Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Quilting + Miscellany

I had a very productive quilting week last week. I'd been working on piecing a queen-sized "What a Bunch of Squares" from the book Denyse Schmidt Quilts and it suddenly came together very fast. A friend of mine had already made the quilt and she was generous enough to let me borrow her templates. I measured all of the pieces and then squared them up so they could be cut with a rotary cutter--I've realized I do NOT like making template-cut quilts. Especially not huge ones. So I cut out pieces over a couple of weekends and then on Oscar Sunday pieced most of the quilt. Then on Wednesday night I arranged the blocks:

I was on such a roll that I proceeded to piece and press the entire quilt top, then sandwich it with the batting and backing! So when I came back to it on Sunday, the question was how to quilt it.

You see, I'd been planning on hand-quilting the entire thing in concentric squares, probably 3" apart. It's a queen-sized quilt, so HUGE, and I doubted my ability to do it on my machine. And, though I love the look of hand-quilting and would like to do it at some point, I didn't particularly want to spend days and days hand-quilting a utility quilt that I will probably be cleaning cat puke off of in a matter of weeks. However, after carefully rolling in the ends, I found that I could easily access the middle of the quilt:

And if the middle is accessible, everything is! So I spent roughly 4 hours on Sunday feeding this beast through my machine. I had to rip one row out due to a tension issue, but other than that it went well. Except... Well, except for the fact that I am sore today. And was sore yesterday, too. Note to self: ALWAYS wear quilting gloves while machine quilting, even if using the walking foot. If I'd been wearing them the whole time instead of just for the last hour, my arm and shoulder muscles wouldn't be aching from the pressure of pushing all of that weight through my machine.

So, now I've got the entire thing machine-quilted in a large grid pattern. Here are the cats testing it out (read: fighting on it):

I did my signature embroidery on the back, and attached the binding. The only thing that's left is to hand-stitch the 30+ feet of binding on the back side. But I'm looking forward to finishing it, and to having my little helper:

And this picture of Bellow is just too cute not to share:

In other news, I was nearly accosted yesterday by a woman who wanted to compliment my haircut. We walked into the library and I took off my hat, and this woman was in my face, talking to me. It's like she was surprised at my hair. She said, "Oh my GOD! I just LOVE your haircut! It's so CUTE!" What could I say? "Um, thanks...?" I guess I did a good job cutting it on Saturday.

I just have to comment on the weather today. Oh MY. It is 57* outside in Boston! It was windy today so I bundled up this morning (though Rob left and came back to change his coat, saying it was really warm out, so I switched to my other winter coat) and when I walked outside I couldn't believe how balmy the weather felt! The wind was WARM! Of course, I spent my commute in noticing how many people had umbrellas. I didn't bring one today, and looks like we're getting rain today and tomorrow. Oh well. If it's a warm rain, I just can't complain.

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