Well I’ve eventually done it! – Completed my first real quilt.
I have been trying things out over the last 18 months and doing a lot of reading up on how to do the various different things you need to do to end up with something that at least looks ok, if not particularly good.
I’ve taken part in several block swaps which helped me practise those quarter-inch seams, and the seam matching, and completed some lovely blocks. I also made my dog a quilted top to his dog bed which turned out ok so the time had come to actually take the plunge and make the quilt.
Then came the decisions – what blocks to use, what wadding to use, what backing to use, what colour to use to balance the blocks what colour binding to use – and finally what quilting to do.
I decided I would use the cat blocks from the TreadleOn block swap and played around with the placing.
I was going to add 2 of my own, as included in the pic above (Top right and bottom middle), but decided I just wanted to use the swap blocks in the end. I had bought EQ7 a month or so ago so I drew up the blocks, inserted similar colours in all of the pieces and then moved them around using different sizing and alternate blocks to see what I liked best.
I decided on a turquoise/green colour for the alternate blocks and border as there wasn’t much green in the cat blocks, but I was struggling a bit over the binding colour. Since there were so many colours present in the different blocks I though either a multicolour or plain colour would be best – but what plain colour. Then as I was working on the blocks for the Canning Jar TreadleOn September Block Exchange it occurred to me that black would be a good contrast with the pale alternate blocks and fit in with all the block colours – so that’s what I used.
Here is the finished quilt. It measures 35.5 inches square.
The quilt was made up on a 1957 99k hand crank and the cat blocks were made on the following machines:-
From Top Left – 1919 Singer 28, 1920’s New Home Midget, 1918 Singer 66 HC
Second Row – 1949 Singer 99 HC, Davis VF
Third Row – 1928 Singer 15-30, 1910 Singer 128 HC
Bottom Row – Singer 128 HC, 1922 Singer 15, 1925 Singer 66 Treadle
Many thanks to all for the lovely blocks!
I had some issues! First there were blocks of slightly different sizes so I ended up squaring them up to 8.25″ rather then the planned 8.5 in order that I could included them all. Then I had problems stretching the backing – it probably didn’t help that I used a piece of poly cotton from an old duvet cover, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this first quilt while I was practising. I got several puckers on the backing! I have no idea exactly what wadding I used, except to say it was cotton, and I used a polyester thread of unknown pedigree.
My aim was really to see how badly it would turn out given that I wasn’t doing things expertly – this should be the worse quilt I will make! I used the 99k hand crank to do all the stitching and found stitching in the ditch was fine with just the normal machine foot – I also stitched around each of the cats (which involved a lot of stopping and starting and turning the quilt!). Before I did the rest of the quilting my straight stitch walking foot arrived so I thought I’d give that a try – I should really have tried it out first! I had difficulties getting an even stitch length or even sewing a straight line (I was eye balling it anyway but I am usually ok with that) but continued. It wasn’t til I had finished all the diagonal lines that I noticed the thread from the stitch take up lever was getting caught around the take up spring! I sorted that out by putting a bobbin over the thread spool pin and trapping the thread that was coming from my spool stand, thus putting a bit more tension on that top thread so not so much fed through and it didn’t wrap around that spring. I then did the stars in the corner stones, and the quilting in the borders which worked out fine.
I have yet to wash it. The cat blocks will have been pre-washed, and of course the poly cotton backing has been washed loads of times. I haven’t washed anything else though – the wadding, the alternate block and border fabric or the binding. It will be interesting to see what shrinkage I get and whether there is any bleeding from the black – it is Kona black though so I am not expecting any.
I still have to decide a name for it and make a label.
All in all I am pretty happy with my first quilt, especially as I seem to have managed the mitres on the binding ok (again my first attempt) – things can only get better!