Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Fabric!

Last night I went to this quilt shop in Saline called The Quilting Season. It was pretty cute and I liked their fabrics there a lot. One of the ladies helped me pick out these for my next quilt!

Another thing that I liked about the quilt shop was that on Monday nights they have this free, open work time for beginners. I can bring whatever project I want in and work on it there. Then if I need help, the women who work there are available to answer questions! It's like this free for all question and answer time. I'd like to go sometime. I think it would be a good place to get actual instruction on making a quilt rather than just winging things and figuring them out on my own.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Things I've learned between my first and second quilts...

I've been amazed how much I've learned about quilting since completing my first quilt. It is especially evident now that I am adding more quilting to Evan's quilt because I didn't realize how much I needed to quilt the first time around. Here's a list of things I came up with that would have been helpful to learn earlier:
  1. Buying a quilting book is a great investment.
    • I realize now that I should have bought my quilting books before making my FIRST quilt, not the second. It's amazing how much information is in them! I guess that is why they're written. Most of the things I realize that I did wrong were because of looking through those books. I bought these ones and they are pretty good: The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide and The Quilter's Recipe Book.
  2. Buying the cheapest batting JoAnn's has to offer is generally only a good idea for my wallet.
    • Upon a recommendation from a friend, I've used "Warm and White" batting for my new quilt. It seemed like regular old batting to me and I didn't think anything of it until Evan's quilt was returned to me. It seems paper thin compared to the quilt I am working on now! I've also decided that I love "Warm and White". It is still low loft, but it is 100% cotton and a little thicker so it makes my quilting look wonderful. I will be using this for all of my quilting projects from now on. It makes it more difficult to hand quilt, but the result is worth it.
  3. Your batting should tell you how much quilting you have to do.
    • I didn't realize this until reading "You only need to quilt every 10 inches!" on the label for my new quilt's batting. At that point I started thinking, "Is that supposed to be good or something? How much did the last package of batting say I needed to quilt? I don't think I did it even every 10 inches. This could be bad." Upon inspecting a similar type of batting, I realized Evan's quilt needed to be quilted every 4-6 inches. Darn it! So I've asked my cousin for the quilt back and I'm now working on making it have a respectable amount of quilting.
  4. There is a proper way to hand quilt.
    • When doing the random and small amount if quilting I did for Evan's quilt, I just improvised and made some stitches. Now that I've learned the proper technique, my stitches are so much straighter and it is much easier. It has been more difficult to get used to and figure out, but it is getting easier.
  5. You should pre-wash you fabric.
    • Seems like common sense, but apparently it's not for me. I'm somewhat scared to see how my quilts are going to shrink when I put them through the wash. Maybe I'll end up liking it. One woman at JoAnn's said that some people don't pre-wash because they like how it looks afterwards. We'll see.
  6. Basting your quilt useful and makes everything stay smooth.
    • Once again, something that I would have figured out if I had bought a quilting book sooner.
  7. And lastly, my boyfriend is an unsuspecting wealth of quilting information thanks to his mom. I am truly grateful. Who knew that there are different sized thimbles and mine needed to fit snugly to my finger?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hand quilting it is.

So I've decided to attempt hand quilting this quilt. I find I enjoy doing it but it's a lot of work! I'm getting better, which is encouraging. Although, according to my quilting book, I am still "below average" at 5 stitches per inch. Some day I'll make it to average. Some day. I still think it looks pretty good. Below average quilting and all. It takes a really long time too. I've finished quilting 3 of my 20 blocks and it has probably taken me a couple hours each block. The more I do, the quicker it seems to be though. I must be catching onto this. Good good.

Pictures are always fun:

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I've finished the top of my new quilt! I am surprised how quick it was to make this one. I guess that's what happens when you choose a simpler design and it's not your first quilt. Now the decision is how I want to quilt this one. I'm not sure what design I'd like to do or if I'd like to do hand quilting or machine quilting. Machine quilting would be much quicker- especially with all of the straight seams that are in the top. However, I like the idea of being able to actually sit and have a conversation with someone while I'm doing the quilting. Decisions, decisions. But either way, I am quite pleased how this quilt turned out.

Now that this quilt top is finished, I don't plan to start anymore quilts until the end of summer. When it is so beautiful outside, I really shouldn't be sitting inside with my sewing machine! Although, to make myself feel a little less ridiculous for sitting inside on gorgeous days, I DID set up my sewing machine right by a big window. :)