Pretending it hasn't been a month since my last blog post, I'll just casually pick up where I left off. :)
After finishing The Overlook, my last landscape quilt, I went back to the donation quilt begun a few weeks before. It's a quilt-as-you-go and sort of a crazy quilt, in that the blocks are pieced in a wonky way.
However, the idea with this particular QAYG was to use no joining strips. Instead, you baste each row of the quilt top to an oversize strip of batting, then quilt each batted row one at a time to a whole-cloth backing. A good friend of mine has been doing this for years to cut down on bulk and weight on her small sewing machine. You start with the middle row and quilt it to within an inch away from the edges. Then you seam that row to the next row of blocks, trimming the batting to meet up with the previous row of batting and connecting the batting with either hand-basting or iron-on batting tape. Commence quilting, including the inch you avoided quilting in the previous row. As in the traditional QAYG method, you're keeping the bulk of your work to your left while quilting on the right.
The upside to this method is, again, that there are no joining strips to deal with, since you've already joined your blocks (sashing optional), and the back is whole-cloth (or pieced, like mine, into one big backing).
The downside(s) to this method did not become apparent until I was quilting the third row. Using a free-motion stipple, I noticed it was getting more and more difficult to move the quilt. By the end of that third row, with two rows to go, I was so stiff and sore that I halted the project to figure out what my problem was.
And finally it hit me. There were actually two problems. First of all, my friend, who as mentioned uses this method all the time, never uses commercial batting. She always uses an old flannel sheet...warm but lightweight and very supple. I, on the other hand, was using a fairly heavy cotton batting.
The other problem was the difference in my quilting and hers. She uses a dual-feed foot and a straight stitch for the entire quilt, either in a grid pattern or stitch-in-the-ditch. I was free-motion quilting with the feed dogs down. Huge difference!
Knowing I didn't have the physical prowess to continue stippling, I attached the dual-feed foot, returned the feed dogs to the 'up' position, and marked some lines on the remaining two rows. Because of the weight, though, I still couldn't maneuver the quilt the way my friend does, so with every line of quilting, instead of turning, I had to break thread and start the next line fresh. What I should have done to save some of this hassle was quilt the last two rows at once, instead of continuing quilting one at a time. Hindsight is great, isn't it? So all told, there are now dozens of knots buried behind those last two rows.
|Here you can see the transition from free-motion stipple to feed-dog-driven serpentine stitch.|
A couple of other problems ensued along the way, but I'll spare you those. Suffice to say that the upshot of it all is, I don't trust this quilt enough to donate it. It will stay right here in my house where it can be observed throughout several launderings to see how well it holds up. Lesson(s) learned!
|Extra-long twin bed.|
|The pieced back|
I had no suitable fabric to make binding, so leftover strips from the back edges were pieced together instead...which is why you see white areas on the binding.
Here's my favorite block, but only because of the center motif:
So, done and done. And never to be done again. Back to the usual QAYG method for me--joining strips and all!
Have a wonderful weekend~~