Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cause I need another hobby

I don't remember when or how I first stumbled upon Passing Down Crazy , but it was love at first sight. I loved her knitting, I loved her pictures, I loved her kids, I loved how she referred to her husband as her "Hero" and I loved her blog title. LOVE!

I stalked her relentlessly. Admiring her snow, her backyard, her humor, and above all, her knitting. Her lace shawls are perfection. Makes me want to knit loads more lace!

And then she published a post with a quilt!

It was all over from there. I was powerless against her quilts.

Can you seriously look at this, or this, or this, or this and not feel inspired?

It didn't help when Marie Grace started showing off quilts too. Suddenly I found myself in the tight grip of a new obsession. I NEEDED to quilt something NOW! Once upon a time I amassed quite the collection of fat quarters and other various pretty fabrics. There was simply no room for it in the great move of 2006 and we gave it all away to a woman who made baby quilts for all the babies at church. If I wanted to quilt something I was going to have to start fresh and go shopping.

And if we think about that for a second, is that really a hardship?

I decided it wasn't.

Now when I first learned to quilt I was taught by a Quilting Nazi, with a capital Q and a capital N. All quilts must be made with 100% cotton, and be pieced by hand. All batting must be "Warm and Natural" brand only. And all quilting must, Must, MUST be done by hand. Or it simply wasn't a quilt. The. End.

I'm not exactly sure what she thought the resulting item would be if one of her rules were broken, but her mind it most certainly would not be a Real Quilt(tm). I guess that would make it an Imitation Quilt(tm).

Once upon a time, being young and foolish and eager to please, I followed her rules to a T, and I think it was all the hand sewing that eventually led me to abandon quilting after Pork Chop was born. That, and all the pins I kept leaving on the floor. I decided that machine quilting was absolutely without a doubt the way to go this time. The Greatest, being The Greatest, and knowing me so well, knew that resistance was futile and bought me a set of quilting feet for my sewing machine.

I practiced meandering with my darning foot on old pieces of paper for hours. I'm still not sure I have the hang of it yet. I do have a baby quilt top just waiting for me to get the courage to try it out. Maybe someday. But not today. I've already moved on from that project. I think I must secretly like have UFO's hanging around. A little guilt is good for the soul.

Once the quilting bug took hold I started to haunt other quilting blogs. I became completely obsessed with, I mean I was inspired by this quilt. I knew I had to have one of my very own. But not in orange. In pinks and red.

And my Valentine's Day Quilt was born


Now don't look too closely at my quilt. It's full of mistakes.

I actually think my piecing is pretty fantastic. I still remember a few tricks from the old days that translate well to machine piecing. I just love how the red and white stripes line up perfectly in the diamonds. I'd like to say I planned that when I cut the pieces, but that was the result of a happy accident of cutting, and a bit of care when piecing. And I'm simply in love with my 1/4 seam foot. I wanna kiss who ever created that right on the lips. Seaming Perfection!

Now it was when I decided to try my hand at machine quilting that things took a turn for the worse.

First off, they should really include a picture of the walking foot and how it is supposed to look. In case you're wondering it is supposed to look like this...


with the little arm thingie on TOP of the thingie that holds your needle in place. That accounts for one of my broken needles.


Now it also turns out that when they tell you to roll the unused sides of your quilt they know what they're talking about. Because if you leave it loose, and just try to shove the unused side through like this


You end up with this


no matter how carefully you've pinned it.

And when you stop to shove the loose side through to make it easier to keep quilting you should really leave the needle down in the fabric. Otherwise it tends to shift like this


yeah. I'm still not sure I've mastered this one.

And it is also a good idea to match the thread color to your binding, even if you've used white thread on the rest of the entire quilt.

I also discovered is not a good idea to set up shop at one end of the kitchen table and let your children eat at the other end of said table. Unless you want to quilt a quilt that already has a spot of dried yogurt and a kool-aid stain on it.

So there's a ton of mistakes in this quilt. But I think that's alright. I know I learn more from what I do wrong, than I do from the things I get right. In the meantime I love my quilt.


I couldn't resist a little bit of piecing on the backing.


And I had to make a striped binding with my leftovers.


Although I think if I had to do it all over again I might have bound the entire quilt in this fabric


I just love the polka-dots. And the unexpected blue flower.

I think the reds and pinks are all 100% cotton, but the white on the front is of unknown origin, and the white on the back is a cotton/poly blend. The top is machine pieced. The batting is polyester. And the actual quilting of the quilt was done by machine. I did sew the final binding seam by hand. I have made myself a genuine Imitation Quilt. And I'm in love!


Unfortunately Sweet Pea is also in love. The entire time I was making it she kept poking it and telling me "Sweet Pea Quilt." I would tell her in a sing-song voice "No, this one's for Mommy." And she would sing-song back to me "No, Sweet Pea."


Looks like I'd better make her gingham quilt soon.

I still managed to sneak in some face time with my quilt the other day.


I'd like to thank whoever is in charge of the weather for dropping the temperature enough for me to lie outside and enjoy my quilt.


Anonymous said...

I don't know whether I should apologize or congratulate you for sucking you into another addiction! All I know is that if I hadn't quilted when my kids were little, I would be even more crazy than I am now. Somehow or other, laundry and cleaning are not fulfilling to me. When my life was the busiest, if I could get 15 minutes a day to quilt, I'd stay sane. So....congratulations! Quilting may be what saves you!

Bezzie said...

I love it!!! I'm very impressed with your machine quilting! No way am I dealing with that machine and a quilt.

Charity said...

This is really fabulous! I know just what you mean, those quilts at passingdowncrazy have been inspiring me, too... :o)

Carrie Snider said...

Wow that is so cute!!