Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sew Let The Quilting Begin - In Baby Steps I Think.....

I am, how shall I put this?,  too scared to tackle the big quilt, and that's the truth.  Just getting the blocks sewn and good enough to put into the quilt has been mammoth, or is that just me?.  

I've managed to do a couple of small things, I think in the States they'd be known as 'Mug Rugs', for me they're smallish place mats for the Coffee Table, thing is, there are issues involved in the art of the Machine Quilt that don't become apparent until you go past a certain size.  It's not like sewing a seam, where it doesn't matter if it's 6" or 60", you'll always be sewing in a straight line, at 1/4" or 5/8" or (whatever your seam allowance is), and the only thing you need to do is keep as straight as you can.  Maybe, if your seam is 60" you might have some trouble balancing it behind the machine, if it slips off the table it could distort your line or your stitches may wobble a bit from being stretched, but with 2 pieces of material, it's not that big of a deal is it?

There are lots and lots of posts on-line from experienced quilters who are Gracious in their knowledge sharing, some of them, most of them really, have tutorials on everything from how to create the a) b) c) pin cushion to the  x) y) z) quilt block (insert your own search criteria here).  Problem is that some of them, I've discovered are little more than fishing hooks dropped into the water to bring you to their On-Line Store or Etsy Shop.  A 'Free' pattern link might also be out of date, so, again, be careful.

See, there ain't no such thing as a Free Lunch!

There's also a sort of assumption that you know what you're doing in some of the tutorials, like doing a translation from Italian of an Instruction Book, and assuming that you understand English.  Presumably because people who're looking at these instructions must have a basic working knowledge or they wouldn't have come looking for directions in the first place.

But what if you're an accident waiting to happen like me?

Sometimes a tutorial is needed that assumes you know nothing, NO THING about what you're about to attempt, the Noddy Guide to doing your first quilt.  There is loads of help with choosing the right tools, fabric, batting, thread etc., etc.,.  Many tutes on creating this or that block and there are oodles of free patterns for certain blocks.   There's talk about borders and bindings and safety pins.  But, I cannot find , or at least I should say, I cannot easily find, the next step.  Usually it says, start quilting???  HOW DO I DO IT? Should I begin in the middle?, if so, should I always begin in the middle?   When I get to the edge do I turn around and come back? or do I stop and go back to the middle again?   What do I do about the fact that the material is starting to move abroad in front of me in waves and ridges.  I've pulled up my bobbin thread - as instructed - but what the hell do I do with it now?

alas the lovely lines of quilting are covered as well as the messes, didn't think of that did I?

I know that there are lots of books and videos available on the art of free motion quilting, and even how to quilt a whole bed sized piece on a home sewing machine, but I've got all these problems and I'm just sewing in straight (ish) lines.  This is a cushion cover (pillow for our non-UK readers) with a centre panel and 5" borders, with mitred corners.  I'm hoping to hit all the snags I'll meet on my bigger project - the Craftsy Block of the Month 2012 , here on a smaller, easier to manage scale, so that I'm better prepared to meet the big one.  This rippling for instance didn't happen on the place mats, but there were no borders there.  The back was a bit of a mess from the starting and stopping though, with stray threads everywhere, so I put an additional backing on it which then hid the bits of quilting that were perfect lines. I'd managed to stitch the laced star outline perfectly, but then I had to do the rest and, DIS-ARSE-TER Dahlings.   So you see.  If there's a right way to do it, a wrong way to do it...Nobody does it like meeeee.

I will file updates to the Quilting Baby Steps and show you photo's of my progress, if there is any, for the minute the sun is shining and I'm off to peg out a load of washing, when the weather's this good, it's towels and bedding galore Chez Misadventurous.  Talk to you later Dear Reader.


1 comment:

  1. Hi there. You kindly left a comment on my blog about my black and white tumbling blocks quilt. I would have sent you an email, but you're a no reply blogger. I recommend that you look at Kaffe Fassett Quilt Romance because his way of sewing tumbling blocks is quite clever and avoids the Y seams. Good luck!