Monday, May 14, 2018

X and Plus

I really enjoyed putting this quilt together after such a long time.

I tried a new method of basting. I used 505 spray and lightly sprayed both top and back outside. I pinned the batting to my design wall and applied the backing first. Then I cut off the excess batting. I thought this was a great trick to avoid having to try to accurately measure and precut the batting ahead of time. Then I flipped the quilt and centered the top. I ironed first the backing and then the top. I had seen this recommended but i had never done it myself before. I think the ironing really helped to adhere the basting spray. In the past when I used basting spray without ironing, I would get shifting and tucks at times, especially on the back. This time both layers stayed smooth.

I'm happy with this basting method and will use it again, but it does have limitations. Mainly I'm limited to a throw size or smaller as my design wall won't accommodate a really large quilt, and I can't spray baste outside in the winter, which will necessitate using a different method those months or basting up a backlog of quilts that I can quilt throughout the winter. I'm seriously considering this as it sure beats leaning over on the floor and killing my back.

I also stitched in the ditch around the pieced rectangle, the black border, and I stitched about 1/8" from the outsides with my walking foot. I have seen advice for and against doing this. I think it depends on how square your quilt is. If you have a lot of excess fullness it might not be a great idea, because the stitch in the ditch locks that area in place and there's nowhere for the fullness to go. it worked really well for me on this quilt and I think I will continue to do it in the future. It really didn't take very long and I think it helped tremendously with stability, especially on the outer border.

I tried a new-to-me batting, Quilter's Dream Orient. I have to say, I didn't love it. First, it's a mid-loft batting while I prefer thinner batting. But mostly I didn't like how linty it was. My poor sewing machine was like a teddy bear explosion on the inside after finishing the free motion quilting. The finished quilt does have a nice drape and seems like it will be warm, but I don't think the excess lint was worth it.

For the quilting, I used an off-white presencia thread. I did a fairly large stipple over the x and plus blocks. I switched to black gutermann thread and quilted a chevron in the black border. Initially I tried to pebble with the presencia but my thread kept breaking and I hated how the contrasting thread looked. I think I did about a half hour of pebbling, which took about 2.5 hours to rip out. Lesson learned: stop when you think you aren't going to like it. I could have saved myself an hour or so. I quilted spirals in the outer border. I chose to highlight the green DS Flea Market Fancy X in the top left corner, so I pebbled just in that block for a bit of custom quilting.

I bound the quilt in a solid red with a tiny spot of black print at the bottom because I ran out of fabric. The binding uses my favorite method of machine stitching to the front with stitch in the ditch to secure the back.

It may have taken 4 years to finish, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. This quilt is in the shop.

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