It’s done! I have never been so glad to see a quilt finished. I really hope you have a better screen than I do. The photo was taken outside on my deck last night as the light was waning, and it looked pretty clear on my iPad, but now I’m looking at it on my laptop screen it’s a bit fuzzy.
To recap a little, the piecing went swimmingly. I collected up my fabrics, decided which ones I wanted to feature in the centre of the blocks, loosely decided which ones were “lights” and which ones were “darks” and got started. I used a white broadcloth (poly cotton blend) as the foundation for the blocks and used the stitch and flip method to add pieces from the centre out, sewing through both the cotton on top and the broadcloth behind. You end up with a messy looking block that miraculously looks neat and tidy once you trim the overflowing bits to the size of the broadcloth.
The quilt grew organically. I didn’t have much of a plan, didn’t know how big I was going to make it, or how I would arrange the blocks when they were done. In the end, I stopped at 25, bought some black cotton fabric for the sashing and binding, and arranged them so that the similar ones created a diagonal line. The Pink Panther ones were my main feature, I felt, so once I’d laid them down to form the main diagonal I added the camper vans, the Scooby Doo blocks, the crazy cats etc.
Separating the wildly coloured blocks with black sashing calms it all down a bit and makes the colours pop. After I had sewn the centre part of the top together, I noticed I had been careless and not lined things up very well in places. Hence the appliques using one of the fabrics that had cool cars, camper vans and scooters on it.
The border was easy as I had just the right amount of one of the coordinating fabrics to cut strips along the lines of the print. And then it was time to sandwich and quilt. I used a thin polyester batting. I’ve always used cotton before, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. And the backing is pieced from large chunks of the fabrics left over from the top.
All (mostly) well so far, right!
It’s been a long time since I made a quilt. I made a big swatch to practise my free motion quilting. I was rusty but I thought it would be ok. I started right in the centre of the quilt, and used the prints on the fabrics to lead my quilting. In one 1.5 hour session, I heavily quilted five of the blocks and used an entire bobbin of thread. I hated it. It was messy. SO messy. I mentally kicked myself. And then I unpicked every damn stitch. It took a couple of weeks, on and off. It wasn’t so bad where the black stitching was on a light background, but black on black just doesn’t agree with my eyes any more.
Finally, I was done and came up with a simpler quilting idea. Use the walking foot, NOT the darning foot, and quilt it with a straight line design. I worked out that a five pointed star would be ideal, as I could quilt it in an unbroken line and then stitch in the ditch around the edge of the block. I did that 25 times. It took a couple of sessions and looked much better than my original effort. Of course there was a lot of turning of the quilt which has its challenges when using a basic sewing machine with only a small area to work in. But it worked. I added a line of stitching on the outside edge of the black border strip and decided that would do.
I had JUST the right amount of black fabric left to cut strips for the binding (my math was good) but by this time my walking foot was driving me nuts. The screw holding it onto the shaft kept loosening, so it didn’t want to stay in place for long. The foot components themselves seemed to be too loose so I tightened the little screws either side of it and that caused it to shorten my stitch length and not feed the fabric layers through properly. So I had to unpick more stitches as I started to sew on the binding.
Eventually it was attached, and I decided to hand sew the binding on the back. But I didn’t make my life easier then, did I! What I SHOULD have done is trim the seam allowances a bit so that when I folded the binding over it was easy to sew it down. But my seam allowances were just a little wide and I struggled with it instead. Good grief!
So yeah, it’s finished. And the result is something I can live with, even though it’s not perfect. Let me tell you, it has not encouraged me to make another quilt any time soon.