Saturday, June 18, 2011

The making of a quilt

Hi. I thought I would post a few things about how I made my last quilt. There are quite a few things that go into the whole quilt, including 7 bobbins of thread. Yes, that's right. I used 7 bobbins of thread in this one.

First, a challenge was given for this Race Day quilt. You take a Jelly Roll, which is 40 strips of fabric at least 40 inches long, and cut 2 1/2 inches wide, and sew them end to end (on a 45* angle) so it becomes 1600 inches of fabric, 2 1/2 inches wide. I tried to plan the colors a certain way, but it didn't work as planned. I love what did happen, though. Once you have it all sewn, you press the seams in one direction. Yep, lots of pressing. Hot steamy pressing. Then you cut 18 inches off one end, and match the two ends, so you end up with a strip that is about 800 inches long and 4 1/2 inche wide. Fold it in half again, and sew again, and end up with 400 inches that is 9 1/2 inches wide. Oh, yeah, make sure it isn't twisted anywhere. Make sure your edges meet. Make sure you stay at 1/4 inch seam allowance. Taks a drink of water in there somewhere. And Hazel needs to go outside for a little walk.

Back to sewing. Do it again and again until you end up with something that resembles a quilt size top. Add 7 strips of 6 1/2 inch wide fabric for borders, checking to make sure they are square and flat. Press the whole thing nice and flat, and fix any missed areas. (Yep, I had one where the edges weren't even, and the strip looked bad, so ripped out the bad stitches, and fixed it.) Now, decide on the backing. If needed sew that together. This used 3 1/2 yards of fabric. In addition to the 3 yards for the strips and 1 3/8 yards for the borders. Oh, and about 5/8 yard more for binding. Are you adding? About 8 1/2 yards of fabric. Not including the batting.

Lay out your backing, batting and the quilt top on a nice large flat surface. Pin the layers together, with pins about every 8 inches or so. Pick out the thread for quilting. Clean out the bobbin case and bottom of the machine, put in a new needle, and wind some bobbins. Maybe 5, since you used 2 just in the piecing of the top. Play with a pencil, doing some scribbles to see what kind of stipple design you may want to try. Or pick a stencil (this has stipple, which is like doodling with thread instead of a pencil). Begin in the center of the quilt. Relax your shoulders, and play. Make waves and swirls, but keep the speed steady and movements as steady as possible, so your stitches are sort of even. Take a break. Finish the quilting, and decide on the border treatment. Finish that. Make your binding. Cut 7 strips 2 1/2 inches wide, sew them end to end, press them, trim one end, change your machine to a walking foot, and stitch the binding on, mitering the corners. Press the binding, pin and clip it in place, and stitch again.

Luckily I pay a great price for my basic thread, so making the top and winding the bobbins wasn't expensive. Maybe about $1. Fabric is now costing about $10 a yard, and more for batiks. The jelly roll was a gift from a sweet friend, and I got the backing and borders wholesale, so that cost about $30, rather than $80. Add in the batting. Again, I got it on sale. I use Warm & Natural, which is a wonderful 100% cotton. Maybe about $13. Hours? About 2 for the top, another for the borders, and about 9 in quilting and binding. And the nice rainbow quilting thread? $9. Then you have to wash the quilt and use Shout Color Catchers just in case the colors bleed.

What did I end up with?

Sunset Strips 30001

Sunset Strips 20001

Sunset Strips 10001

Is it worth the time? Absolutely. I hope it sells, and that someone enjoys snuggling with it. It is a bargain listed on my Etsy store for $225,

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