Friday, September 10, 2010
I'm on a roll ("Let 'er roll!")! After finishing my last top, I finally drug out the quilt that's mostly been sitting on top of our piano since Spring. I pieced it last winter, and did all of the quilting myself, free-motion, after taking my class in late winter / early spring. The binding got cut, sewn together and ironed before the kids got out of school, but then... well, the kids got out of school.
Now that they're back, I finally got the binding sewn on! First though I had to get all the cat hair off of it. I don't know what it is about any type of fabric and cats, but mine finds it utterly irresistible to nap on top of any extra item of clothing or fabric laying around, including my almost-finished quilt. It was also on a piece of furniture that had an excellent view of the dining room, living room, and yard, AND it was out of reach from the dog! Put a soft quilt on top, and it was her spot, 23.5 / 7.
After getting all the hair and dust off, I put on my walking foot and started sewing the binding on. When I first started quilting, I'd never heard of a walking foot, or long-arm quilters who, for a price, do the quilting for you. After getting really exasperated with my first quilt, I went to the local sew and vac shop and explained my problems with tension, nests of thread on the back and just a general lack of ability for my machine to sew through 2 layers of fabric and a layer of batting. They sold me this walking foot, much to my delight!
A co-worker and fellow quilter told me about long arm quilters when I asked her how to do a queen-sized quilt on my home machine. This was a quilt I made for my parents, after they returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I just slept under it myself a few weeks ago when visiting my mom in Dallas.
After quitting my job to stay at home with the kids, and moving to Michigan, I suddenly couldn't afford to pay someone else to quilt it for me, and my friend Lois Gorton at Pine Tree Quilt Shop in Lewiston, Michigan sold me a darning foot and gave me a few pointers to get started.
But it wasn't until recently that I took a class from Collen Blackwood, and started reading Leah Day's blog, 365 day of free-style quilting that I got the confidence to tackle something bigger than a baby quilt or a place mat. I must admit that I feel like a klutz, but also realize that just like anything else, it's going to take some serious practice to get good at it. I'm also trying really hard not to get intimidated by the beautiful quilts that I see in quilt shows and shops.
Because I have felt discouraged from time to time when my hands and machine won't do what I want them to do, I thought I'd show my beginning projects in free-motion. Maybe some other free-motion novice will see this and feel a bit better! All in all though, I'm pretty proud and excited about this first big project. The pattern is "BQ" by Maple Island Quilt Patterns. It was perfect for showing off some of the Oriental fabric that I had in my stash.The kids have the next week off for the Pendleton Round Up Rodeo. This is the 100th anniversary of one of the largest rodeos in the country. Let 'er buck! It may be a week or more before I get another project finished!