Last year my first finish of the year was the rally quilt. This year my first finish of the year is the rally quilt. Last year I finished the rally quilt in March, and this year it's April, but finished is finished.
I don't think this pic looks much different than the one of the quilt top, but now you can see I used red binding.
I kind of went crazy on the center applique panel. I added a road outlined with rocks, added multiple types of cactus and grasses. I tried taking a photo from the front, and it just doesn't show up, so here is my barrel cactus from the backside of the quilt. I don't know that my free motion quilting skills are up to what I attempted, but I was feeling daring and just went for it. I quilted the center panel yesterday.
I opted for an allover pattern on the rest of the quilt, so I wouldn't have to mark it. I did spirals, or as Patsy Thompson calls them, innies and outies. It is a really fun design to quilt, and goes pretty quickly. I was surprised I got the quilting finished today, I thought I would finish tomorrow. It was still light out when I finished quilting, so I hurried and got the binding on. I am sooooo happy to have this finished!
I have the pink/black beast blocks on my sewing cabinet, ready to start assembling it tomorrow. I plan on assembling it in quarters, instead of rows like I normally do. I took some time last week to assemble the backings for the pink/black beast and Orca Bay. I contacted my LAQ, and she will quilt and bind both of them. I need to mail them to her, so as soon as the pink/black beast top is together, I can send those off, and they will come back finished. That will give me time to finish up some of my smaller quilts, including the three baby quilts I need ASAP.
As I was quilting today, I was thinking about how much I have changed as a quilter. I used to dread the quilting, and today I found it fun. I never disliked pin-basting, but now I find it downright relaxing. I still have to psych myself up for applique prep, but overall, I am just enjoying the process more and more. I still love piecing best, and I doubt that will change, but I am appreciating the steps more.
I kept debating what to do about my batting problem. I really like Warm and Natural, and I still have most of a roll of it, but it is so expensive to replace with the rising cotton prices, that I hate to use it up just because I was out of polyester batting. I did some online shopping and I found the Microsafe batting traditional loft, which is what I just used the last of, for $60.20 for a 20 yard roll at benfranklin.com . The last time I bought that batting I got a 25 yard roll, but I figured the 20 yard roll would take up just a little less space, which is good, but still will last a while. When that gets here I can choose which batting I want to use for each quilt, and since I have over 20 quilt tops that need to be quilted, I will be using lots of batting. I tend to use polyester batting for donation quilts, just so I can make more quilts, since it is less expensive. I also use polyester if I want a lightweight quilt. If I am going to keep a quilt, I usually use cotton batting.
I am set on fabric, thread, and batting for a while. I think my next quilty purchase will be more Patsy Thompson DVD's. I have three of her DVD's now, and I'd like to eventually get all of them. I think my freemotion quilting is getting better, I am at least getting more comfortable with it. I still can't loop de loop to save my life, I keep trying it on paper, and I just can't do it. There are several quilting designs on the second Fast and Free DVD I am anxious to try. I've heard you should try to become proficient at a design before you go on to another one, but I am skipping around. If I didn't I'd still feel like a complete failure because I always back myself into a corner with the loop de loops. I have been skipping around and I feel pretty comfortable with several other designs, and that just makes me happy :-)
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