Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Gift Quilt

The Christmas season has been survived. Let there be rejoicing! Now I can share with the 'Net what I've been spending the last month working on.

This quilt is based on the "Nough Said" Layer Cake Quilt posted over on the Moda Bake Shop site and was designed by the talented Cindy Sharp. It's a ~ 67" x 67" machine pieced quilt made for my youngest sister Lindsey. I did a bit of hand quilting of the yellow & orange diagonals, but not all of them due to time. Oops.

Lindsey knew I was working on a quilt for her but I didn't discuss much with her beyond collecting the initial input. She wanted "Arizona" colors: turquoise, red, tan. And black, which I forgot. She likes "traditional" looking quilts and "geometric" ones... presumably she would have liked more triangles but I had just seen Cindy's quilt posted when I was about to start and couldn't shake the urge to try it. It's my first quilt pattern followed and I've learned a lot.

There were some hiccups along the way. First the flooding of the basement, which mangled a couple squares. Then my killer cold, which made bending over a sewing machine and breathing at the same time rather difficult. Then I bought not enough border fabric- first time ever. Then I ran out of time quilting the already limited area I planned to quilt. I purchased fabric 11/15, finished cutting 11/28, started piecing 12/12, finished piecing 12/19, and wrapped it up on 12/23.

Overall I'd rank it as a success. Never would have gotten it done in time if I hadn't been unemployed. I've no desire to rush anything like that again, but I am interested in perhaps trying another one at a slower pace that I get to keep this time. Never mind the fact that the Catan Quilt still isn't "officially" done-- not all the tiles have snaps, nor have all the snap bases been added to the quilt.

I'm most happy with the border- which came about due to two failures on my part. First- I've never cut 2.5" squares before and it's soooooooo easy to do that I cut quite a number more then I needed. I wound up with enough to edge the entire quilt, and then some. I also, as mentioned, didn't nab enough border fabric and was forced to fill in the gaps with scrap yellow/orange pieces. These things combined really makes the quilt pop I feel. The strong blue/orange contract is definitely a Rebecca-ism I couldn't prevent from leaking in.

I wish I'd gotten better "final product" photos. Alas. The colors are somewhere between the flash brightened images and the blurry muted no-flash images. I hope the images remain available- they're in a Google+ album... not sure how good of long-term that solution is. Not pictured (how?!) is the backing fabric which was a PERFECT print of cow skulls, lizards, and red diamonds. Very Arizona and it matched the top colors dead on.

Some of the things learned along the way:

  • Iron. Iron everything. Iron before sewing, iron after sewing. Leave the iron on the entire time you're at the machine.
  • Rotary cutting is amazing. I already knew this, but it was a refresher course. Also- having exactly the right plastic guide shapes helps a lot.
  • It never hurts to have & cut extra pieces
  • Always collect input from others when picking out fabric in the store- even if you only have strangers on hand
  • Never spare thread. Always sacrifice thread in place of time/effort. Tangle? SNIP IT- don't bother to untangle it. Always cut more then you think you need when quilting by hand.
  • Quilting cotton is not that expensive. DO NOT SKIMP. Having extra is so calming and I *know* I'll find a use for it- in this case it was "sooner" rather then "later".

The important thing is that Lindsey claims to love the quilt. She said it was a good "Rebecca take on Lindsey interests" or something like that. I hope she enjoys it and puts it to good use while studying.

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