Sunday, 12 February 2012

A quilt of firsts

Back in January I finished piecing the front of the Melrose quilt. It's called that, because that's the name of the fabric line from Red Rooster fabrics. The pattern is the free one that came with the range.

On Friday I finally layered up the quilt. Yesterday I quilted it. I had planned on wavy lines, like on my Christmas quilt, but a comment Kim made about free motion quilting not being too difficult and looking lovely kept nagging me. So I had a go. I did random circles and swirls in the gaps between the main blocks. The quilting is quite tight, so that the panels with the large print really pop. I then did straight lines round those panels and all the way round the edge.
Although the lighting on this photo isn't great, it does show the quilting.

The quilting isn't perfect, but I'm really chuffed with how good it is for a first real attempt on a quilt top. So free motion quilting was the first of my firsts.

Here's a bigger shot of the back - Look at Charlie peering round trying to work out what's going on!

Today came the second of my firsts. I have a confession: I've never used mitred corners on my binding. I'm self-taught on binding quilts so I started off by hashing the corners a bit, but a year of mini Calendar girl quilts led to me refining this process till I was happy with very neat corners and no rough edges. But one of my new years resolutions was to try mitred corners on my binding. And today I did. I used this tutorial and it worked wonderfully. I don't think I'll ever go back. I didn't do the pinking shears step in the tutorial. I will next time - I got fed up of frayed bits of fabric. I am also falling in love with stripey bindings - the two quilts I've finished this year both had stripey binding and they just look stunning.

It seemed to take forever to hand stitch the binding to the back (another resolution is to try the machining to the front binding). But it is finally finished, and I love it. It's not perfect, but it's another step on my quilting journey.

Also, I've seen some photos on blogs where people have used hair clips to hold binding down. I tried it today and it was another revelation. No going back to pinning my binding and stabbing my fingers!

I think the rest of my day will be given over to Swooning. I've neglected these blocks for a couple of weeks while I've worked on other projects, but in the last week Katie has started a thread on the Flickr group about the next quilt-along. I am definitely in, but I really should finish Swoon first - deadline = mid March - by then I'd like to have all nine blocks pieced, but probably not quilted. I'm quilting these giant blocks using the quilt as you go method, but I need to find just the right backing fabric first. Then I'm on the lookout for a red and white striped fabric for the binding.

I spoke to my Mum yesterday - she's been having a look on my blog and had a couple of comments: my first attempt at FMQ in the FMQ Challenge - leaves, was not, in my mind, a great success. Mum loved it so much, she nearly called me to tell me. I know how I'll be quilting her next quilt. And the Farmer's Wife block that I really don't like (Country Path) is one of her favourites. Typical!

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