Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Pink Quilt

Here it is, done at last and now on its way to my grandniece. It is about 43 x 54 inches. This method produces a two-sided quilt, with this view being the "front" or the side I concentrated my design efforts on. My camera had a hard time capturing the different pinks accurately, but I think I tweaked it fairly close.

And this is the "back" or the side I paid no attention to as per pattern instructions. In many ways I like this side better. In truth, I really struggled getting a decent balance. Part of that was the method itself, part of it the limitations of the fabrics I had on hand.

At the end of my last post about this quilt, I was ready to topstitch down the binding strips that would cover the join between rows. Up until joining the rows, construction had been fairly easy to handle. But no matter how you break down the construction of a quilt, eventually you have to deal with the whole thing. Wrestling the bigger sections, and then the whole quilt through the arm of the machine to get the rows together and joins covered was not a whole lot easier than if I were tackling quilting the whole quilt. So while I very much enjoyed quilting the individual 11" squares because they were so easy to maneuver, I still ended up running the whole thing under the needle numerous times. So I'm not sure how much I gained by the "quilt as you go" method. And I cannot imagine making a full size version using this method.

There were no special instructions about applying the binding around the outside - just your typical 1/4" double fold application. I've gotten pretty good at machine stitching the edge that gets turned to the back by making my binding slightly wider and stitching in the ditch from the front. It's a more secure durable ending than hand stitching that edge to the back. I decided to try something a little different this time, in keeping with the stitching already on the other binding. I would stitch from the back, my green thread on top and my yellow thread in the bobbin which should give me the same effect as on the binding covering the cutout joins. It worked really well, except of course, the stitching showing on the front was not perfectly spaced. However, here were these wide strips acting like sashing within the body of the quilt, and then this anemic 1/4" binding around the edge. Again, I thought, thank goodness this is just a baby quilt.

Would I use this method again? I've had plenty of time to think about it. No, I don't think I would on a large quilt. But I might use a modified version of it on something smaller. If I were joining blocks together, I think I'd use the same method as the joins within the blocks (binding sewn to either side of the cutout, then folded over to cover the joins and topstitched down - see here). I really didn't like the wider flat strips that ended up being double topstitched on the front. If I did use them, I'd put those wider strips on the back - I really did like the way the narrower ones looked better. I suppose my biggest complaint about the method is I could not achieve the level of accuracy I prefer. While it's not a big deal on a baby quilt, it would be on a wall quilt or even a bed quilt. This picture shows the worst of my mismatched joins, and I've already complained about the difficulty of keeping the stitching evenly spaced on those strips.

Being a two-sided quilt, if one really did want to have the option of using either side, forget adding a sleeve or label. I was relieved not to have to add a sleeve to this (and without one, I'm hoping the recipient will actually use this rather than it being hung on a wall), but had there not been some plain, light valued fabric in it, I'd have had no way to inscribe it. I found a piece of binding to write the little girl's name and birth date, and my name and finish date.

And last but not least, I had the impression this method used a lot more fabric than the standard way might. All those bias strips always leaves you with triangles of fabric - too big to throw away but hard to find the best economical use of them. Here is one stack of leftover fabrics and bias strips of various sizes.

And here's more on the other end of the table (plus new fabric waiting to be washed, scraps from other projects, potential couplings for future projects, etc. etc. - I don't think I ever clean up 100%.)


Feather on a Wire said...

I think this is a great quilt because of your sense of colour. I think the method is less than fast and not so great.
But, it is good because of the colours you've used and where you've put them all.

Ahava Hopps Brooke said...

It look great. I agree that the back looks maybe a little better than the front. I like the amount of contrast on the back better. I like your binding. I've never succeeding with doing an all machine binding that looks so neat. How thick do you cut your binding strip and do you cut it on the bias? thanks for your blog.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Well, you two are too kind! I was fairly happy with it until I looked at these pictures; photos certainly magnify flaws in color and value choices, and I wasn't so sure it wasn't awful.

In answer to the question about binding, for a standard 1/4 inch wide french fold (double) binding, I cut strips 2 inches wide on grain. (It's your choice whether to cut on grain or bias, but I only us bias if the edge is curved in any way.) If I know I am going to finish it by machine and not by hand, I cut the strips a scant 2-1/8 inches. Once folded in half, that translates into an extra 1/16 inch which seems to be just enough to ensure it is caught in the stitching. If you use a heavy batting, allow a little more. Experiment to see just what extra you need for your particular batting and seam allowance. I pin from the front right in the ditch, slowly sliding the pins out as I approach them. I can tell by the pins, the way they catch the binding in the back, whether or not the binding is too wide or just right. The problem always is with the corners; sometimes I have to go back and catch then with a little hand stitching.

If this doesn't make sense or you have more questions, just e-mail me and I'll try again.

The Wittering Rainbow said...

Mmm I can see the problems but think the final result is stunning and well worth all your effort!