The Joy of Quilting

Quilting has lost some of its joy for me since my husband died. Before he died, I used to make baby quilts for just about every family member or acquaintance that was expecting a little one. It was something I enjoyed doing.

Somewhere along the way, I think people in my life began to get excited or started to expect to receive a quilt from me. I’ve had friends joke with me that they will have to have a baby in order to get a quilt from me. I tell them it’s probably true. I like baby quilts — they’re done before I get bored of the project and I can quilt them easily enough myself. I don’t like sending out my quilts to be quilted… I’m self-conscious about my piecing and basting.

This past year I made the painful decision to sell the home my husband and I bought together, brought our baby home from the hospital to, the place my husband breathed his last breath. I finished two quilts I had in progress before I had to pack up and move. A friend of mine was having a baby shower about a month after my move and try as I might, I didn’t get the quilt done before the move and afterwards I was up to my eyeballs unpacking a three bedroom home by myself and helping my eighteen month-old son adjust. I just didn’t have the energy or inclination to quilt. At the shower I gave her another gift and apologized that I didn’t have time to make her a quilt… probably the first time in seven years I came to a baby shower without one. Mom-to-be was very gracious and told me not to worry, she understood all that was going on in my life. Her mother (grandma-to-be) then joked that I still had the first year to deliver the quilt (a joke about gift etiquette, I suppose?).

For some reason that really took the wind out of me. I’ve always viewed my quilts as a labor of love given to people I care about in order to be cherished. When I start a project I usually have a recipient in mind and I think about them the whole time I’m working on it. I don’t want it to be viewed as an item on a list people expect to receive. I’m not explaining it well, but it’s bothered me ever since. I know my friend would hate to know her mother’s comment affected me this way.

Recently, a good friend of my late husband’s had his first baby with his wife. I was inspired to quilt again; I knew my husband would have loved for me to make one for them. I chose a very simple but cute pattern and started choosing and cutting fabrics. Unfortunately, I think the walls in the new house must be thinner because the sewing machine seems to wake my son up at night. I’m getting frustrated with quilting again.

I have so many projects I want to do, but so little energy and time. I think that’s a dilemma all quilters face though, especially those with young children. April Rosenthal recently posted this paper piecing tutorial I want to try. Maybe if I switch between a few projects, I will be less frustrated. I’m not used to working that way but it seems to work for a lot of quilters. I’m going to give it a try.

WIP Progress:
– Mike’s T-shirt Quilt: Shirts picked, need to decide on design and backing/background fabrics.
– Baby Young Quilt: Cut, need to finish piecing

Rainbow Pinwheels Finish

Another finish, this week it’s Rainbow Pinwheels:

I’m very happy with how the quilt top turned out, especially since it is comprised almost entirely of bonus triangles I had laying around. I finished the center blocks and the first white border and thought it was too small, so I added the pieced border, another white border and finally the flower fabric border. It finishes at 44″ square, I wish it were a bit bigger but this will do. It is a good size quilt to use in a stroller or for tummy time.

I have been making so many baby girl quilts lately, I am running out of cute backings from my stash but this red polka dot print seemed to go perfectly with the front of the quilt. When I cut the quilt out of the sandwich, I even had enough backing fabric left over to use for the binding. Talk about using up every last scrap of fabric!

Once again I did an all over stipple for the quilting. As I mentioned before, I’ve been having such problems with my machine and tension lately, so the quilting isn’t as neat as I’d like it to be. The sewing machine is in the shop, hopefully it will get fixed. If you haven’t weighed in on my post about looking for a new sewing machine, please do. I’d love to hear about your sewing machines.

Thinking About a New Sewing Machine

I’ve finally finished quilting Rainbow Pinwheels, Boy, was it a pain! As I mentioned when I finished Butterfly Blossoms, quilting on my Singer Confidence Quilter is becoming more and more of an issue. I just cannot get it to hold the back tension correctly. I’ve tried cleaning the machine, changing needles, re-threading the machine (hundreds of times) and it will get better for a little bit, then fall apart again. It is really taking the joy out of quilting for me. I’ve taken it into a repair shop to see if they can nail down the problem for me.

In the meantime, I’m looking into buying a more high-end machine. I’ve been quilting for six years now and plan to do more, so I think it will be a good investment for me. I need to be able to free motion quilt on it as well as piece; my sewing room doesn’t have enough room to have two machines set up. I’m not so concerned on the price since I know I will get a ton of use out of whichever machine I go with, but I don’t really want to spend more than $1500.

I have always heard great things about Jukis, so the JUKI TL-2000Qi is definitely on my list. I know a lot of quilters love Jukis. I love that it is heavy duty and looks like it has a big throat. I think the limited number of stitches might bother me though, I do use zig-zag stitches on occasion. I guess I can always bust out one of my Singers when I need a zig-zag, but it would be nice not to have to.

I’m also looking into this Brother PQ1500SL High Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine. It’s got great reviews on Amazon, especially with regards to FMQ. I know a lot of quilters love their Brother machines, too. There are a lot of little features that look fun, like the knee lift and automatic needle threader.

What machine do you have? Which machines have you had good and bad experiences with? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

On My Plate

I finally managed to finish piecing together the backing for my Rainbow Pinwheels quilt after sitting on my butt for over a week. It’s nothing elaborate, just a lot of fun happy white polka dots on a red background.

Polka dots always make for great backing fabric ⚪️🔴⚪️ #quilting #quilt #fabric

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Once I baste, quilt and bind this baby I can get it sent off to Mama and baby, hopefully before baby arrives! Then I still have two more baby quilts, a boy due in July and a girl due in September. I want to finish the July one before I move. Who knows how long it will take me to get my quilting room set up in the new house?? But I’m not going to push myself too hard… if it happens, it happens.

