Sunday, February 22, 2009

Monkey Quilt & the importance of pinning

I finally finished the baby quilt I started at the end of December. Now I'm very excited to get started on a quilt for my own baby who is due at the end of May. I set myself the rule that I couldn't start anything new until this one was finished...

I'm pleased with how the quilt turned out, and it didn't take me all that long to put together in actual cutting and sewing hours - it was just finding chunks of time to mess up my dining room, set up my machine and ironing board and sit down to work on it.

One tip I cannot stress enough when tackling a quilting project is the importance of pinning. Because quilts are made up of a sandwich of layers, it's so important to keep these layers from shifting while sewing. If your machine doesn't have a walking foot attachment (and mine doesn't) this is even more important. It's normal for fabrics to feed through a sewing machine at different rates. The top layer of fabric is being fed through the machine by the sewing foot, and the bottom layer is being fed through by the feed dogs. (Those little teeth that stick through the bottom of the sewing plate). If the fabrics feed though at different rates, you end up with a twisted mess. I know this inherently from more than 20 years of sewing every kind of fabric imaginable - even Goretex. Do you think I used enough pins on this quilt when I started my machine quilting - nope! I ended up with a completely twisted mess after my first line of machine quilting. I ripped it out and sat down to pin the quilt some more. I estimate I used more than 200 safety pins to tack it down completely, as well as some quilting pins. My next round of machine quilting was successful and I was able to stitch up the rest of the quilt with no further problems.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Domestic Bliss

It's a rare Sunday I have all of my mundane domestic chores complete, so that I can putter around and spend time doing things that really interest me. I managed to get all the laundry, groceries and cleaning done yesterday so that today I can just spend time baking and sewing. My version of domestic bliss! I should be outside enjoying this beautiful sunny day, but I'm perfectly content inside with the oven on!

I saw this recipe for scones on the Design Sponge blog a while back and thought I should try it. It's one of Denise Schmidt's recipes who is a quilter extraordinaire, for those of you who might not have heard of her. I actually have an article about her that I tore out of a Martha Stuart magazine back in 1997 when she was just getting started with her quilting business. I placed that article in the "inspiration" binder I've been keeping since my mid 20's. Even back then, I thought that making a career as a quilter sounded like an awesome job. And that was waaaaayyy back before quilting became "cool" for us Gen X'ers. I guess I've always known in my heart that designing clothing is not my passion, even though I have a degree in Apparel design.

Next up for this afternoon, I will tackle the laborious job of machine quilting my friend's baby quilt. This project has dragged on long enough and her poor son deserves a nice quilt before he is walking.