Monday, November 8, 2010

A Finish Today

I finished this quilt today, and washed and dried it too. In case anyone is wondering, the design is Bali Sea Star and directions are in the book Scrap-Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett. I quilted it with an allover Baptist fan design (or Golden Arches as Patsy Thompson calls them) using variegated thread.

I've only been free motion quilting for a few months, but I am learning as I go along. I've read several places that beginners shouldn't use variegated thread. I LOVE variegated thread, and not using it is not an option. That said, I've learned the hard way, that if I am having thread breakage issues, if I just quilt more slowly, that issue pretty much goes away. I know that you should match the speed you move with quilt with the speed you are sewing, and with some threads I can quilt pretty quickly, but if I'm having thread breakage, slowing the rate I'm sewing and the rate I'm moving the quilt is essential. I quilt on my Juki and it is capable of stitching 1600 stitches a minute. I am learning not all threads can handle that. I know that is pretty basic information for most people, but I am new to free-motion, and maybe someone else out there is new to it too.

Since I've been on this quilt finishing spree, I've been trying new threads and a couple more designs. I started out matching the top thread to the bottom thread, but on this quilt, I used a C&C Star variegated in the top, and a solid Aurifil in the bottom. Oh my, what a difference using Aurifil in the bottom makes! I didn't have any tension issues, even though the threads were different weights, but the big plus was I could wind so much more Aurifil on the bobbin. The last quilt I quilted that was about this same size, where I matched the top and bottom threads with variegated, I went through about 9 bobbins. On this quilt I only used 6, which meant I spent half as much time changing bobbins! Since I am in such a time crunch, any time I can save is a bonus.

I finished DSIL's (DD#1's DH) quilt, but I don't want to post any pics of it on the blog until he gets it. Now I am down to two quilts pin basted, and amazingly enough, I am keeping both of them! One is a throw size, and the other is approximately twin, but a bit wide for a twin, maybe closer to full. My goal is to have these two quilts completely finished before Thanksgiving.

On days when I don't have much time to quilt, I am working on some other projects. Today I made a couple more burp rags, as I only finish them as I have batting scraps large enough to make them. The flannel has been cut for months, and I make a few at a time.

I am also working on some big square swaddling blankets. As much as I love quilts and afghans, my favorite baby blankets were some my MIL made made me. They were just big squares, as a big a square as she could make from the fabric, maybe 42-44 inches square. She made some with two layers of fabric, and others with a single layer just hemmed, as we lived in Texas when our first two were born and it was hot! I had one blanket she had made that was pink on one side, and blue on the other, and my babies always came home from the hospital in that one. I never asked about gender when I had my ultrasounds, so I never knew which to prepare for. That blanket was perfect! The big square shape is much easier to use for swaddling a baby than rectangular receiving blankets, not to mention I think receiving blankets are just too small! My last baby weighed 10 1/2 pounds, and a receiving blanket just wasn't big enough to stay around him.

I made some of the square swaddling blankets for DD#1 when DGS was on the way, and she loved them as much as I did. Now it's time to make a bunch for the twins. I'm just using fabric I already had for these, not worrying about the nursery theme or anything. I did buy fabric for curtains for the nursery though. I had to buy fabric when I found some with cartoon samurai and geishas done in purple and blue which are the nursery colors, and the nursery theme. It's perfect! I have a geisha panel and a samurai panel to use for the twins quilts, but I decided to make some smaller quilts first. At first they will be sleeping in the same crib, so I wanted smaller quilts for that, then their samurai and geisha quilts will be for when they are each in their own crib. I'm still hoping to make some crib sheets too, but we'll see what I get done. Swaddling blankets, four quilts, and curtains may be enough for the twins for now. I already have a big stack of burp cloths ready for them.

Bonnie Hunter is starting a new mystery on November 19th on, and I REALLY want to do it! I did pick colors, with a specific person in mind. I haven't pulled fabrics yet, and I'd really like to get a few more fat quarters of a couple of the colors. See how much better I've gotten? I don't want to go buy lots of yardage, just some fat quarters I will use right away. Well, sort of use right away. I know I won't be able to keep up with the mystery, I have too many other things going on right now. I'd like to be able to keep up with cutting, and sew at least a few units, so I have some blocks done. If I can get everything cut, I'll at least have a kit, which may work very well as a 2011 project when my sewing time will probably be 15 minutes at a time.

Whether or not I start the mystery depends on what I manage to get done between now and when it starts. If I do finish these other two quilts, and have made progress on things for the twins, I'll probably start it. If I can't get those things done, I probably won't. I think there will be about 30 people here for Thanksgiving dinner, so I won't have much time to sew that week, as I'll be cooking a couple days prior to Thanksgiving. I have to make all new stockings (nine of them) before Christmas, and so far all I've done is cut the batting. Just over two weeks until Thanksgiving, 47 days until Christmas, and an unknown amount of time before the twins come. What will get done, what won't get done, and will it really matter?

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