Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So many challenges with quilting Mexican Tiles!

On Saturday, I finished the grid quilting.  But, I ran out of the silk thread with about a dozen squares yet to fill...I had used up a full spool of silk thread on this small piece!  I did luckily have a different "cream" colour that doesn't appear as any different than the first.

The grid itself ended with different filled squares at each end of the quilt.  Its hard to see in the pictures, but on the one end, the filled grids are up to the edge of the quilt, on the other end there is a plain square at the edge of the quilt. I'm not sure yet how noticeable they might be...probably not at all unless one spent some time looking at the quilt.  Next time I draw a grid on a quilt with applique or around a block, I'll have to spend some time thinking about the size of the grid and how to make it come out even.  The left and right center sides also aren't balanced (meaning, not the same filled squares on each side, but its not noticeable all without really looking at it).

Meanwhile, as I was quilting I kept thinking about the plain narrow border on the left.  Why had I put it there, why had I used the same plain fabric as the applique background?  And how was I going to quilt it without it looking even more as just an add-on.  I realized too late that the smart thing to do would have been to extend the grid into that left plain border.

I doodled and flipped through books and stencils and pdfs...trying to find the right quilting motif for that left border.  I even started to sew a few, and then unstitched them.  Finally I realized that that border had to go.  So, I cut if off!  I did keep 1/4" beyond the seam so that the binding could still be added where it should be if the border hadn't been there in the first place ( don't know if I've explained that right!).

So now I'm looking at the right border, and it has that same plain strip beside the piece strip.  Cut that off too!  Now the pieced strip didn't look right, especially because I had added a thin spacer between it and the main piece...so off went the pieced strip border!

Now I'm left with a borderless quilt...and I think I like it.  I'm really not missing the borders at all. The fabrics and design I chose just wasn't working...I would have liked to keep the strip pieced part of the border but it wasn't possible at this stage of quilting as other borders would be required as well.

I'd like to show you a picture of the borderless quilt, with the binding, but there's still more challenges ahead!...

After the trauma of all that decision making and chopping up of my little quilt, I needed to put on the binding.  I had a few fat quarters left from the set of fabrics that I used in the quilt.  Well, my first choice fabric I cut wrong and ended up with not enough strips.  The second choice I started to sew on and realized I didn't like it.  The third set of strips....wonderful!...but what happened?! I'm short about 3"...no more fabric left!

Shaking my head and putting this quilt away for a while :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wavy borders!  The borders on Jacqueline's Album were straight when I started quilting, but when I laid it out to trim it for binding, look what I saw.  Uggh.  I think its because the centre is so densely quilted, and the border not so much (and I really didn't want it to be heavily quilted). 

So I set out to hopefully fix it, as I want this to be a wallhanging (although its kinda big for that, 56" square).  First, I sewed a scant quarter inch from the edge, all away around.  As I was sewing (with the walking foot on), I gently pushed the fabric into the foot...this is something I learned from dressmaking that helps to set up a piece for easing into another.   I pinned the binding on, one side at a time.  As I was pinning, I laid it flat at the corners where the quilt was flat, and along the edge I pulled the binding taught between pins where there was a little wave on the quilt.  I think I might have succeeded...it looks much flatter now, but only after I've sewn the binding down the back will I know for sure!

Meanwhile, over the last few days I finished all the labyrinth blocks!  Happy dance!  I hope they really are finished...I still might find a few that need fixing when I go the to set them.

I also finished the second block from Hearts and Tulips.

And, instead of continuing the quilting on Mexican Tiles, I ended up making the next to last building block for All Roads Lead to the Sea.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Yesterday I needed to quilt!  I chose to do Mexican Tiles, which is small enough for me to not get too involved and still give some time to Labyrinth.
In the Craftsy class, Design it Quilt it! that I took  several months ago, I learned a grid quilting design and ever since I've wanted to try this with a applique quilt.  Here's my chance!
For the first time in machine quilting, I'm using silk thread on the top. Bottom line thread in the bobbin.  As suggested in the class, the grid lines are sewn first, then the fill.  I decided to outline the applique first, then the grid lines, then the fill.  I think for the other two appliques I will just outline as part of the grid lines/fill.  I think the thin thread is key here, as there is quite a bit of travelling on previous stitched lines. I'm happy with how its looking!