Saturday, 1 November 2014

Quilt Love

I'm feeling very proud. 

As you can see, my quilt is pretty much completed. There is about an hour's worth of hand stitching left to do on the binding (which I just could not stay up any longer to do last night), and then it will be done. I did not let such a trifling matter stop me from sleeping under it though. 

I opted for very simple bias lines of stitching for the actual quilting, for which my recently-acquired walking foot was a godsend. However, at one point when I just could not seem to get my stitches very straight I did realise that the screw had worked loose and it was wobbling around all over the place.

I don't think I have mentioned that I have a new baby: this Singer 160 anniversary edition. When I first saw it in a shop window I fell completely in love with it, but it was expensive and I did not need it... but recently I saw one being sold second hand, and after some haggling it is now mine, and I adore it even more!

I am thinking about writing a proper review of the machine, but it is definitely worth mentioning here that it coped beautifully with my quilt, and even the long diagonal lines of stitching, where a huge triangle of quilt sits either side of the needle fitted really comfortably through the throat of the machine.

I had a list of things that I wished to avoid when making this quilt: 

I wanted to avoid buying anything. I did pretty well on this front, although I did buy batting, as I just did not have anything else in a big enough quantity. I used thread I already had (I would have opted for brown instead of cream if I was shopping for it, but it looks fine), the top, backing and binding were all made from my stash, I even found some machine needles which coped well with the quilting. Oh, and I did buy spray adhesive too. This was worth the investment, as it held everything together nicely and did not jam up the machine at all. Neither did it smell bad (it did smell, but not the chemically toxic smell I was expecting), although it did make the oilcloths I had put down sticky- next time I will get a supply of newspaper.  

my workstation 

I wanted to avoid working on the floor. But it was in fact unavoidable- when I was happily machining strippy squares I was not too caught up in how I would manage such a large piece of work in the later stages. The quilt is 2m square, and this process has brought home to me how much space you need for quilting. The spray basting was really really tricky in my available space, and I am amazed that there are no unsightly tucks in the fabric. The necessary rearranging of the furniture meant that I really had to finish the job in one sitting, and this was also something I was keen to avoid. I actually ache today from so many hours spent working on the floor haha!

I wanted to avoid the use of nasty blue water-soluble marker pen, but after unsuccessfully wrestling with every piece of chalk I own I did have to call up the blue marker. I then spent a considerable time with damp cotton buds removing it all which was extremely tedious. Even now there is a faint halo of blue in some places which I will try again to remove. Next time I will invest in iron-off markers. 

There are undoubtedly flaws with my quilt. I will not be holding it up for close inspection by anyone who knows anything about quilting. However, I am happy that it lays flat, it looks pretty, and there were no major disasters along the way. I am also delighted that it is (ever-so-nearly) finished, in time to snuggle under and look at the pretty autumn colours. In total it took days rather than weeks or months, and I would be tempted to quilt again. 

At the beginning of the week I drew up my tie pattern for the Ally Pally ladies who had asked to buy a copy. This got me excited, thinking about whether I could produce a range of sewing patterns. I was just daydreaming, as I don't underestimate how much work there would be in doing this, but I have had several requests for my linen dress pattern. 

We had a lovely trip to Dover Castle this week, and I leave you with a couple of snaps from our visit there. 

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