It’s been a whole lot too long since I worked on this quilt.
Remember this? Yup, Signed, Tealed & Delivered, the Ovarian Cancer auction quilt that’s due in 2 months. Eeek!
I’ve swapped things around a little since this photo, but you get the idea…
Since my last post about this quilt, when I showed the final blocks from Margaret, I’ve neglected Signed, Tealed & Delivered dreadfully. Porch curtains, holidays, hand quilting Bonnard and the Hatbox quilt, needle-point, weather and holiday reports, you name it and I used it as an excuse. Time to buckle down and get on with it.
Behind the scenes, I did cut enough batting squares for the first (top) row. I also cut squares from what I had left of the airmail sticker fabric and the striped airmail-edging fabric I’m using for the binding. There was never going to be enough of these to do the whole back, so I also got some nice dark cream fabric with Xs and Os on it (representing hugs and kisses, of course!), as I thought this was a good ‘sign off’ for a quilt with a postal theme. I cut the remaining squares from this.
Then came the first dilemma. How was I going to combine these fabrics for the backing? When you use all one fabric, it’s just not an issue. I tried probably half a dozen layouts, and when you’re climbing up and down stepladders with a mouthful of pins and a handful of squares, that particular exercise gets old quickly. Finally, I made a central squared ‘O’, with airmail stickers at each corner and airmail stripe for the rest of the shape. Filling the centre and round the outside were squares of the XO cream. Enough already! It’s the back of the quilt, after all… It all took far too long, and next time I won’t torture myself with fabric choices, the back will be all the same 🙂
Then the quilting dilemma: I’d originally intended to quilt each block with an individual design, but looking at each block and assessing what that would entail in terms of designing, marking and quilting each one made me think again.
I realised that the postal theme was all about straight edges and angles: paper, envelopes, stamps and labels were all straight-edged, with angled envelope flaps. The postcard blocks were also angular. I wanted something texturally soft, to contrast with this.
So I’ve gone with parallel wavy line quilting, an all over design which softens the visual effect and gives a nice rippled hand feel. I’m alternating the direction in which it flows on each block. It has the extra benefit of being nice and quick to do, and requires no marking up, hallelujah!
I’d originally though of cross-hatching, but I didn’t like the way the lines would fight with the lines of some of the block designs. Plus, you know, lots of marking up…?
Recently I saw a Craftsy video called ‘Next Steps with your Walking Foot’ by Jaquie Gering on the subject of walking foot quilting. Most of it is stuff I already know and do, but I was interested in what she had to say about preparing your quilt or block before quilting. Historically, she hasn’t been a fan of spray basting, having some chemical sensitivities, but now she wears a respirator to do the spraying and likes the results. She said that starching as well as pressing the quilt top and backing and pressing her batting made all the difference in reducing wrinkles and puckers in the quilting process. Gasp! I thought that was total anathema, as it would crush the batting pile, but I gave her process a go. Well you know, she’s right. So long as you don’t bang the iron down heavily in one place, but glide it lightly and use extra steam, the batting’s fine. And the starching makes a huge difference – it’s a game changer. Doing the extra steps is a bit more of a faff, but you get an almost inhumanly perfect and flat quilt sandwich. I mean, look at this:
Smooth, flat and taut, with not a pin or stitch in sight.
So anyway, I’ve made a decent start, and got a production line going. As always with my QAYG quilts, I’m going to wait till they’re all quilted, and then measure them all to find the smallest one, which will determine the trimmed out size for all the blocks. Some blocks came in at exactly 12.5 inches and some with extra, so I’ll see what the quilting does to the smallest and work from there.
Oh, and I need more spray baste, cream thread and a cream fabric for sashing the back, but how much of the latter I don’t know. I seem to have lost my piece of paper with all the size calculations, drat it. Quilt math, my least favourite part of the exercise.
I feel better now that I’ve actually got some quilting done. The job has been cut down to a manageable size 🙂