Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ta-Da! Announcing my Fastest Quilt Ever!

While it's true that I have been yearning to make a bear's paw quilt for over a decade, I didn't actually plan this one until a month ago.

A month! From concept to finish!

Let me tell you some of the fun I had along the way.

The goal of this quilt was to finish it pleasingly, but quickly. If there was a short cut, I took it.

For example, I wanted to use 3" squares for the whole quilt... but I didn't! (Can you hear my pride? In this new skill of not being a perfectionist?) I used a 6" square for the paw, and an 11" square for the white corners, and long strips of white anytime I could.

Because I used these large pieces of fabric, the top came together quickly, and then it was time to quilt the top to the batting, a truly enjoyable experience. I quilted across the long diagonals, and planned to measure out more diagonals where they passed through the corners of the blocks. But then I changed my mind. I stitched in the ditch. I saved time and effort. You are impressed, I can tell. True, my not-quite-in-the-ditch quilting isn't going to win any prizes. But it was finished in a few days, which is a very lovable value in a quilting pattern, don't you think?
Since working with minky is new to me, before working on The Quilt, I tried quilting on a small patch of fabric, with predictable results.

Spot the broken needle?

Ha ha.

I re-consulted with the Google Gods, and learned that size 70/10 needle was not the way to go. I switched it for a 90/14, and behold: a sewing machine that sewed.

Whilst in the midst of a brief - and very public - panic over quilting minky, I was amazed to receive so many responses to my plea for help - thank you all! Audrey from Quilty Folk said the words that I needed to hear: "Have you considered tying the rest of your quilt?" While I treasure each and every single suggestion I received, this was my short cut du jour. (Thank you, Audrey.)

Thank you, also, to blogland, for sending me to this tutorial when I decided to tie my quilt by machine (Short Cut #I've-Lost-Track). I pretty much followed the instructions, and learned the hard way what worked better for minky, namely: I couldn't just drag the quilt through my machine again and again, and expect the fabric to move together front and back. But I found my speed, tied that baby down, and then got to thinking about binding.

Can you make out the threads that need snipping between the machine tying? Just about?

But how would I bind to the front, and hand-sew to the minky? That seemed absurd. One quick quilt consult later (thank you, Michelle), I had my answer: machine sew to the back, and hand sew afterwards to the front. This induced yet another moment of panic in me, as I foresaw the binding being a tad too wide, and ruining all my lovely triangle points, whereupon I took a moment to actually look at my quilt, and noticed that, ahem, there were no triangles anywhere near the binding.

And then, bloggy friends, I had an Insight of Insights: I could sew the binding on by machine, back AND front.


Please do take a moment to recover.
It's not every day one comes across genius such as this, and I know it can be overwhelming.

Sadly, I do not have a single picture of this poetry in motion, as, naturellement, my camera died at the crucial moment. But take it from me, at 10:45pm last night, I started sewing my binding to the fluffier side of the quilt. It went smoothly, aided significantly (entirely?) by the stay stitching I did around the edge before the tying. At 11:30pm, my eyes were aching, and I KNEW I had to stop. Nothing good can come of binding by machine with stinging eyes. I knew this. We all know this.

But sometimes. You just can't help yourself.

So I pinned down the binding to the top, and got sewing, and on the dot of midnight, she was done, finished, perfect, complete. Happy sigh.

Today, this very morning, I took some portraits of my quilt, as modeled by the floor, the chair, and a small-ish daughter.

She found the minky too perfectly soft, and had to wrap herself entirely in it. And I don't blame her.

Linking up with Quilt Story and Live a Colorful Life and Confessions of a Fabric Addict!


Live a Colorful Life said...

You are so funny. I'm glad you were able to finish this quilt--and give us valuable hints along the way!

Fran said...

So cute! Enjoy your new quilt, I love bear paw design.

Deborah said...

Enjoyed your post so much! I learned a lot about quilting with minkie!!

Linda in Calif. said...

Yay! Clap, Clap, Clap! Way to go! I loved your post - love the design of the quilt and I'm happy for you.

Marla said...

Love your storytelling. The last photo is the best. That is what quilting is all about.

audrey said...

So funny! Love your story. Sometimes it just seems impossible to stop doesn't it? Your quilt is wonderful and I love that your daughter is already enjoying it.:)

Erin Quinn said...

Woot woo!!! Fabulous job! I've done minkee before, but I learned from your post. Definitely going to upgrade my needle stash.
E xx

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

That was a quilting adventure!! Great finish!
I will be avoiding minkie I think ;)