Sunday, December 15, 2013

Colour Blocks Baby Quilt Completed

Well on Thursday evening, other then removing the marking lines, the quilt was finished. My sigh of relief must have been heard in Hawaii.

Even though the quilt came together rather easily and quickly, there were a few hiccups along the way. First of all, I must confess that I broke down and bought some new fabric for the backing.

After a sleepless night last Friday thinking about the pieced backing that I had just finished basting onto the quilt, I got up Saturday morning realizing that this backing just wasn't working for me. So, contrary to my initial intent of only use stash fabrics, I had to give in and head to the nearest quilt shop for new backing fabric.

Alternative backing fabric was purchased on Saturday and by late Sunday afternoon, the original backing had been removed, the new fabric had been pre-washed and prepped, and the quilt was sandwiched and basted. Still on schedule.

I find that basting on a clean floor is still the best way to get the quilt sandwich tension even and taught.

Early Monday morning, I was rolling down the Bernina highway, stitching happily to Christmas tunes. (This year's favourite Christmas tunes are the instrumental jazz play lists found on YouTube. There's a lot of variety available and the longer playlists don't require a CD change.)

By Tuesday evening, the grid was well established and the free motion butterfly was completed. The butterfly is my husband's creation, so I only had to stitch it into existance.

Progress report on Tuesday evening.

Wednesday late afternoon, all of the the quilting had been completed. The only thing left to do on Thursday and Friday was stitching the binding into place and cleaning up the marking lines.

Close-up of the free motion butterfly.

The final step was attaching the binding, for which I used the backing fabric. Because of a primarily white binding on a white quilt top, I added a little accent and contrast to the front of the quilt, with a narrow red trim stitched into the binding.

Close-up of the binding and trim.

So wrapped and packaged, the quilt has been sent on it's merry way and the Bernina has been carefully parked until sometime in early January.

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Colour Block" Baby Quilt

A reminder again that "life happens when you're making other plans" and, as my yoga teacher keeps reminding us in class, "Don't become too rigid and unbendable in your routines that you can't let the moment carry you to new places." So, with that in mind, when a new baby arrives in the family, it takes priority and all else will just patiently wait it's turn. I started this baby quilt this week, and am hoping for completion next week.

These four finished rows of blocks will be placed in the upper half of the quilt.

When I made the "Flights of Fancy" baby quilt (see post of Jan.11/12), I had hoped to make several quilts at the same time. Now, 2 years later, I am finally getting to quilt #2. Still committed to using mostly fabrics from my stash, I am able to make this entire quilt without a trip to the quilt shop. (Once I quit patting myself on the back, I'll get back to work!)

Pulled from the stash.

These blocks had been cut at 3 1/4" square for the previous quilt, so I needed to trim them down to 3" squares.

Using Sally Collin's book "Mastering Precision Piecing" as inspiration, I was reminded that precision should never be sacrificed for speed. Accuracy and consistency in cutting and stitching are the two major contributing factors in a quality product, and in her book she outlines a number of ways to achieve these every time. And slowing down and using the proper tools and aids is a great place to start.    

Sewing the white sashing to the coloured block.
The 1/4" seam allowance is much easier to keep precise with a piece of tape on the machine as a guide. The patchwork foot helps as well, however, I have found that even a minute difference in the placement of the presser foot onto the fabric can effect the measurement after an entire row is stitched together. The masking tape helps keep this placement accurate.

The finished blocks were not perfect, but pretty good.

Another tool to improve accuracy and to help keep the quilt square, is the walking foot.

The bottom row was stitched using the 1/4" presser foot. Not happy with the result, I switched to my walking foot for the other rows (see top row). What a difference it made! I love my walking foot.

The top is now completely pieced and the quilting lines are marked. I hope to sandwich it today and machine quilt next week. (It's got to be in the mail by the end of next week.) Yikes!