Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homey weekend

Such a wonderful day today. It snowed almost all day, though nothing stuck. We had our first fire in our fireplace and I sat in front of it and finished my very first quilt. This is truly a remarkable achievement, not just because it was my first quilt, but because I ACTUALLY FINISHED A PROJECT. And guess what, friends and family who know my tremendous record with projects? It took me less than a year! Actually, less than six months! I think! (You may recall I am still working on a larger quilt, for the same little girl who received this one, to hold her over until the big one is done).

The finished product, in my most domestic picture ever:

In any case, it is done, adorable, and with its new owner already (I was just too excited to have finished it!). It's a doll quilt that began as an experiment with scraps to learn a new piecing technique, but because I was using less-than-great fabrics and not really being super careful, it turned out a little wonky and I decided the pattern would just be too difficult for a larger scale. (Please note it is actually very simple, but I have a long history of struggles with triangles and getting them to look right.). And so the little pieced top was relegated to by sewing basket, where it sat for months until...

Fast forward to last month, when I got a beautiful new sewing machine that could do everything I always wanted and more! I had been using my mom's trusty workhorse, but then I managed to render it inoperable, and couldn't get a new walking foot I bought for it to work, so I went in to get it repaired and walked out with a lovely mechanical Pfaff. Well, I just had to see what it could do, and one thing I really wanted to test was quilting. Why only practice on scraps, when I had a little quilt top itching to be used? And if I messed it up, it was only practice anyway!

I made me a sandwich, did some practice quilting on little scraps, then sat down with my doll quilt. I am so glad I did this because it was a great learning experience. You can actually see, very clearly, my progression down the quilt as I figured out how to get the pattern I wanted. I just did a simple stitch-in-the-ditch, but since I've never done this before, let alone with zigzags, it took me until the last row to have it down pat.

The back. Can you see the progression? (Hint: bottom up)

If this had been a "real" quilt that I had spent hours and hours piecing, etc., I would have ripped out the seams I didn't like and done them again the right way. As it was, I rather liked being able to see the changes and learn from my mistakes.

After the quilting, I squared up the edges (another first! This makes a HUGE difference!), and measured and cut the binding. I would have loved to have used a contrasting dark blue fabric, or even maybe a yellow one, but since this was a scrappy quilt, I was limited to what I had, and the best fit was the same fabric as the backing. Oh well.

This was also the first time I had ever done binding, so the experiences was very similar to the quilting. The first part looks VERY different from the end, but I learned a lot along the way! It's phenomenal what a difference the binding makes! It looks so much more finished with it. I made the binding very narrow, since this is such a tiny quilt, but in retrospect, I could have made it a little wider and been fine.

I can't wait to see what it looks like once it is washed (I was too excited to give it to its new owner to even do this). I hope it gets that nice soft, crinkly look I love in quilts, but we shall see. Maybe the quilting needs to be closer together to get this? If so, it will be another learning experience!


Gretchen said...

I love it! and the photo, looks uber-domestic. Practically out of a home magazine! Congrats on a project finished!!! A super milestone!

Keaki said...

It looks great! Good job!