Tuesday, 15 February 2011

I came, I saw, I quilted

++ a bonus picture of the new fence! Fabric and hard landscaping united!
Well, you absolutely aren’t going to believe this, but the quilting fairies never showed up. Never showed up! I had to quilt that quilt myself! I know! Now, it is very rare that I ever make something and think, oh God that was a performance and it would have been easier just to buy it (cough {croissants} cough) but I shall tell you this: hell will freeze over before I ever handquilt a quilt. I will pay £200 for a quilt from John Lewis which has been produced in questionable conditions rather than get out my needle again. I think Denise of Knitting Kitties commented on my blog before saying she had handquilted more than one, and so I am forced to state officially that Denise is a better woman than me, because I managed one tortured row before I gave in and machine-quilted it. Without a long-arm machine or a walking foot. Now, for those of you who are masochistic enough to ever want to do the same, here is my advice (this quilt is about 72” x 72”, so, a small double quilt – I could probably have gone about 6” bigger all round without it being any worse than it was).
Admire my failure to stitch consistently in the ditch!
- Use cotton wadding (I used Quilters Dream Cotton Select Weight). I once quilted a small quilt with fluffy polyester wadding and it got all round the presser foot, and also it was practically impossible to do without a walking foot. With the cotton wadding I did get a few bits where it bunched a tiny bit but honestly by that stage I would have been happy with anything short of a big hole in the middle of it. And now it is finished you can hardly see the dodgy bits.

- My wadding said you could quilt as far apart as 8”. My squares were 8” so I was initially going to just do lines down the quilt 8” apart, but it really wouldn’t have been enough, so I ended up doing 4” checks. I think you need to quilt it at least this close together.

- Use a strong needle. I broke three needles before I worked out I should use a bigger one.

- Quilt all over first, then fill in after. I was much happier when I had quilted enough that I could take the pins out of my quilt because it had been like wrestling with a demented hedgehog.

- I didn’t use mitred binding, I used Denise’s square binding technique and frankly I think it looks as good as the mitred.

Since I feel I have been through quite an experience with this quilt and am thus going to do the quilting equivalent of an Oscar speech, I would also like to thank Mumma Troll who made a beautiful quilt as a Christmas present for her mum* which inspired me to start my own. Thank you Mumma Troll for sharing your inspirational quilting skillz with the internet! I am now going to go and watch Judge Judy in a slightly cross-eyed fashion and continue crocheting the hideous article which is going to make me look like Mrs Weasley, but in a really bad, non-ironic way.

Quilting. More like an extreme sport than a domestic skill!

* Mum. No.


Mumma Troll said...

Fan bloody tastic. That is a cool quilt, but you know it's only fair you make one for your mum, she sent me a lovely Christmas card so I say she deserves it,lol.xxx

Susie said...

No! Don't give her ideas! Mum, don't you listen!

Amy said...

Beautiful quilt. It is uncanny how much your back fence in Cambridge UK look EXACTLY like mine in Virginia, USA. I thought it was at my duplex and got excited I had such a nice quilt there. Then, I realized I was reading your blog.

CraftyCripple said...

Well done. You know you could compromise and send it to a long arm quilters. It would probably be slightly cheaper than a quilt from John Lewis and Ni children will have been harmed in it's making. Just a thought if you wanted to give it another go one day.

Wool Free and Lovin knit said...

wow, is there anything you Can't do? Writing romance novels, quilting, fence building, critter snapping, crocheting, knitting???? STOP already, you are putting the rest of us to shame!

Susie said...

Ha! ;-). Just came to do a post about an egregious failure of a project and saw this comment. So thank you wool free! But yes lots I can't do ;-). (And a man put the fence up. Concrete is beyond me. I do the unskilled garden labour ;-) ).

I will look into someone else doing the quilting out of interest. To be fair though it wasn't too bad once I got going. The difficult bit was laying it all out and pinning it, because we actually don't have 72" x 72" floor space anywhere. Probably too big a step to move house so I can quilt easier?

Marushka C. said...

Your quilt is beautiful, and so is your fence!

I'm relieved to see that machine quilting is possible on a regular sewing machine. As a very new quilter, the thought of hand quilting anything bigger than a tea cozy leaves me cold.

Susie said...

Marushka - it is definitely possible. Do not handquilt. I cannot emphasise this firmly enough. Not only will it kill you, but you can't do it in front of the tv unless you have an enormous sofa and no-one ever wants to sit next to you, because you will be completely covered by an enormous heavy full-of-pins thing. Also it hurt my finger.

I am so so wussy.

Vivianne said...

Beautiful. :-)

Janel said...

That quilt is just gorgeous!!