Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Quilting the quilt

How I spent my holidays

It's been a little over a year since I started on the Great Quilting Experiment.  I started off in November of 2012 with an idea to create a quilt and managed to feel pretty good about my very first completed block.

my first block

Not long after my first block, my trusty little beginner's Singer died a grindy, noisy death and I started looking around for a replacement.  I dropped into a sewing/craft store around the corner, KW Sewing Machines, and had a great chat with one of the saleswomen there.  I told her my level of experience, and where I wanted to go with my sewing and she introduced me to one of the coolest pieces of technology I've ever been fortunate enough to meet - the Janome 2030 QC.

It has a computer inside!

For those of you who don't know, I get a little geeky about technology so needless to say I was very impressed with the capabilities of this little beast. The hands-on creative addict in me loved everything about this machine (to name a few features: it threads its own needles, ties its own knots, and has a sweet no-pedal option for perfect speed sewing), and with a lot of work I managed to secure this beautiful piece of work by January of 2013 so that I could continue my sewing adventures.

By March of that year I'd completed about half of the 30 blocks needed for my king-size quilt (what was I thinking for my first quilt?!).  I put together a quick little photo tutorial for the custom Sarah's Choice quilt blocks I was making so that I could share the cool stuff I'd been working on.

taking a break to share my process
I worked on my quilt off and on for the next several months, and by October 2013 I'd finished all the blocks I'd needed.  I made 36 but decided to only use 30 of the 12" blocks because I'd neglected to account for the sashing and cornerstones when doing the math for a standard king size blanket.

all the blocks finished with sashing and cornerstones

Once I had the front finished, I took a break for a few months to bide my time till Boxing Day after Christmas so that I could get the batting and backing I needed to finish the quilt.  Sure enough, there were sales all over the place and I managed to pick up 3 meters of Warm and Natural cotton batting and 3 meters of wide fabric for my backing.  As soon as I had all my supplies, I immediately got to work.

safety pins are cool and all, but this stuff is a lifesaver!

I read a tip online that the easiest, quickest way to secure the layers of a quilt was a good temporary adhesive crafting spray.  They don't gum up needles and the spray itself washes out in a normal wash cycle once your project is finished.

for working with large projects, these are a MUST HAVE

Once the quilt layers were secured and I started actually quilting this huge thing (again: what was I thinking!?), I started to get very sore shoulders and realized I needed a better way to handle all the material. 

I ran out of thread pretty quickly at this stage (I only had two spools of 250 yards), so when I ran to the fabric store to get 3 more spools (which still might not be enough - I must be out of my mind), I spotted these spiffy Fons & Porter Machine Quilting Gloves designed to grip fabric easier and to reduce tension in the neck and hands when sewing.  They look cheesy, but they're fantastic - I highly recommend getting some of these if you do a lot of machine quilting.

showing some love for the walking foot

All in all, I'm very pleased with how the quilt is coming along and I can hardly believe it's been such a long work in progress.  It's been a very lovely holiday this Winter working on this final stage of the project.

coffee, quilting and Netflix - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to me!
What I have left will probably take some time to wrap up, and then I get to try my hand at binding this bad boy.  Stay tuned for updates as I move into the next phase (and I continue to question my sanity).


  1. It's going to look awesome, and grandma McKinsey would be so incredibly proud :)

    1. Thanks :) I can't wait for it to be finished and on my bed!


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