Hunter’s Star Quilt – Part VI

Today we’ll talk about the hand quilting I’m doing on the Hunter’s Star Quilt I’m making for my coworker M.

You saw some of my planned design in the pictures I posted last week.  I wanted to highlight the stars.  I traced lines half an inch around the border of each star and half an inch within each star.

The quilting is going very slowly.  I am not a speedy hand quilter.  I can do a whole star (inner and outer quilting) in about an hour and 45 minutes if I’m solely focused on quilting, and not checking email or surfing the internet or watching a TV show.  I’ve been working on it in the evenings after work, when I have time, and over the weekend – when I have time.  My goal is to be done with the quilt by the end of the month but I don’t think that’s enough time.

I am also planning to hand-sew my binding.  This is the first time I’ve done that on a quilt.  I’m using a navy binding, which I put on at the quilt retreat I went to.  I’m planning to hand sew it down to the back.  I have previously only bound pot holders (which I don’t think I’ve ever posted about…that’ll be a future post) and I did my charity quilt all by machine.  I’m a little nervous about how long that will take me, too.


Hunter’s Star Quilt – Part V

The Hunter’s Star quilt is back!  I neglected it while I worked on my charity quilt, but I have managed to make considerable progress anyway.  I did the machine quilting a month or so ago, and I’ve been slowly working on the hand quilting.  My goal is to be done by the end of the month but I think that’s overly ambitious.  I’ll do my best!

It’s been so long since we talked about it that I’ll link to my old posts.  (I looked back and I posted my teaser on it six weeks ago!  Sometimes I debate about which projects to post, especially right now when I’ve been working on two different quilts and other small things.  I decided to post continuously on the charity quilt for a while.)

Today we’re going to talk about the machine quilting.  I spent a lot of time trying to decide how I wanted to quilt it, because I didn’t want to distract from the cleanness of the pattern and the two-color scheme.  It’s so rare for me to make a quilt like this – normally my quilts are scrappy patterned quilts and I don’t worry about distracting from anything.  I’d originally thought I might quilt only in white on the white parts and navy on the navy parts, but eventually I rejected that because what a pain would that be?!  I finally decided to quilt straight lines horizontally across the quilt, in white thread.  (I had been reading, I think, and she had mentioned that she thinks a light thread distracts less than a dark thread on quilts with varying shades, so I thought I’d try that, since I wanted to distract as little as possible from the pattern.)  I didn’t want to machine quilt over the stars, though – I decided to highlight those with hand quilting, as you’ll see in next week’s post.  (That’s the reason this is taking me so long.  I’m a slow hand quilter.)

On she had recommended quilting your quilt in sections or quarters, and that’s what I did with this one.  It worked out pretty well.  I would mark and pin only one quarter of the quilt and then quilt it from the center toward the outside edge.  It’s not completely flat but it worked nicely.

I traced the lines approximately an inch a part, so three lines in each row of squares.  Here’s the lines traces:

I was having a lot of trouble with quilting on my machine, more than I’d ever had before.  My machine doesn’t really have a walking foot and I started to fret that it really isn’t suited for quilting so many layers.  I was having to basically pull the quilt through the machine, resulting in very uneven stitches.  I don’t think M will notice or care, but I was feeling angsty about it.  Finally, after quilting the first three quarters, I went to sew something else – not quilting – and I still had the problem.  I decided to clean out the bobbin area and I realized that my feed dogs basically weren’t moving because they were so clogged with fuzz.  I cleaned out my bobbin area as best I could, and voila!  No more issues.  Quilting the final section went so much better.   I’ve had my machine for almost six years now and I probably need to take it in to the shop for a proper cleaning.

Here’s the quilt when I was in the process of quilting:

Next week: the hand quilting!

Charity quilt follow up

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!  I’m posting an extra post this week – which I’ve been doing a lot of lately; as I get more into my blog, I want to share and post more!  Anyway, I wanted to update you on my charity quilt, which I turned into my guild at our final meeting of the year on Saturday.  My parents and my sister visited me and my mom went to my guild meeting with me.  It was nice to share it with her.  I’m slowly making friends at the guild, after being a member for two years (I’m chatty but shy), and the quilting retreats have been the biggest help in that regard.  Those ladies are now my mom’s friends, too, so we both got to see them.  I’m hoping to prevail upon Mom to attend with me whenever she’s available.

The ladies at the quilting retreat last week had assured me that I’d win a prize in our guild charity quilt competition.  When Mom and I got to the meeting and I saw the beautiful quilts other people had made, I had my doubts.  Mom and I voted for my quilt, but although I know my design was creative, the quilting wasn’t as skilled.  To my surprise, I won one of the judges’ choice prizes!  I got some fabric (which I gave to Mom to increase her stash), a special wash for quilts, and little sticky things for marking blocks and rows (very useful for someone like me, whose design board is her bed or couch).  Everything will be put to good use.

