Amistad Chapter 10: Quilting’s complete

The quilting is finished at last.

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.32.52 PM

The quilting only shows close up because the fabrics are busy and colourful

I’m pleased with how it looks. Nice and simple, complementing the simple design. It’s not so dense it makes the quilt stiff, but it’s close enough there are no baggy bits. I’m beginning to love hand quilting – oh, not the havoc it wreaks on my hands, but the gentle puffiness, the slight variations, the humanity of it as opposed to the mechanical perfection of machine quilting.

Time to put the quilting needle and thread away and thread up the sewing machine to attach the binding… There will of course be more hand sewing once that’s done, but at least I can use a sensibly sized needle, and hemming requires me to hold the needle differently, which will give the sore fingers a day off!

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.32.30 PM

You get a much better idea on the back

I realised today that I have packed my quilt labels, and have no idea which box they’re in, but I’ll be able to check start and finish dates here on the blog and can make one up later.

The general consensus is that I should offset the scrappy binding seams. So that’s what I’ll do. Always nice to have lazy choices post-rationalised into design decisions!

In a couple of days, I’ll be writing Amistad’s last post, and it will be time for something new.


Amistad Chapter 9: giving the fingers a rest

All the remaining blocks are marked up and waiting for quilting.

One more 9-patch and then the four square corner blocks to go. But my fingers have registered a protest, not just the callused and punctured tips, but the joints too. So I moved onto an alternative and more comfortable activity: the binding.

Screen shot 2014-09-07 at 12.22.20 PMI had lots of scraps left from cutting the blocks. So I cut 2½” strips from all the fabrics I had, and cut those into 6½” lengths. Then I laid them out and randomised them as much as possible; I had lots of some, very little of others, so I tried to distribute the ‘lots of’ fabrics evenly through the mix. After that it was simply a matter of chain piecing the lot, pressing the joining seams open and then pressing the binding in half lengthways. There’s a little extra bulk from all the seams, but it’s a great way to use up the scraps.

Screen shot 2014-09-07 at 12.22.53 PMIt’s all tidily rolled up on the cardboard inner tube from one of my endless rolls of packing tape… Knew they’d come in useful!

In case you were wondering, I cut 6½” lengths because the blocks are 12″ square, so in theory everything should line up. I’m wondering, though, if I’ve given myself another headache trying to match seams, or if I should offset everything on purpose.

What do you think? Would you give yourself the extra work, or make them purposely offset?

Right, time to go and hang out the laundry.  Have a lovely day.

Isfahan isfa-hinished!

Sorry about that. I dearly love a pun.

Here it is. My Friday Finish.

Isfahan, complete with scrappy binding

Isfahan, complete with scrappy binding

The tufted back and label

The tufted back and label

Now I want to get cracking on the tunic top for my holiday. And after that, sandwich, pin and quilt Happiness. And then I have to cut fabric for my travel hand work. Trouble is, I’m not sure what it is I’m taking! More thought needed on that one. I think the clam-shells work needs more space than I’ll have on the plane. And I’d need to buy fabric to work on Steampunk. not to mention drawing and cutting out templates. The cross stitch project will probably be done by then. Oh, the decisions…

Right, back to work

Totally tufted

It’s done. Imagine me screaming quietly…

Another shot where the blue's all wrong, but you get the idea...

Another shot where the blue’s all wrong,
but you get the idea…

Look, it’s not as hideous as it would have been trying to hand or machine quilt through the fleece. And it’s been a valuable lesson in why NOT to use fleece for backing. But it wasn’t fun, as such. Each row of hexagons took half an hour. There’s a fair bit of my DNA in this quilt, in the form of weeny bloodstains where I stabbed myself with the needle. I accept that I’m clumsy, and that the needle is unusually sharp for one of this size, but even so, it started to get boring.

There's a nice loft to the quilt thanks to the batting and fleece.

There’s a nice loft to the quilt thanks
to the batting and fleece.

I rather like the dinky little cross stitches in the centre of the hexies.

I rather like the dinky little cross stitches
in the centre of the hexies.

So, now all I need to do is cut the fabric strips for the binding, sew the strips together, and get cracking. There’s still the adventure of sewing the binding to the quilt because of the fleece, so I think I’m going to reverse my normal process, and sew the binding to the back and hem it down on the front. That way, the fleece is trapped between the binding fabric and the front fabric and won’t catch or creep. I hope. More on that tomorrow.

And that’ll be Isfahan done by the end of the week, and ready to tuck into my suitcase. Not one, but two quilts to hand over to my brother in the UK on our return journey. The Tree of Life for him, and Isfahan for Pa. Trying to get the Broken Bottles quilt for my lovely sister-in-law done too was never on the cards, but it’s close to the top of the queue when I get back, and will be mailed out to her by sea mail.

So now I’m going to soak my aching hands in hot water and ask the ever-obliging Husband for a cup of tea and a home made bickie.