Knowing when to take a break

Our guild is collecting quilts for Japan at its May 3 meeting and I decided to quilt a top I made last year for no intended purpose or recipient. It’s Elizabeth Green-Hartman’s original Mixtape pattern that I bought from her Oh, Fransson! blog in March 2010. You can read all about the newest version of the pattern here

The quilt is about 63 x 53 inches, which is a good foot wider than the baby quilts I usually make. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet taken a picture of the completed top, but here is a shot of the top’s underside where you can see the many fringes of thread I had to trim before I sandwiched it for the second time. Yes, second. Last weekend I spray basted the quilt and discovered the top was off-centre, so back to the dining room table it was.

The underside of my Mixtape quilt top

Now I don’t know about you, but for me to quilt, trim, and bind a quilt this size, I need solid chunks of time, and May 3 is awfully close given that I’ll be spending Easter weekend away from the sewing machine. On the plus side. I know I won’t have time to hand stitch the binding to the back, so I’m going to be forced to machine stitch the binding; something I haven’t yet perfected.

In addition to practicing my binding technique, this quilt pattern seemed like the perfect opportunity to practice my machine quilting. (It’s not perfect either.) The added bonus is that after May 3 I’ll never see it again and any glaring errors won’t be around to taunt me.

I had hoped to make this a machine quilting sampler and gave up when I realised that much of what I wanted to do was fairly dense quilting, hence the quilt became stiff. Of course that’s fine for a wall hanging, but not great for a quilt that you hope will provide comfort.

These two blocks show the nested teardrop (left) and pebbles patterns. The nested teardrop runs vertically along the left side and is mostly visible in the orange section (you may have to click on the image to enlarge it and see the quilting more easily), while the pebbles run horizonatally for more than half the top section of block number two. Once I realised each block was becoming too stiff, I completed it with wavy lines. The other blocks in the quilt are, for the most part, quilted with meandering-type designs. Sadly, I didn’t get to finish the quilting today because my top thread broke twice on two of three blocks and my needle snapped in two shortly after the last thread breakage.

I’m taking these as signs from the quilting gods that I’m not supposed to be at my machine any more. At least for today.

Quilt Along updates

I’m excited to be taking part in the Curlicue Quilt Along that Lesly is running over at Pickle Dish. It starts at the end of the week and there’s a giveaway, besides, so get on over if you haven’t already. And I still have to finish my Layer Cake Quilt Along. So I don’t think my machine will have very long to cool off before I’m at it again. And blogging again.

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