Sea Glass #14: Time for a new needle

… and new fingers and a new template.

It’s done. The hand quilting on Sea Glass is complete. I’m actually quite shocked at how quickly it went, but I suppose each time I do hand quilt a large project I’ve learned from the previous ones, and I instinctively know how to make a quilter’s knot and bury the end of the thread, and how much thread to load on the needle and what length it’ll cover, and so on. It helps also to have a large space to lay the quilt out on and be able to leave it undisturbed (hello again, dining table!).

I’ve used a nice thick cotton batting so there’s a good puffy loft to the quilt. One thing I’ve learned and will pass on to you to save you grief: do not use a white-on-white print for your backing. Sure, it looks lovely, but the over-printing is thicker than average to make it visible, and the thickness of the ink is hard to push the needle through. I worked that one out about 10 minutes into the quilting process…

The paper template was easy to make once I’d worked out that making the slots by poking through with the blade of small sharp scissors instead of laboriously cutting them with a scalpel was infinitely quicker. It was easy to use; I just marked through the holes with a white ceramic mechanical pencil designed for quilters, and literally joined the dots. The marker rubs off with an eraser or washes out, as does the thin lead pencil marks I used on the lighter fabrics. The template’s completely stuffed now, as is my needle. It’s a big old heavy quilt, there’s a lot of fine weave batiks, for which I like a fine quilting needle, so a bit of bending was almost inevitable.

Finally, I’ve bought my binding fabric. Strictly between us, I’ve bought a bit more than I really need, because I like the fabric so much… It’s another batik, very pretty shades of amethyst, and I think it’ll look lovely edging that greeny-tealy-bluey border fabric. So, tomorrow’s trim out day, followed by cutting and joining the binding strip, and depending on my time and energy, perhaps even machine stitching the binding on the front face. Hand stitching down the binding on the back will definitely have to wait till my hands have had a rest.

Now, time for a little glass of something to celebrate.

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