After the guild meeting, we walked to the nearby fabric store.  We didn’t buy anything, but I know Mom is hooked now because she started talking about other quilts she could make for people.  You know you’re a quilter when you start planning projects you don’t have time for!

We all met for mass afterward, along with my boyfriend (Z) and my roommate (J). Then we took my dad out to dinner for Father’s Day.  We had a beautiful day and it left me with my Sunday free for errands, gym, and quilting.  I’ve gone back to my Hunter’s Star quilt now that I’ve finally finished the charity quilt, and tomorrow’s post will feature that.  I neglected it to finish my charity quilt and now I’m trying to get it done so I can move on to my summer projects.

New Blogger Blog Hop – Week Two!!

The new blogger blog hop for this week happened a couple of days ago, but I’m behind!  Anyway, check everyone’s posts out:

Carole @ Fresh Off The Frame

Camelia @ Camelia Elliott

Nurdan @ Hug a Bit Quilts

Paula @ Mud Pies and Pins

Lori @ Sew Psychd

Kitty @ Night Quilter

Christina @ Wips and Tuts

Diana @ Sew Crafty Chick

Marcia @ Cozy Capatiller

Judy @ Quilt Paradigm

Jasmine @ Quilt Kisses

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts

Chelsea @ Patch The Giraffe

Daisy @ Ants To Sugar

Rachael @ The Floral Suitcase

Elizabeth @ And Pins

Jennifer @ Never Just Jennifer

Alice @ Blossom Quilts

Megan @ Sew Stitching Cute

Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter

Kelsey @ Lovely And Enough



Charity quilt – part IV

Done and done!

This weekend my mom and I went on another wonderful quilt retreat.  It was so lovely and relaxing.  I worked like crazy and I finished my charity quilt!  (Also, apparently I was wrong about the quilt recipients – they’re for summer camps for kids with cancer.)

When you last saw it, I had put my quilt sandwich together.  I had also made my binding, but I didn’t include a picture of that in the last post.  (I didn’t go with my original plan for scrappy binding – I used a soft grey.)

I took everything to the retreat with me, where I began my quilting.

I hadn’t decided how to quilt it, so I showed it to my mom and she gave me the idea for diagonal lines, running in parallel to the seams, like this:

I spaced them unevenly for some visual interest, using light grey thread.  I thought it needed a neutral.  I’d thought about using light blue thread but there wasn’t any blue in the center section, so I went with the grey instead.  In some places the the quilting went into the border because I was using a different machine and hadn’t adjusted to an automatic reverse button.  I have a Kenmore and I need to push and hold the reverse button, but when I release it the reversing stops.  I didn’t bring the machine to the retreat; instead, I used my mother’s spare machine, which is a Viking that belonged to my grandmother before she died.  We’ve never used it before.  The machine has an automatic reverse where you have to take the foot off the pedal and then press the button.  Then it still goes forward a stitch before it begins to reverse.  Then you have to repeat the process to get it to go forward again and I didn’t always hit the button hard enough or remember to take my foot off the pedal.  I have it mostly figured out now, but I probably won’t be using the machine again for months, by which point I’ll have to get adjusted to it again.

I wasn’t going to extend the quilting into the blue border (intentionally) – I was going to do some other design in the blue border – but I changed my mind.  I stuck with the grey thread.  I continued the parallel lines.

I had one spot where the seam hadn’t caught one piece – I don’t know how I didn’t notice it until I was quilting.  I hand-sewed it closed with the grey thread.

For the side sections, I did a kind of zig zag design in parallel to the sides of the hexagons.  I traced lines 1.5″ in from each edge.

For the top and bottom sections, I continued the same quilting design into the hexagons above and below the side sections.  I did the same design for the other blue hexagons.  For the remaining orange pieces I quilted an X across the center of each one.  (What would you call the shape of the orange pieces, an hourglass?)  In the picture below you can hopefully see the design traced one of the orange hourglasses.  (I made a mark 1.5″ in from each edge and a mark in the center of the narrow part, then drew diagonal lines from one side to the other through the center.)

Here are pictures of the quilting from the back:

This is the first quilt I’ve ever bound.  I did it all by machine because I was in a rush.  (Also, because it’s a charity quilt.)  I sewed the binding onto the back first, then flipped it over and sewed it onto the front.  I used the grey thread for both just in case it showed.  (In a couple of places, it did.)  I didn’t sew the binding perfectly and I’m not sure if the soft fabric might be slightly to blame for that, but I’ll also get more skilled with this in time.  (I had a needle issue, too, which we fixed later.  It was my fault – I hadn’t taken out all the safety pins along the edge and I hit one.)  I didn’t finish the binding properly so there’s a bit of a bulge.

The quilt is finished!  Yay!  This one was a lot of stress.   I’m happy with the final product, but I wish I’d gone with something much simpler and less time consuming.