Hello from Colorado, USA! Welcome to this week's TGIFF link-up!
Have you finished something lately that you'd like to share? Link up at the bottom of this post, and be sure to visit some of the other links to find some great eye candy and help your fellow bloggers celebrate. :D
This quilt's story is one of Thankfulness and progress. I have a very special friend, Karen, who has been more like family over the years.
She took our young-adult daughter, Devon, in several months ago when her life took a rough turn and she wanted to try a fresh start down in Florida. Karen's that kind of friend, and this quilter's mama heart needed to make her a Thanksgiving throw quilt as a bit of a Thank You.
It's one of a trio, as there was enough fabric to do up three of these diamond-lattice throws. One is for our neighbors, the Heinz's, because they do so very much for all of us on the cul-de-sac, contributing more than anyone to keeping the snow cleared on our hill (we don't get winter service from the county).
The other is for us to keep, largely because I'd only done 6 quilts ahead of these on my new longarm machine, and I hadn't tried diagonal work or feathers on it yet. The one for us provided a foil to figure things out on first.
Good thing, too - I got a little ahead of myself with this design! If you don't have a longarm, you need to know that diagonal lines are not easy. It takes ruler work to keep them not-wobbly, and I hadn't tried that out yet. Naive braveness on my part for these quilts, but it's gone well enough to gift to a friend.
|Quilts 7 & 8 on my longarm - APQS Millie, hand guided|
My 12-foot frame was just large enough to sew two backings together top-to-bottom, so I could load two up simultaneously.
(I found that I *greatly* prefer to float the top so I have full control over any shifting that may need to happen, I can double-check the flatness of the back and batting (and presence of dark run-away threads behind very light fabrics in the top) with each advance. I use painter's tape lines on the quilt-top bar of my APQS frame to give myself marks for the vertical lines. This keeps the top square from side to side. I use the channel lock feature on my machine to make sure horizontal lines are square, and you can see the pins I've used beyond the working area to make sure the top stays in square for that section of work.)
Diagonal work went fairly well - if I were doing this for a high school term project, I'd give it a "C-" for the wobbles that I couldn't avoid (which show quite well since my thread was dark. (Affinity 40-wt variegated "Satin")
|Early bobbles in diagonal ditchwork|
Feather work went better. I would give those bump-backs and free-hand shaping in the diamonds a C- on the early ones, but a B+ on the later ones, and quite a few stretches in the borders would get an A. I'd also give myself an A on keeping the quilts perfectly square and having no tucks in the backs or problems with the tension. So something is going well already. :)
Still feeling like I had to concentrate at a calculus homework level just to shape things and watch the fabric play, I wasn't confident enough to free-hand the border work. So I made templates of feather sections and chalked them onto the quilts. Worked great, although it made me sneeze a lot!
I also wasn't up to trying the feathers on the vertical, even with templates. So I rotated the quilts to do the final borders.
NOTE: If you think you might be rotating a quilt (which is really quite easy with a squared-up backing), make sure you don't start the quilt top right close to the take-up bar. Otherwise, you have to work with hyper-care slowness at the edge against the clamp!
I can tell that my precision control will improve steadily with more practice, and look forward to my machine and I becoming really great friends. As I do each new quilt on my Milli, I tend to do the grading game in my mind - not to criticize myself, but to mark my progress in terms of attaining the professional excellence I got to on my domestic. As that initial development took a good eight years, I'm quite pleased to find that the learning curve is shorter than that to transfer it to this new way of working.
|The Heinz's will go on the frame this afternoon|
Each quilt has its own border and backing fabrics. Ours won't get its binding until the Heinz's is quilted and gifted.
|The first one to be quilted will be the last fully finished|
I am super happy with these quilts, imperfections and all, and I know that Karen will love hers.
I'm giving these quilts a faux-piped binding. My favorite approach to this is to cut the outer color at 1-3/8" width, and the accent color at 1-5/8" width (I normally use a 2-1/4" double-fold binding - if you use 2-1/2", add 1/8" inch to each of these figures).
I press the joining seam toward the accent color, which isn't the easiest. You have to go SLOWLY, finger press first, and be super precise both with this seam press and when you press the double-fold into the created binding to get a nice piping line. Pressing toward the accent color will make the faux piping have substance, and after the final topstitching, it will look like real piping instead of a flat flange. (I attach this binding to the back of the quilt with a 1/4" seam. Orient it so that the accent color is shown, then when you fold it over to the front, you see the main color and the piping line.) Do your corners exactly the same way you do for normal binding.
Anyone who lets a friend's daughter live with them, helps her get her car fixed (more than once!) and borrow a vehicle while it's in shop, gives her rides and support for a bicycle century, and just loves on her in general definitely deserves a quilt, and who has time to wait until skills get perfected? :)
Love you, Karen. Happy Thanksgiving!
Also, per link-up etiquette, please include a link to TGIFF on your post.