Friday, February 27, 2009

I have a confession

I have finished the quilt, you know the quilt that I took about here...now I think I might be addicted the whole using the sewing machine, I am trying to decide what project to do next, maybe another quilt, or I might want to do some dresses for Gwen, I don't know. We'll see, but I don't want to lose my skills, my sewing machine skills that is.
I thought it would be a good idea to document the process of the quilt, for my future reference. So, here it goes...so unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the part where I put the t-shirts together, but that part was super easy and super fast. The only slight problem was when I cut the t-shirts not all the shirts where exactly the same size, and they were about an inch or less off, which made them hard to attach when I had to put on the strips the quilt kit had provided.
But after that I had to lay out the backing, and figure out how to stabilize the backing so I could baste the quilt. I chose to pin the backing to the floor...now in normal instances this would have been ok, but our carpet is carpet squares, so it hurt pretty bad trying to get those pins into the carpet! I felt the need to pull out the hammer, but I survived.
Next I added the innards, the batting. Now for this quilt kit there was no directions for this, I was going off the "book", the quilt kit suggested just putting the backing down with the quilt top (facing each other) stitch around the ends and pull it out and stitch up the whole. I decided that I was going to quilt this "for real" and give it the batting.
Next I put on the quilt top on, and on to the fun part...the basting. So basically you use pins and stabilize the 3 layers together, making sure to start in the middle and not to step/lean on the quilt while you are doing the basting, which by the way is not like basting a turkey at all!
So, next came the actual quilting. Now this was the most difficult part. I think I have mentioned it before, I had huge problems with this. There are things I just don't know about apparently, the rude woman in the craft store felt the need to tell me, which actually I wouldn't have minded if she didn't use the tone. What I didn't know was that sewing machine needles can not be used forever, apparently they get old...I didn't know that, but now I do, thanks rude lady! But I was still irritated because the needle she gave me still did not work...well, she didn't give it to me, she sold it to me, so I went AGAIN and the nice lady gave me the right needle and I was able to finish the quilt. But, the problem I was having was I thought first was the tension, which I was finally able to fix, but minky material is apparently pretty difficult to sew through (FYI-minky is that really soft material they use in baby blankets) and the t-shirts have some writing that the needle just couldn't work through, so it couldn't pick up the stitches, so, I won't let you look to close! Also, apparently the batting you use dictates how far apart you should stitch the quilting. The quilt kit suggested "stitching in the ditch" or cross-hatch. I decided to do both since I needed to do that for the batting. For my quilt, stitching in the ditch means stitching right outside where you stitch the t-shirts together. I also stitched in the middle of the t-shirts. Then I cut the edges even to the top of the quilt.
Here's the back.
And last the binding! This by far took the longest. First I had to take strips of fabric, sew them together, then I had to iron the fabric strips in half, then sew it on the quilt, figure out how to finish the strips so it looked like one piece, I know I don't have pictures of this part, but it took me a while to finish the binding, a couple days to figure out how to get the strip of binding into 1piece. Then after that was done I had to flip the binding over to the back and hand sew it to the back! PAIN! But man it looks pretty...
A close up of the binding, this is the back of the quilt flipped up, so you can see the part I hand stitched.
Well, I know most of you probably didn't read any of it, just looked at the pictures, but I need this for future quilting projects, I wonder what I am going to do next!?

3 comments:

Amy said...

Mel....It looks awesome! Great first quilt! :o) Now I wish I would have kept all my old tshirts instead of throwing them all away. Something to look at for the future....it looks scary but it's SO MUCH FUN! When you do the actual quilting part drop the feed dogs and do some free motion quilting.....I tried meandering on my last two quilts and ABSOLUTELY LOVE it! You don't have to worry about quilting in straight lines and turning your quilt again and again....My quilting friend sent me a video to explain the technique...I'll look for it and send it to you. The binding is not one of my favorite things either.....It takes a long time to get all the strips together...and I always have to read how to match up the strips because I always block it from my memory...haha. Wonderful job....I can't wait to see it in person! :o) You can sew clothes? I'd love to take a sewing class....Making little dresses for Gwen would be so much fun! :o)

Melanie said...

Amy-I think I am too structured for the free motion quilting, the anal scientist in me doesn't think I can handle it...maybe I will try it one day though, it looks beautiful when people do it.

Amy said...

Mel I thought I'd be the same way...I was so nervous about it but it was so much more enjoyable than quilting in straight lines! I've been cooking for years and I'm just now to the point of being able to alter recipes and not having to follow the recipe and measure things exactly....I'm pretty impressed with myself! I've been trying to explain to friends how hard it is to go from a lab setting to cooking in the kitchen and not using the same approach... :o)