Monday, 2 July 2012

The finished quilt!

Well, I was very cheeky the other day and gave you a tantalising peak of my first ever finished quilt.

This quilt started life back in May when I was talking to a friend who's niece was turning 21: a landmark birthday that she wanted to give a memorable gift for. We started talking about cushions and then I mentioned quilts (I was still flush from having done my jelly roll quilt top which I still haven't finished binding. Ahem!). A week later a beautiful bundle of 10 FQs arrived at my door and the clock started ticking!!!

I had decided on a disappearing 9-patch block and whilst browsing the web I came across an idea of using a solid colour for the centre square. I bought a selection of plain colours picking out the main ones in the fabric and then cut all my fabrics into 10" squares. They were then pieced together, meaning that once each mega-black was cut into four I was left with a finished block of around 14.5". The quilt top was made with a total of 36 x 10" squares arranged in a 4x4 block pattern, with the squares alternated to create a random pattern. As a quilting novice I'd definitely recommend this block, I found it good fun and relatively quick to make. And I think the finished effect looks more complicated than it is in practice?
fabric & flowers: quilt top

The back proved a bit trickier - I wanted to use some of the pretty top fabrics that I had left over and my backing fabric wasn't quite wide enough so I eventually decided on a stack'n'whack block panel using a block of each fabric for the centre and a different solid for the outer. The centre panels were 9.5" (I'd mis-cut a couple of the blocks for the front which is why they're a bit smaller than the front) with the solid border taking the finished block upto 14.5".

And then it came to the quilting! I've only ever quilted the jelly-roll top so was a little nervous, especially as it was to be such a special present. My first thought was to quilt along the grid-lines of the top but I found it so difficult to marry up the front and back layers that after doing one line I realised it would look rubbish and out came the seam ripper. Sigh! Next up was to free-motion across the top. I'd always fancied trying this but hadn't really anticipated trying it on my first proper quilt!

I worked on the back of the quilt using ivory for the bobbin thread and then grey for the top thread across the stack'n'whack panel and sea-green top thread for the rest of the quilt.

The free-motion went quite well okay. Sometimes I would be sewing fluidly and then other times not so much - I found listening to loud rock music definitely helped!

This is the second quilt where I've had problems with the bottom fabric bunching up and having to rip out a lot of stitches. It took 1hr to do a quarter of the quilt and then 2hrs to unpick it. Not great, especially as I was working to a deadline! I'm guessing it's because I'm using a normal sewing foot instead of a walking foot and not basting enough? I only had normal pins and I have a feeling I didn't use enough of them. I've now got curved ones which I'm hoping will help out next time. Although if anyone has any tips for me they'd be gratefully recieved!

Overall, I think it's come out well. If I look really close I can see that my stitch lengths aren't as uniform as they could be and that some of the free-motion is tighter in some areas than others but on the whole I'm really pleased with it. It helped once I got the tension right....I found that once I turned the dial up to 9 and used a medium-slow speed the stitch appearance significantly improved!!!

So, enough of the talking (well, writing!) would you like to see how it turned out?

Quilt front (Disapearing 9 patch) by fabric & flowers

Quilt back (Stack'n'Whack blocks) by fabric & flowers

In the bottom left corner, I sewed a personal message from my friend to her niece in free-machine embroidery on grey fabric and bound with some left over pink patterned fabric

Quilt by fabric & flowers

I finished the quilt by hand, binding with grey fabric all around - the colours were so bright and colourful that I thought the grey was the best choice as it wouldn't create an over-dominance of any one colour and would also help to bring it all together. And I can't resist one more gratuitous shot of the free-motion embroidery!

Quilt by fabric & flowers

Quilt by fabric & flowers

So, details;

Fabric - 10 FQs of Dena Fishbein Kumari Garden (two of each design) and 5 Moda Solids colours
Pattern - Top: disappearing 9-patch; Bottom - stack'n'whack
Finished size - pre-quilting it was 54"x54". I forgot to measure it afterwards. Doh!

I really need to practise photographing quilts - I'm going to have to get me some pretty hangers and bang a nail or two in the wall for next time I think! And yes, there will be a next time - although this quilt did bring me to the brink of frustration a few times I'm really happy with how it came out and am looking forward to learning new skills on my next one. In a little while that is!!!!

S x

Todays sky ● grey, it's been raining on and off all day. Meh!


Daffy said...

Beautiful - I must learn to do this:)

Lynne said...

Oh my goodness!! That is the most amazing quilt I've ever seen! And free-motion quilting too! And I'm guessing you used an normal sewing machine, and not one of those fancy long-arm quilting machines. And what a deadline to work to! I've only ever made one quilted cushion (which I'm leaning on as I type), so I'm no quilting expert, but something has just jumped into my head. I was reading Tilly and the Button's blog yesterday, and she was talking about the feed dogs being lowered on her machine. Someone commented that you would lower them for free-motion quilting. Apologies if you already knew that, but here's the link

I think it's the first comment.

I hope the quilt's new owner loves it, and appreciates how much work went into it. :)

Sonia said...

Thanks Daffy - it's a lot easier than you think it is :) x

Sonia said...

Ohhh - you'll make me blush! Thank you :) Thanks for the link to Tilly's post, I had read that yesterday. I had lowered the feed-dogs on my machine otherwise I would have only been sewing in straight lines!!! And it's a normal machine - just a fairly basic Janome (the entry level digital version I think!) which I love but if I'm going to do any more quilts I might have to get it a sister, there's not much space between the needle and the arm to fit all the quilt in!!! Ohh, and the new owner loves it! S x

The Sewing Boutique said...

Such a fabulous quilt. I've just started quiliting after years of messing around with sewing and I have to say, this is an inspiration.

Look forward to seeing more of your lovely makes.

Rhi @ The Sewing Boutique x x

Sonia said...

Thank you so much for your kind words Rhi - I look forward to seeing your quilty makes! It is a bit addictive mind.....!!!!! Sx

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