Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Quartet of Grandkid Quilts

I recently got a referral for a new quilting client from my babysitter - how great is that! She takes care of my girls, AND she brings me business!

These quilts were all done for the quiltmaker's grandkids. She wanted them to be cuddly, soft, and supple, so she chose NOT to use batting. I've always wanted to try this, to see what it was like. They are very "drap-ey", if that makes any sense. Not stiff, at all. Should make them very cuddly!

The first quilt was the easiest to work with. She used minky fabric, which is thick, fluffy, and warm. She had me quilt little hearts into the yellow border, and hearts and loops into the body of the quilt.

The second quilt was also minky on the back, and the top was fun - take a look! She pieced in old jerseys, t-shirts, patches, and other paraphernalia from the Edmonton Oilers hockey team. Those thick insignias were tricky to work with, because they often caught my machine's hopping foot. So I just had to be careful and finesse the fabric to keep it in place. I quilted in wavy lines across the quilt, which I think makes it look like skate marks on the ice.

The third quilt was also tricky, because the backing was flannel, not minky. So I had to be very careful with my machine's tread tension. Non-sewists may not realize that sewing machines actually use TWO threads to make stitches - one on the top of the material and one on the bottom. They interlock within the thickness of the fabric to make stitches. If the the top thread is being pulled too hard (tight tension), the joints where the two threads meet will show on the top of the quilt, and the strength of the stitching is compromised. The same can be true for the bottom thread. With proper thread tension, the joint where the top and bottom threads meet should be nicely buried within the thickness of the quilt. With just one layer of pieced cotton and one layer of flannel (no batting), there was very little space for my threads to meet. I had to be careful!

I quilted interlocking squares all over this grandson's quilt. Isn't the banana fabric marvelous?!

The last quilt was an ocean theme, and I quilted in my happy place - swirls. If I cross my eyes a little, I think it's reminiscent of curling ocean waves.

This quilt was the only one in the batch to use batting, and that posed its own set of challenges. This piece of batting from the client was the last of a big roll, and it had gotten really, really, REALLY stretched and warped over time as it was handled on the roll. You can see the tape still in place on the center fold. When I started at the top of the quilt, it was fine and flat. And as I worked my way down through the quilt, the batting got more and more stretched out, leaving extra fullness for me to figure out. I tried a trick that I've used before with quilt tops that have "winged out" corners. I applied a hot, steamy iron and just fiddled and finessed that batting. Here's what it looked like before I steamed:

Here it is after finessing and fiddling:

Look how little excess there is at the end - phew! That was close! I had less than an inch of excess at the top when I started, too. Just a friendly reminder to be generous when you measure and cut your batting and/or backing, folks!

In retrospect, I wish I would have tried cutting the batting, removed excess, and re-joined. A wedge-shape, like making darts in a dress/shirt. I would say that I'll "try that next time", but hopefully there won't be a next time that I see stretched out batting!

No comments:

Post a Comment