I also received some batting and interfacing for my birthday that I can use to make a quilt from my late husband’s t-shirts. Another project I’m definitely not rushing into. I want to make absolutely sure of what I’m doing before I go ahead and cut into such precious fabric.

Instead of sewing, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading. Some people like to binge watch TV shows… I love to binge read books. I’m an extremely fast reader and I can usually finish a simple romance novel in a day, during Henry’s naps and then after bed time. So far this year I’ve read 24 books, and four of those were re-reads. If you’re interested in what I’m reading, feel free to check out my GoodReads profile. I’ve got shelves for each year, so if you go to my “Read in 2017” shelf you’ll see what I’ve read so far this year.

That’s what I’m working on this week! Visit Patchwork Times to find out what others are working on this week.

Rainbow Pinwheels Quilt Top Finish

I’ve finished the top for Rainbow Pinwheels. It’s finished at 41.5″ square and made almost exclusively with scraps with my scraps bin, except for the white borders and sashing and the flowered border. I’m so happy with how it turned out, it’s bright and colorful, the perfect tummy time quilt for a baby girl. I even fussy cut a couple of the pieces for the second border. There’s a bicycle in there along with a frog, and a sun and a cloud.

Since it finished at less than 43″ all around I’m hoping I can find a big enough piece of yardage in my stash for the back without having to piece it. Wouldn’t that be nice!!

Thanks for reading! I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday and Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or Not Friday.

Design Wall Monday March 6 2017

A lot of progress made on Rainbow Pinwheels this week. I sashed up all of the blocks, added cornerstones, and added an inner border. It was only measuring 29 inches, a bit small even if I did add another outer border, so I decided to add another border. At first I tried to use more bonus triangles, but there weren’t enough to do a border all the way around. So I decided to make this one scrappy. I still have to make the top and bottom scrappy borders, then I’ll probably add another white border, and finish with that colorful flower print as the final border. Four borders in all.

My scraps bin STILL overfloweth.

I’ve used so many scraps for this project, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at my bin. I have them separated by color inside this bin, it makes it so much easier to find what I need this way. I will probably bind the quilt with that herringbone-ish colorful fabric sitting on top in the bin. I used it to bind Meet in the Middle and I loved how it looked.

Thanks for stopping by! I’m linking up with Patchwork Times.

Stash Report March 5 2017

Since I’ve got a finish this week, I can show some movement on my numbers. I still have two baby quilts to do, I’ve started on one at least. And two more people have asked if I would be willing to quilt for them on commission. I’ll be moving soon so I’m not sure how realistic that will be to take on. We’ll see!

Used this Week: 7.75 yards

Used year to Date: 17.5 yards

Added this Week: 0 yards

Added Year to Date: 1.5 yards

Net for 2016: 16 yards de-stashed

Loving this movement on my numbers! Hoping to make a big dent in my stash this year. Thanks for stopping by. I’m linking up with Patchwork Times.

Butterfly Blossoms Quilt Finish

Butterfly Blossoms is finished!

And here’s the back. I had one block left somehow, so I used it and some fabric for the back.

This was made using a tutorial from The Missouri Star Quilt Company. The front uses fabric from the Good Fortune by Kate Spain for Moda fabric line from a couple years back. Aren’t the fabrics gorgeous?

The back uses left overs as well as some Lavender In Dreams yardage from Dreamscape by Rae Ritchie for Dear Stella fabrics. Here is a close up of it.

The quilt finishes at 51″x65.” I did an all over free motion stipple for the quilting with white and purple threads. I was using a hand me down purple thread which gave me all kinds of trouble with thread tension, so the quilting isn’t as perfect as I would like. I also didn’t do a real excellent job with basting so there’s a couple areas that puff up a little, but no puckering or folds. Here’s some pictures of my favorite blocks:

I love binding close-ups, even though in this case the binding is the same as the border fabric:

This quilt is a gift for my cousin who is expecting a baby girl. Here’s hoping mama and baby love it!

Thanks for reading! I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday and Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or Not Friday.

Design Wall Monday February 27 2017

I’m late, but better late than never! Butterfly Blossoms is officially off my plate, it’s all quilted and bound, I’ll be posting about that one on Friday. I’m back to working on Rainbow Pinwheels. You can see in the top center, I pieced the block with 1″ sashing. It ended up being too small, so I pieced the first block on the second row with a 1.5″ sashing. That one turned out perfectly, so I’ll go back and fix the first block. Once I add sashing to all the baby pinwheel blocks, I’ll go back and add sashing to the big blocks. I think I’ll add some cornerstones, too. Then I plan on doing at least a couple of borders to finish the top off, but I haven’t decided on the fabrics yet. One border at least will probably be white.

Thanks for stopping by! I’m linking up with Patchwork Times.

Design Wall Monday Feb 20 2017

Not much new on this front. My design wall hasn’t changed since last time. I spent last week changing my domain name which took longer than expected, but everything is up and running again (for which I’m grateful!) I did finally get Butterfly Blossoms basted and got started on quilting:

#quilting away…

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The quilting is not turning out as well as I wanted but I think it will do. I’m using different threads for the top and bottom of the quilt and they’re not really playing nicely together. I’m hoping to get it done this week because my to-do list just got longer:

  1. Finish quilting & bind Butterfly Blossoms.
  2. Finish piecing, then quilt & bind Rainbow Pinwheels.
  3. Begin A Star is Born for baby boy due in July.
  4. Mike’s T-Shirt Quilt.

Yes, I decided on a pattern for the friend of mine that I just found out is expecting. It looks like a simple & quick pattern and perfect for a little boy.

Check out what everyone else is working on this week over at Patchwork Times and Quilting is more fun than housework.