Wednesday, October 7, 2015

surrounded, in progess

Backwards, I know.

I mean,
and here I am blathering on
about while it was a work in progress...

Thing is,
most of the work on this was done in secret.

Some was done in secret,
but right out in the open.
Because it's kinda hard to make a secret quilt for someone who isn't gone very much!
I realize I would have had plenty of time with Brandon gone during the summer,
only I hadn't realized how badly he needed a quilt then.

Mostly what I wanted to talk about 
was the method I used for piecing the top.

I forget where I read about it,
and didn't bother to bookmark it,
because once I read the post, I didn't need it any more.
Except it would have been nice of me to link to it,
I'm sorry.

(I'm also sorry for the horrible pictures!)

I used the method where you join the first 2 fabrics in each row,
without snipping threads,
add the next fabric to the first row,
then the next piece to the second,
and so on and so forth until you have an entire 'curtain' of pieced squares.

I think the method is better suited to baby quilts or smaller throws,
as I found for my 72x88 quilt that there was quite a bit of fraying of the fabrics
after so much handling.
But I do think it was faster than my usual method
of sewing pairs together
and sewing those together
'til I have complete rows.
And bonus - I didn't have to label my pieces.
(I was very careful taking them off my 'design wall' so I wouldn't knock any off,
and made sure to identify the beginning of each column and which direction was up
just to be extra safe)

Even though I prefer the looked of pressed open seams,
I'm still on the fence regarding what is really and truly the best way to press
in terms of strength and durability.
or to the side?
(Weigh in - please!)

This quilt, I pressed to the side,
but had Tyler get me a long board to press on,
and several smaller boards to put on my seams once I'd pressed them
(so I sorta had a clapper on both sides)
so that my seams would be as flat as possible.
but slow....

That got me to thinking
about why couldn't you just use a big piece of well-sanded plywood
as your ironing board??

After joining the rows,
I did press the seams open
(using my dowel rod trick - which I love and use regularly now!)

I basted the layers together
while the kids were at TKD the day after Brandon's birthday,
being very careful to line up the centers
(I taped toothpicks to the outside of the backing (aka second top)
before taping it to the floor
so when I added the top,
I could feel where my center seam needed to be)
and we gave it to him that evening.
It would have taken me soo long to quilt and bind if I was still keeping it secret....

Thankfully, he was totally surprised :-)

Let's see,
what else?
I used bamboo batting for the first time.
It's nice.
Not as nice as wool, mind you ;-)
but more pleasant to work with (and hand-quilt) than Warm and White.

I quilted straight-ish lines with my walking foot
anywhere from 1/4" - 5/8" apart in grey aurfil
(which took 7 bobbins and 9 hours)
hand-quilted random pluses
and partial pluses
until Brandon and I both thought it was done.
making sure that the stitches showed almost as much on the 'back' as they did on the front.

hand-quilting was kinda lost on that fabric...

The binding was sewn onto the back by hand on the way to Alabama :-)

An hour after arriving home,
I tossed it in the washer.
(right after I pulled out the load of beach towels)
Not long after that,
I pulled it out of the dryer
and tossed it on Brandon,
in all of its crinkly goodness :-)

linking up again with Lee, and all the other inspiring gals :-)


  1. I think I've seen this method of joining rows on Bonnie Hunter's site. She calls it webbing the quilt. It does keep your quilt pieces in the right order. As for pressing seams open or to the side all I can say is it depends. If I can see that I'm going to have a lot of bulk where the seams meet, I'll definitely press them open. Otherwise I mostly press to one side.

  2. This is a post filled with helpful and beautiful details. Using toothpicks to help line up from ad back is another brilliant idea. Love everything about this quilt and so pleased you shared some details of how and why you made it. I hope Brandon loves and treasures it!

  3. LOVE everything about this quilt! You made so many great choices, and it came together beautifully. The fact that it is double sided, and very personalized, makes it even more special. Wonderful work!

  4. That is super impressive! I need more info on your piecing method. I'm not sure I followed it but it is SO cool. I've done out in the open surprise sewing before. It's pretty fun when they are still totally surprised! I've been using some old heavy books to help keeps my seams flat after pressing. I got the idea from Cluck Cluck Sew. It really helps!


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