Quilt Craft Series – Part 5
I hope everyone is enjoying the end of the year and the unseasonably warm winter weather. I’ve been enjoying some time off from work and using the time to catch up on a lot of quilting. Nothing beats waking up (whenever I feel like, well, after I feed the cat of course) and going into the craft room to work for the day. I’ve been listening to some audio books, catching up on some TV and being a mad quilter.
Finishing the Top Quilt
When we last left off I was in Keystone cutting fabric and planning out the background for the TARDIS and filling out the quilt. I had planned out a series of colored sections based on complimentary colors and cut the majority of the fabric. So for the past few weeks I’ve been executing that plan whenever I had time. The procedure is the same as with the main body of the TARDIS, I would make 3×3 squares and sew them together, making a few extra rows when I needed to. I marked off the different sections as I went along. I should have paid a little more attention or did some up front planning to what sections I was working on but it all worked out in the end. I got a little curious at the beginning of my vacation about how big the quilt was going to be. Needed to decide if it needed to be bigger or if my arbitrary size for the edge/background pattern was going to be good enough. I laid it out on the bed and low and behold….this “hey I’ll just randomly make a quilt with no planning” turned out to be queen sized quilt!!
I wanted to do a cool montage of laying down all the side pieces but this thing is so BIG that there was no way I was going to be able to get a good overhead shot. Maybe if I had a drone…hrm… but no. Anyway, as you can see by the edges it’s going to drape around the side of the bed so this is going to be the perfect size! It does pose some interesting challenges though, the larger the project the more unwieldy it becomes but it’s going to be worth it! Check out the colors for the bottom, fun right? Now because it’s so big, I have to be smart about some of the embellishments. For the light at the top of the TARDIS I wanted to do something a little different the real reason being (you can guess this I bet) is that I was lazy and I didn’t want to sort out the right size for something smaller than my 3″ square and deal with calculating the sizes with the seam allowance. Yes, I could have done it. No it wouldn’t have been hard. But hey I didn’t want to. Instead I decided to do a technique known as Applique. This is where you take another smaller piece of fabric and attach it to the larger quilt. There are several methods for doing so, some with iron on type fabric “glue” and some with sewing. I decided to do the sewing bit so that I wouldn’t have a small patch of starchy fabric. I cut my yellow “light” pulled out some bright yellow thread and did a tight zig-zag stitch across the edges. I think it came out good, thoughts?
Okay, so after several pots of tea all the color sections are done. I mapped them out on my graph paper (yes, I said graph paper. Technically its engineering paper, because hey I’m an engineer!)
I think I have mentioned this before that you want to sew same sized pieces together. I don’t think it’s strickly necessary but take it from me, it makes it much MUCH easier to do. The plan of attack then becomes to sew section 7 to section 4. Then sew the 2 sides together, 2&3 and 5&6. From there I can sew the three pieces together and then lastly I can attach section 1 to the bottom and the quilt top will be all pieced together. Now, as I have said, several times, this beast is a QUEEN. Therefore I want to do as much as I can before I stitch these together to make my life easier. I was always going to do this anyway but especially since I plan to have this quilted elsewhere I know that I need to pull out the ironing board. Instead of doing the majority of the ironing when it’s assembled, I decided to do it to each of these sections first. Then sew it together!
Now I wish I had taken a picture of this from the side, but I didn’t. These squares are pretty flat, but when I got them all ironed they really squished down! Flat as a sheet of paper almost (the back seams did make it a tiny bit bulkier). Look at how small this is!!
Everything is now ready to be sewn together. You better believe it I used pins this time! I think from here on out everything I do involves ironing and pins, lots and lots of pins. I got away with it for the majority of the quilt (and the lack of my seams lining up are likely proof of that fact) but there’s no way I am going to attempt it with these long big straight sections. Now, the top quilt it mostly done, but it’s not done yet. I want to have a clean, constant edging to it. There actually will be 2 but that’s for the next post. For this I took some black/dark-dark blue fabric and made a long 2″ ribbon with it to go around the edges. Lilu of course had to have an opinion on this fabric choice (as she did a few other things during this finishing process)
In order to get this ribbon on the entire quilt (which I measured was about 74″ wide and 100″ long) I had to take over the kitchen table (and still had to do some scooting across the table). Lots of pins, lots of careful edge works!
After I sewed on the edging (No small feat) I had to iron the whole thing again. For starters I wanted it as flat as possible, secondly there’s new edges that never got an ironing, and the edging would fold up on itself automatically. I feel very proud that I didn’t knock over the hot iron while trying to wrangle this top quilt across the ironing board. Go me!
Probably the easiest component of this whole thing is creating the backing. For most quilts, mine included, the backing is just a solid piece of fabric (or a few because no one really makes fabric that’s as wide as I need it to be). I went to the store and I found a beautiful blue fabric with Gallifreyan in white all over it! That would be perfect, but of course it was not meant to be. There wasn’t the 6.5-7 yards I needed left on the bolt. So instead I went with my original plan, some kind of variegated TARDIS blue fabric. I found it, bought it, pre-shrunk it, and once again head to the table to lay it out because 7 yards of fabric is a LOT of fabric! Lilu was diligent and did some inspections on this as well.
Don’t ask me why be she LOVES to bury herself in the fabric, especially when I don’t want her to.
Story time. I have a quilt that needs finishing in my craft room, its a kit from Haptic Lab quilts. A map of the world! When I first looked at it I was a little puzzled, it’s got a single piece of fabric for the backing, a single piece of fabric for the top piece, and some batting. I asked myself, how can this be a quilt?! Well it turns out that what I thought of quilts (and I suspect most of you do to) is really defined as a “patchwork” quilt. The “patchwork” term is what defines the different square and triangles of fabric that are sewn together in shapes or patterns and form the top piece. The term “quilt” however just means sewing through 3 layers. The top, batting, and backing is really all that’s needed to make a “quilt” as opposed to what we all think which is really a patchwork quilt.
At this juncture I am faced with an important question. How am I going to quilt this monster? You can quilt something is large on a home sewing machine. And by that I mean *you can* I am not that talented. I have done 2 smaller quilts and wrestled through the quilting process. Thank fully there’s another, wonderful, alternative: Longarm quilting. This is where you have a room sized machine with big rollers and smooth controls and you move the needle around the fabric instead of having to move the fabric around the needle like you would on a home machine. These aren’t cheap and it’s not something I will likely ever plan on owning. Thankfully for me though, Colorado Fabric has 2. One to rent time on and one to do it *automatically*. For this quilt I decided to do the automatically route, and to plan on taking the certification course sometime in 2018 to do my own stuff on the next quilt. I bundled up my quilt and backing and headed to Aurora to pay a visit to Colorado Fabrics!! (Again too, since I got my backing there yesterday 😛 I’m speedy).
I was a little nervous about what the professionals might say about my quilt, the seams don’t line up, the seams on the back go every which way, but all my fears were for naught. They loved it and were super supportive of anyone doing or attempting to do sewing. It was wonderful and they were very helpful. We picked out a grey and black variegated thread for the top quilt (tricky since I have literally ALL the color across the front) and a dark blue for the backing. They have hundreds of patterns that the automatic long arm machine can do for the quilt stitching. A lot of them where really impressive, some deer, octopus, flowers and bees, it was amazing. I decided to go with the same one that they used for their TARDIS quilt, it’s called Clockwork and it’s very wibbly wobbly timey whimey. I loved it. It’s now sitting at the store awaiting it’s turn to be quilted. I should have something back around Jan 12th and then it’s on to the final (and most stressful) stage, the binding/final edging!
Until then, I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! Start planning those 2018 crafts!!