Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Quilting by Internet learning

I have often maintained you can learn anything theses days off the internet.  As a teacher,  I can't emphasis enough the importance of a face to face class,  but if you can't get one, for what ever reason, then the internet is fantastic.

I have wanted to make a quilt for a very long time,  but having a sister and a sister in law who are both fabulous quilters, then I have always been a bit put off as I have been told accuracy
 is the key and I am really not that accurate and attention to detail is not my forte.

I did make a rag quilt out of old jeans some time ago but I just threw that together and not much thought or accuracy went into it

But I really really wanted to make a proper quilt so I decided.....why not?  and if I was going to do it, lets not dilly daly with little bits to practice, lets just go for the double size quilt, as I may never make one again.

It started because I found this picture linked from Pintrest to a flickr photo


There was no pattern just a brief description

I don't neither have a pattern nor the measurements anymore. But it's a simple log cabin block, starting with a square, I guess about 5", and than adding to strips to the left and right, each about guessed 3" and then another two strips on top and bottom of the block, again 3".

The fabrics alternate with each block, one time white is in the middle, prints are the strips, next time the other way round.

Setting of the quilt is just alternating these blocks in rows and columns, use as much blocks as you need to get the desired size.

So I set about learning to quilt.

I started off by reading this great blog

Then I picked a couple of water looking fabrics from a local material shop,  but she had no picture patterns and I wanted a seaside theme.  So I looked up local quilting shops on google and I found a hum dinger.  

Midsomer Quilting

Not only did they have a very wide range of materials,  they had classes and most importantly they made my husband a coffee and had he not been interested, then he could have sat and chatted.  But actually he loved helping me pick out patterns.

I wanted some white material so I bought a 1.5m off cut from Dunlem in a kind of linen material,  ( this was probably the biggest mistake I made,  but more of that later.)

I also needed a few basic bits of kit, a rotary cutter and a quilting ruler /guide.  I already had a cutting matt, sewing machine and so thats all the equipment I needed,  in all honesty you could have cut by scissors and a ruler but it wouldn't have been as accurate or as easy.

I worked out a paper pattern and started cutting squares.  I  realised the paper pattern I used was no good as I hadn't made any allowances for the seams.  Mr WD and his lovely maths brain worked out how to cut the most out of my material ( turned out to actually cut a 11" square out, then I could get all my bits for each block out of two of these one in the coloured fabric and one in the white.

I then had to work out how to keep my seems the same,  I could have bought a special foot for my machine but I found this article about seem allowance accuracy  and used a bit of masking tape to mark it on my machine.

Sewing the squares together took a long time,  but I soon started using the chain piecing techniques described here 

another great tip I picked up was to have your ironing board set up by your machine so that you could press seems quickly without having to move all the time.

Wow all those squares, 42 in total.  I  layed them out on the bed to try and sort out the pattern,  it was more  difficult than I had expected but actually made  a huge difference to how the quilt looked.

I bought the quilting material and was going to buy a few yards of sheeting material to back out with,  but I found that it was quite a bit cheaper to actually by a double sheet which needed no joining and was the perfect size.

I wanted to try the scribbly quilting I had seen on the original picture.  I made up some quilting squares to practice on .  I did ask my sister to meet me and to show me how to do free motion quilting but she was busy and couldn't do it for a couple of weeks.  Anyone who knows me, knows I have to get on,  I have no patience once I start a project,  so I ploughed on ahead, andf found this interesting little video

A solid 4 hours practice and I thought I was up for it,  so I  pinned it all out and started quilting ......  so nervous after all that work.

This is when i realised my mistake on the material I had bought as remnant.  It was too think.  it had been fine putting the blocks together but the seams on some edges were so thick with all the layers, the material would not go through the machine smoothly.  I just had to accept a few long stitches and also i did try and manipulate the pattern so it didn't need to go over theses seems to often.

Phew that was a mammoth task,  but one done very rewarding.   I had a couple of hoc ups and had to unstitch,  thank goodness for my seem ripper/un-picker!  

Then onto the edging,  this was a brilliant tutorial and I watched it as I was actually sewing the binding to the edges.  I was particularly taken with the final bit about leaving the batting to make a fuller edging

So here it is , my final quilt, certainly not perfect,  but I am pleased with myself,  just not sure I would put it to close to one of my sisters or sister in laws!!