This baby quilt seems determined to get the best of me. I laid out the fabric I showed you here that I thought would go so well as backing only to discover there was very little red/fuchsia and way too much orangy rust in it. Couldn't do it. However, once I started the new search for an alternate backing, I did remember this hand-dye - another one from my friend's stash - which really is quite lovely with the top and gives me some of the bright lift I couldn't seem to bring to the piecing.
I auditioned 3 blue variegated cottons and one purple for the quilting, settling on this one because it had that turquoise leaning and a brightness the others did not. I'd been waffling a bit about the quilting, thinking I'd stitch in the ditch along the seams and then maybe freemotion quilt wavy lines down the wider strips. An episode of Quilting Arts reminded me of this pre-programed stitch on my machine that I've used before on utility quilts. I'd not spaced rows of it close together as shown on the episode though, and decided this was probably the answer to how to quilt this. After testing settings, I stayed with the default width but changed the default stitch length to spread out the undulation.
Time to have some fun. Time to let go! With walking foot on and stitch set, I could just run the quilt through the machine, first sending those undulations down the narrow strips. The subtle variegation of the thread worked perfectly over the different fabrics, helping to pull it all together.
I eyeballed the spacing of the quilting through the wider strips, then decided I needed to add a bit more quilting for utility sake. I probably would not have added the straight lines a quarter inch from the seams were this just for the wall, but I'm hoping this quilt gets used, and that means it will be washed. Extra quilting stitches help stabilize everything and should help the quilt last longer.
About the time I was feeling better about this quilt, I ran across this anonymous "The Creative Process" which made me laugh. It so describes my journey with this quilt and many of my creations:
- This is awesome.
- This is tricky.
- This is terrible.
- I am terrible
- This is awesome.
I enjoyed this easy quilting that works so well here, but there was one more waffle left - binding fabric. I'd set aside a dark fuchsia more or less identical to that used in the top, having decided against the dark purple that never made it into the quilt in spite of being the first hand-dye I'd pulled. I wasn't totally convinced though, and even less so when I turned that backing to the front as part of the basting process prior to quilting. Oh - that would have made great borders, if I had thought to do borders. Maybe it would make a nice frame with the binding, tie in with the lighter fabric in the top. I laid pieces of both around the squared up quilt, and although the fuchsia would have worked, I decided to go for the lighter blue instead. This is a half-inch binding (to balance with those half-inch strips in the top) which I seldom do. I had wanted to sew it on completely by machine, but messed up the width dimension such that it is barely wide enough to cover the seam line on the back, so I am hand stitching it down, something that wasn't in the plan. Oh well - I convinced myself that it's for the best not having that machine stitching running along the binding on the front.
So I really like this quilt, am anxious to get it to that baby before he outgrows it, and can't quite figure out why there is all this bad karma in it, lots of little bumps and missteps along the way to frustrate and shake my confidence. Just when I think I am on the home stretch, the quilt gives me one last sign that I am so not in charge. As I'm turning the binding to the back and pinning, I prick my finger on the second pin, noticing the blood on my finger before grabbing the quilt and rubbing it all over the back. Whew! Oh wait. I better check around to the front...and sure enough - 3 drops of blood on that light blue binding. So this is a chance to share with you another favorite tip. Dab a bit of hydrogen peroxide on the blood with a Q-tip and let it fizz the stain away. Then dab with plain water to dilute the peroxide and let dry - magic!