Monday, December 28, 2009

Handmade gifts, part two

For Christmas, I made my DGS a 'quillow' of those quilts that fold up into a pillow. It has a pocket on one end and my kids love these...they call them 'foot-pocket blankies" (yeah, my kids are adults!). Since my DD loves her 'quillow' so much, I thought I would make one for her son (my DGS).

I picked a pretty night-sky fabric and layered it up with some Warm and Natural batting. In retropsect, this was NOT the best batting choice, because it creates a more old-fashioned quilt, whereas I would have preferred the fuller, puffiness of a polyester batting. Next time.

I put it on my Handiquilter and did all the quilting in one day (it was a LONG day, though!) using my Brother Nouvelle 1500S. I started out creating meanders and curls that crossed back over themselves, but I decided I wasn't thrilled with that...I prefer it when they DON'T cross back over and retrace, so I gradually transitioned to a slightly different quilting pattern with spirals and the night air. The fabric is so busy, no one will ever really SEE the quilting anyway! I could have gotten away with a lot less stitching, but I wanted to practice. And actually, the quilt would have been softer with less time.

I printed a 9x9" quilting pattern that was found several years ago on-line in pdf form, then enlarged and duplicated it until it better fit on my 15x15" pocket. Then I traced it onto examining table paper and layered it on the pocket 'sandwich'...two layers of fabric with batting in the a little quilt.

I just sewed right through the paper, folowing all the lines. Each round was done in a different color, so I had to change bobbins, too....remember, this pocket become a pillow, so both sides have the potential to be on the outside.

After sewing, the paper was removed. When I do paper piecing and things like this, I find it easier to remove the paper if I score the stitched lines with the point of my seam ripper before attenpting to pull away the paper. After scoring, it just begs to pop off!

Here is the pocket before I put on the binding. and really, it is like a mini-quilt...a little quilt that will be sewn onto a larger one!

Here's a closeup of the star stitching on the pocket. AFter removing the paper, I restitched the inner star using a satin stitch, to make it show up a little more.

I realized at the last minute, just before wrapping this gift on Christmas eve, that I had not 'signed' the piece. I don't know WHAT I was thinking...I picked up a needle and some embroidery thread and did HANDWORK! UGH! You can see the quality of my looks like it was done by an old blind granny! :)
(He calls me "Mimi")

I had left one spiral on the fabric unquilted, thinking I would put in some big hand stitches there (I don't know why...but it seemed creative at the time!). So at this last minute, I also popped in a few of those big stitches with a knot at each end, on both front and back. Of course, as soon as I started, I made a mess of the very first French knot I tried and spent nearly a half hour trying to undo the tangle I had created! Then again when I ended in a pair of knots (one on each side) I again made a little I said, I DON'T do nice handwork!

Here is the final quilt. You cannot even see the quilting...nor the handwork...nor the pocket (at the bottom)!
But it's there.

If you click on the picture to enlarge it, then hold down the CTRL key and hit the +key, the picture will enlarge...hit the + over and over until the image is large enough to see some quilting. To restore the screen to actual size, hit CTRL/0 (Zero). You probably already knew you could do this, right?

I didn't do handwork on the binding, though, as I ususally would do for a quilt. Instead, I zigzagged it down. This is a quilt to be heavily used. Hopefully. :)

Doing the quilting on this once again reinforced the notion that I NEED to get some handles for the Handiquilter that will enable me to quilt from the needle side of the machine, rather than from the fly-wheel side. It was SO hard to see what I was doing or where I was going! I am also thinking it might be time to modify my darning foot to remove the plastic insert, as shown here.

DD called tonight to tell me that DGS has been sleeping with this blankie...that he loves it and has two stuffed dogs that he is putting in the pocket to sleep with. Cute!

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