Friday, September 12, 2008

Little bits quilt update

Here's a little peek at my finished "little bits" quilt. As I mentioned before, this pattern is from the ubiquitous Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts. Instead of following the instructions exactly, I modified it for size (it's around 45" x 60", so very lap quilt-y) and wanted to make it out of only two fabrics for a modern, less scrappy feel. I also made it reversible, but that didn't come out quite like I'd hoped. More on that later. As you'll notice, I'm not posting any full finished pics yet. This is a gift, and I don't want to spoil it, just in case. It'll be given very soon, though, so there's not much longer to wait!

When it came time to bind, I wasn't sure what to do. I had leftovers of both fabrics, so I briefly considered doing a scrappy, every-other-brown-and-red binding, but then thought it might be too jarring on either side. Then I thought about doing just the red, but there is a lot going on in that fabric and it might be too distracting on the brown side, and too much on the red side. So, what did I do? I went to my local quilt shop, of course. The lovely owner who was working suggested a more subtle print from the same line, the dark red polka dot. Perfect.

Here's a close-up of my very subtle signature on the back. I used two strands (I think) of embroidery floss and back-stitched "KK 2008." I like how it turned out. I'm looking into doing a more full label for future quilts (and more on that next week when I update my swap quilt, but it's nearly finished!!) but wanted this quilt to be reversible, which a big label would definitely not allow.

I quilted the entire thing with red thread on the top and brown on the bottom. The quilting is just in channels through the little bits part to either end. LOTS of straight lines. It was kind of boring to do, but I really like how it turned out. Also, I used some Mettler quilting thread, which I don't think I've used before, and it was really nice. It felt so luxurious! And yes, I fully realize how dorky that sounds. The only downside is I'm still cleaning red fuzz out of my machine. I think I need to just take apart the bobbin casing and do a full clean to get it all out--but you'll get that with all nice cotton threads.

In other news, there's nothing like hearing that your swap partner is finished and popping your quilt in the mail to really give you a kick in the pants! Last night, after a much-needed (and VERY strong) cocktail (vodka, Apple Pucker, ice, and cranberry juice, in that order), I burned through that baby. I ironed and attached the label, sandwiched the quilt, quilted it (and that cocktail really helped me relax and just do all that free-motion quilting, which I'm still learning and still anxious about messing up), made and attached the binding, attached hanging tabs, and got more than half way through the hand-stitching on the binding. Phew! How's that for progress? I still have to finish up the binding (15 minutes tops) and do some little detail sewing (5-10 minutes) and the pop the entire thing in the wash, but it's definitely going out Monday, 9/15, which meets the "mid-month mailing" requirements. Still not sure if this swap is the right thing for me to be doing, but it's a little late now... I just hope my partner likes it!

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