The completed memory quilt and the many lessons learnt from it

Still on the high you get from a finished project – woohoo!

Picking up from my last post, this is how I got to my finished quilt.

I decided to just quilt the top of my quilt, and not the backing. So Friday morning, as soon as my little man was napping, the sewing machine was out. I ‘stitched in the ditch’ round the edge of the border, where it bordered the patchwork. I need much more practice stitching in the ditch. I’m still very much straddling it at times.

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And then I quilted star shapes on to the plain squares.

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Squared up the quilt top and wadding.

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Saturday morning, another nap time. I pinned on the backing. Then hubby took little man out for a walk so I could finish off.

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Sewed a 1/4 in seam round the edge, leaving about 12″ open at the bottom for turning out.

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Cut the corners and turned out, hoping for the best.

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Then all that was left to do was to close the opening with a slip stitch. Not easy for me as I’m ridiculously bad at slip stitch. Ideal opportunity to catch up on the Children in Need Sewing Bee.

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Then it was into the washing machine on a hand wash setting followed by a gentle spin. Little man was asleep again at this point, so I rewarded myself by sitting in the sun and reading my book.

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Once the spin cycle was done, it got an airing on the washing line, then was left to dry inside overnight. Some repair work was going to be necessary the following morning …

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One of the seams had come apart ever so slightly and my rubbish slip-stitching looked awful, so that had to be done again. On the plus side, I got to catch up on more tv, watching Strictly from the night before. I was determined to have it finished Sunday morning, ready to hand over on Sunday afternoon. Mission accomplished. I even had time to get out our posh camera to take some photos of it.

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And here is the blanket, being enjoyed later that afternoon.

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Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

While I’m enjoying the comedown from finishing this memory quilt, I’m also getting itchy fingers to get onto the next one. Even better, it’s a girly one for the big sister of this little boy. I find girls clothes so much nicer. I’ve also had some orders come in off the back of this one so my (imaginary) order book now contains three more quilts/blankets, a Christmas stocking (made from last year’s Christmas outfit), matching cushions for my first two memory quilts, a memory bear and, finally, a teepee! Think I could be quite busy over the coming months!

Anyway, to wrap up, here’s what I learnt from doing my first memory quilt:

  • cutting up the baby clothes takes a lot longer than I anticipated, especially once you factor in adding the interfacing
  • it’s better to have lots of bigger squares, as lots of smaller squares looks too busy
  • backing fabric is expensive!
  • so is wadding
  • ALWAYS to check the colour-fastness of unwashed fabric before sewing with it
  • I need to improve my stitching in the ditch
  • I need to seriously improve my slip stitching

I’m hoping the next one will be a lot quicker, now that I know what I’m doing. In theory.

Mother and daughter craft time

Third attempt at this post …

Little man and I have escaped the noise of the Farnborough Air Show for a few days in Suffolk with my parents. Having realised on Monday that the bunting I’d offered to make for a friend’s little girl’s 1st birthday needed to be done this week, not next, I brought all the stuff with me.

It was a great excuse to test out /show my Mum how to use her new sewing machine (which is a newer model of the one I have).

She made a patchwork cushion and I made my bunting in one evening. A lovely time was had by all!

Building blocks – the progression of my first quilt

Brief hiatus on the quilt front due to a few days at the seaside (Sheringham, Norfolk). This is the fourth year that my family has decamped there. And this time the sun shone! Despite the lack of quilt progress, I did manage to get some cross stitching in in the evenings.

Anyway, back to the quilt. Despite feeling a bit ‘can’t be bothered’ due to a 5am start with little man, followed by a day at work (keeping in touch day as I’m on maternity leave), I decided to get stuck into my cot quilt and I’m so glad I did, it’s come together nicely.

I started by laying out all the blocks which I’d sewn way back when – last July! They needed a bit of ironing after being crumpled in a bag for a year.

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Then I pinned and sewed them together. Love my pretty quilting pins, but I did come a cropper later by being lazy and not taking them out as they neared the needle.

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Ending up with rows like this:

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Then I sewed the left row to the centrepiece, followed by the right row. Unfortunately, at this point, my needle broke when it caught one of my lovely pins.

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Onwards and upwards, with a new needle in, I attached the top and bottom rows and it currently looks like this.

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Not perfect in terms of matching seams. But pretty pleased with the progress I’ve made this evening. This blog is certainly motivating. I’m making lots if quilting errors on my way, if you saw the back, you’d be appalled. But it’s a start. How did you all learn to quilt? Am I mad going it alone?

Beginner’s mistakes

As I’m home alone (hubby on a stag do), I’ve resisted the lure of the TV in favour of working on my cot quilt. I finished tracing the rest of the giraffe onto the fusible web. I couldn’t understand why I had to trace it, cut it out, then iron it on to the fabric, then cut the shapes out of the fabric. That’s because I had misunderstood. Argh! I was supposed to iron the tracings onto the fabric and ONLY THEN cut it. Whoops. I realised this in time for the accent (brown) colours. But not for the yellow colour fabric.

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I thought I’d be able to muddle through and iron on my cut out shapes to the yellow fabric, then cut again. Which would have been OK, had I not ironed them to the right side of the fabric, which was in fact the wrong side, I should have ironed them to the wrong side. Confused? I was.

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Had to retrace the giraffe’s body and start again on a new piece of fabric. Thank god I had enough.

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From there on in, it went smoother and I’m now ready to appliqué. That’s it for tonight though. Far too tired which means I’ll only make more mistakes!

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Picking up my patchwork quilt

Now that I’ve finished one project, it’s time to pick up another. I’ve gone for the patchwork cot quilt. I think the last time I worked on this was when Andy Murray won Wimbledon. So almost a year ago. Shame on me! As per my previous post (Unfinished project No.4), I was hoping to finish this in the two weeks before my baby was due, but he had other ideas and came early.

Picking this up again, I’m not happy with some of the sewing. But I don’t really want to start again. So I’ll try not to be a perfectionist and try to treat this as the first-time project that it is.

The stage I’m starting at is the applique for the centre of the quilt, which is going to have a giraffe on it. Didn’t get very far at all with it tonight. Traced the giraffe’s body onto my fusible web and that’s it. But I’m tired. More tomorrow, hopefully.