As mentioned previously, this quilt is far too large and stiff to bunch up under the machine. It had to be rolled like a log--and it seemed as heavy as a log. Five minutes into stitching the left-hand border, it was clear that continued 'free' motion would be impossible for anybody but Hercules.
Even a programmed decorative machine stitch requires a back-and-forth motion to stitch correctly, so that idea was out. I could just imagine what a puckered, distorted mess that would make--and I'd have to go around the entire quilt several times to fill the border.
What to do? Despair crept into my mind. Would this have to go to a professional longarm quilter for finishing? Surely not! What I needed was a way for this 'log' to roll back and forth while I stitched, instead of having to be dragged over the table and the vinyl-covered ironing board.
And then for some reason my eyes lit on some wooden dowels standing in the corner. If, during ancient times, boulders and large stones were moved great distances by rolling them on logs, why wouldn't the same method work for a measly little quilt?
|In front of the machine|
|Behind the machine|
|Pinned and ready to block|
|First smoothing with a mailing tube|
That was yesterday, and I left it overnight to dry. This morning it's still not quite dry, but wow, what a difference already! The interior warping (which is mostly on tree trunks, so no big deal) is almost gone...
...and that really wavy section of border (circled below) is practically flat!
Instructions for blocking a quilt can be found in most landscape quilting books, and probably on the internet. The tools are: carpet or a thick rug, a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth (turned flannel side up), an old sheet atop the tablecloth, quilt wrong side up, lots of T-pins, a damp towel (I used to use a handkerchief, but there's just not enough moisture in it), a spray bottle of water, and a hot, dry iron.
If your quilt is small and your design wall is moisture- and heat-resistant, you can do this vertically, and save a lot of knee and back strain. But as sore as I am today, there are no regrets, and you can see why by the 'after' photos above.
On the old Singer 403, more quilt-as-you-go blocks got made this week. As the scrap fabric pile grows smaller along with my choices, my combinations get crazier. There are 9 blocks to go, so I may have to invade my batik scrap drawer, although I'd rather save those for landscape quilts.
(These are cropped photos, not squared blocks.) They're fun to make, but because there's no place to put the 403 in the studio (yet), it's set up in the dining room. This is shared space, and for obvious reasons I usually wait for these popular sun patches to disappear before pulling a chair up to the table to sew. That cuts out most of the morning. Oh well. The things we do for our furry children. :)
|Mokie, Morticia and Zoe|
Time to hook up with two of my favorite blogs and check in on their reader linkups as well: Leah Day's FMQ Project Linkup and Sarah Craig's Whoop Whoop Fridays.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy all the signs of spring--which is apparently coming after all!