i made a quilt :D

i can’t believe how quick the whole process was. okay so it’s only a doll size sampler (actually it’s for bender - but he doesn’t mind that it’s rather girly), 15”x21”ish, but it went from conception to completion in the space of a single day.

i decided to get my machine out and give it a good going over to see if i could fix the not-going-in-reverse problem, which magically disappeared even before i cleaned out the wodges of felt that had accumulated around the feed dogs. so i thought why not have a go at a tiny practice quilt. the fabrics are dispensible cottons from stash (i.e. it wouldn’t ever be my choice of colour scheme) stitched with (shhh!) polyester thread. all the cutting was a joy, finally putting my rotary cutter to good use. we (madam was my able design and production assistant for the bits that were child-proof at least) decided on a really basic design, but i wanted to try just a little bit of more complicated piecing, hence the star

the patchwork went mostly to plan, i was particularly impressed with how well my machine coped with chain sewing the pieces, it fed pretty much flawlessly, even on the triangles, which i didn’t expect at all. maybe it just responded well to a little tlc, i’m not sure i’ve ever oiled it before. i didn’t expect to get any further than finishing the top today, but when it was done with time to spare i dug out some machine-felted wool that fit perfectly. it’s rather stiffer and denser than the wadding in manda’s quilt and it doesn’t indent with quilting in the same way, but worked perfectly for a practice and i’m sure i’ve heard of blankets being used as wadding. the only problem is that it’s dark, and slightly visible through the orange fabric.

i expected the quilting to cause some problems, for lack of a walking foot, and although i’ve no idea how much a walking foot would improve things i was pleasantly surprised at how unhorrific it eventually turned out. despite copious basting i did get a significant amount of slippage - not enough to cause puckering on the top, i worked from the centre and lifted the presser foot at intervals to relieve the bunching - but enough to make the top overshoot so far that it pushed past the edge of the backing, even though i’d cut it larger than the top. this left me around half an inch short of fabric on the backing side, so i widened the binding on the back to cover it

it was the stitching in the ditch that i found unexpectedly fiendish. although it improved as i went it took utmost concentration and i still wasn’t at all happy with it. having looked very closely at manda’s work i realised that the puffing up of proper quilt wadding and using a properly matching thread actually does a great deal to disguise less than perfect stitching (and i had taken hers to be flawless until then), so didn’t feel quite so bad.

hand stitching the binding to the back didn’t take as long as i’d feared - the whole thing was gratifyingly speedy, i’d expected even a small quilt to be a week or so’s work. i can see that i could easily get a taste for it, although i’m starting to wonder what on earth we’d do with all the quilts i already want to make. we only have 2 beds in the house!

oh must plug the book i unexpectedly found at the local bookshop: linda seward’s patchwork, quilting and applique, that held my hand through the whole process.