the tutorial. As for attaching the back side of the binding, I did that by hand. Here is where I have more questions:

1) Are there special needles for this kind of sewing? Special quilting needles or something?

2) What kind of thread should I be using for this part of the project? Hand-quilting thread, or just the stuff I machine quilted with?

3) Is this why they invented thimbles? My fingers were pretty sore at the end of this exercise, and I've never used a thimble, but maybe this is precisely why they were invented. Any advice here?

4) Are my stitches too close together? I erred on what I thought to be the closer-together side of things for fear that the binding may come unattached. But do they actually need to be this close together? Any experience or advice here would be awesome.

Additional project notes: The pattern is Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs. The fabric for the front is a mixture of patterns (some batiks) that I picked up from a quilt store in upstate New York. The backing is Kaffee Fasset, a floating flowers print in green. The finished size is about 40" by 50". I trimmed the border to make it just narrow enough to fit the backing fabric selvedge to selvedge. I figured why piece the back if I don't have to?

It turned out great. No ripples, no rumples and it seems to be a rectangle. I am totally sold and ready to tackle another one. Good thing I signed up for the BTRS lap quilt swap!


jacquie said...

yippee for you!!! i know about dragging a quilt around with you after you finish want to touch it and look at it..what a great feeling. as for your questions...i use a standard needle (not too big not too small) quilting needles (betweens) are too small for me to hand sew a binding. i also use regular thread and no thimble. with those small quilting needles you would definitely need one...i make my blind stitches about a 1/4 inch apart...that's what my mom taught me, but i don't really know what's "correct." i'm sure yours will be just fine. again, congratulations! now, on to the next.

K, M & little C said...

It looks amazing! Great job. I love the backing fabric and even more I love how much you love it. That's why we make things ourselves, right? Cause you don't drag around a quilt from Bed, Bath and Beyond!

Frogdancer said...

Well done! I, like you, am primarily a knitter, and I think quilting is similar in a lot of ways to knitting. Just not as portable.
I make my quilts for my boys, so I also err on the side of caution and take my time sewing the binding on. The last thing I want to do is go back and have to repair a quilt because I rushed it. My quilts are made to be used, so they need to be sturdy.
Be warned!! I made my first quilt in January. I'm now working on my 6th. They're a little addictive.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. It is beautiful, you did an amazing job! I'll make sure to post about this one:)