Monday, August 8, 2011

Quilting, what I have learned

So, this trip has been more than just an excuse to catch up with friends (although that was the primary reason).  This trip has also centered on quilting.  Specifically, teaching me how to quilt under the masterful tutelage of one Julie.  She has been beyond patient with me and has shown me all the finer points of Quilting for Dummies (although she would never title this course this way).

So from the beginning.  Julie took Tricia & I to the fabric store to pick out squares.  We each picked two different sets of fabrics.  Mine were a pink, purple, & cream, and a blue, pink, & green with stripes & polka dots.  Julie told us we would be making pot holders or pillows.  Tricia followed directions and made a pillow, but I had other plans and was not willing to tell anyone because I was afraid I would be told no. 

We laid out our fabrics to get a feel for how they would look together and where we wanted to start our projects.  We were following a log cabin quilt structure which meant piecing together all the fabrics into "logs" and then attaching the log onto the square.  We began by cutting our fabrics into 2.5 inch strips which allowed for a 1/4 inch seam allowance on each side.  Then we cut the strips to the desired length, again with the seam allowance.  Clearly, as you add logs to the quilt they get progressively longer. 

I continued to add logs to my cabin until I ran out of fabric, which happened to be much bigger than any normal sized pillow.
a few logs in
end of the fabric
32x36 inches
After each seam is sewn, you press the seam to help the fabric lay flat.  If combining two fabrics to make one log, make sure you press the fabric open.

After all the logs are attached, lay out from the bottom to the top your muslin, batting, and quilt (pretty side up) flat on the ground.  I hated this next step.  It was tedious and awful.  Then safety pin all three layers together.  You want to make sure that you do not move the fabrics at all while doing this.  You also want to pin more rather than less.  We had pins every 2 inches or so.

Now you get to quilt.  Up until this point, you are just doing the patchwork.  Quilting is the part where you sew over the whole thing and get it put together as one piece instead of layers.   ***** NOTICE: Julie has the sides all rolled up so that she can move the quilt through the machine.  First, you are going to "stitch in the ditch" - sewing all the seams again and trying to keep your thread hidden in the seams.  I liked being able to see the thread - so I quilted right next to the seam. As long as you are consistent, it is fine!
Quilt all the seams, then the outer edge.  The back of my quilt looks like a maze from the inside out.  Then it is time to add your binding.  I don't know any of this part because we were running short on time, so Julie did this for me.

Notice in that picture the outside edge of muslin.  That is the binding.  It is folded over three times on itself and then sewn onto the front of the quilt.  The stitching only shows up on the backside.  Then you fold the binding over itself and sew a blind seam from the back.  This way there are no binding seams showing. 
So clearly I am almost finished with my first quilt in about a week.  All I need at home is a sewing machine.  I do not think it would be realistic at all for me to sew a quilt by hand, even though I do know a professional (in my mind) who does and has been for as long as I can remember.

Also, I am not done learning what needs to be learned, so I have to find a quilting place near me to both take classes and research some machines for myself.  Good thing for the internet!  I have already found a place 5 minutes from my house!  CAPITAL QUILTS!  ***I am mostly inserting that link so that in 5 days I remember that I have found a place that I WILL FREQUENT on my quest to quilt.

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