Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adventures in Quilting

I am SO SO SO excited to share with you guys a fun little big ol' project I had been working on for the past week or so.  It's my very first official quilt! Like, seriously, cutting out squares, sewing them together, layering the top, batting, then bottom, "stitching in the ditch," and ((grumble)) binding, too! It was a MAJOR project and I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into.

See, I saw this adorable quilt "kit" at good ol' Walmart, and immediately LOVED the various black and white patterns. It looked like fun! But you have to remember something: me and numbers don't mix. Seriously. I have no idea about measurements (and why am I sewing then??) and didn't even think twice when I saw (if I even saw it, which I don't think I did) that it said, "Finished Size: 48in x 64in." I had no idea what that translated to in, say, "feet" (which is much easier for me to picture in size vs. inches).Whatevs!



I got home, pulled the fabric out, and started cutting 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch squares. MUCH bigger than the 4 x 4 inch squares I had cut for a previous (and much less involved) quilt project. And there were a LOT of squres. It didn't take long for me to realize this project would be a bit bigger than I had imagined. But it was okay -- it'd be my very first quilt and I was totally okay with throwing myself into it, feet first!

Everything was going quite well, until I realized I'd need a walking/even feed presser foot, which my mom's old Singer I had been using did NOT have. I ordered one from Amazon, then waited. And waited. And waited some more. I got very antsy and, I'm not sure how or when, but I decided I needed a new sewing machine -- one I could call my very own.

After a few days of research and calling local sewing shops, I decided to go against what ALL of them told me (the Baby Loc store told me I simply HAD to buy a Baby Loc; the Husqvarna shop told me I absolutely must purchase a Husqvarna, etc. and decided to buy the Brother SE-400 -- a computerized embroidery and sewing machine! I have NOT for ONE SECOND regretted this purchase!

I ordered the walking presser foot for my new Brother and before I knew it, I was quilting! Like, for real quilting! It was so easy, exciting, fun and productive! I couldn't believe I was capable of producing such an amazing keepsake!

I had already decided early on during the process of making this quilt that I would be giving it to someone very special. A sweet, sweet woman named Heather, who happened to be Chase's physical therapist and was able to teach my son how to walk! She's meant very much to me and my family over the past almost-year that she's been coming over for weekly visits, and it's amazing the progress Chase was able to make in such a short period of time under her care! So I was focused on making my very first quilt to give as a gift to wonderful Miss Heather!

It didn't turn out absolutely perfect, which of course was my goal (I love perfection!), but I figure it has some "first time quilter" nuances that will make it that much more special. Right? Right?? Well, that's what I keep telling myself anyway.

So without further ado, here are some pics of my finished product!

The quilt top. Love the black & white patterns!


A special little touch... I embroidered Chase's name inside a heart in the bottom right square. Just a little something to remind her of Chase since, after all, he was and will always be her very most favoritest patient ever! Haha!

Funny story about the embroidering... I had tested and tested and tested again the design, sizing, positioning, etc. on scrap fabric to make sure it'd be PERFECT before I embroidered onto the quilt. So I got it exactly how I wanted it, then went for it! When it was finished, I took it out and looked it over, only to see I had embroidered: Chasc. Yes, that's right. A "c" instead of an "e" in Chase's name. Lovely. I removed the stitches for the "c" and then had the joy of setting it back up into the machine and making an attempt to line it up just so in order to have the "e" placed at the exact spot where it should've been to begin with. Needless to say, it was NOT perfect. You can see the "e" is a bit lower than the "Chas" but I don't care! I decided that since Chase doesn't have a perfect heart, there's no reason to think his name inside a heart on this quilt should be perfect, either! I love this!!!



The binding. The biggest, most royal pain in my rear. It definitely didn't turn out as perfectly awesome as I had hoped, but this was only the second time I've done binding (the first was the satin blanket binding that pretty much binds itself) and it was by far the hardest part of the quilting process, but still manageable. I'm sure I'll get better with more experience.



The backing print.


I'm so pleased with how this project turned out. I sure hope Heather agrees!