Saturday, March 27, 2010

Red and 'just wrong' again!

This week at my local quilt guild meeting, we worked on charity quilts...basically, we had a 'sit and sew'. I brought my machine in and was given fabric to sew on. My table's quilt wasn't finished at the meeting, so I brought it home to finish. This is the result.

This is one of those "quilt as you go" quilts...basically, once it is assembled, you are done.

The fabric was pre-cut into 13" squares, then stacked into sets of 3...two 'fashion fabrics' and a 'batting'. The FF's are placed right sides together, then the 'batting' is placed on the bottom of the stack.

Instead of traditional (fluffy) quilt batting, we were using cotton flannel. However, the set of squares brought to me didn't even have flannel...the inside layer was just a thin cotton, like white muslin.

A large circle was drawn on the back/wrong side of the top FF square. I was to sew around this circle, then someone else was trimming around the circle of stitching and making a small slash in the top layer (only), then turning it right side out. Then another lady at our table would press these circles. Next a square template was used to draw lines on the circle so they could be sewn together.

These circles were sewn together into rows, then the rows were assembled into a quilt.

Because some of the backing fabrics were the same as the top fabric, there was very little definition of the 'pattern' that is to be the result of this technique. In order to TRY to create some definition, I had used a blanket stitch when stitching down the 'flaps' that are created when the circles are sewn together...basically, this is a "faux-cathedral window" quilt. The blanket stitch was an after-thought, so the quilt was half-assembled when I started this.

I quickly realized that it would be SO much easier to do some of the blanket stitching when the pieces were still in the 'row' stage.

In the picture below you can see that I have already done the blanket stitching on the last row and it is ready to be attached to the quilt. This way, once the 'row' seam is stitched, it can then be blanket stitched across the quilt without having to go in all four directions around the circles.

Also in that picture below you can see a tiny slit in the FF near the lower edge of the circle on the right. Well, THAT is a problem. Yes, that is the slit that was used to turn the circle right side out. But this is the LAST ROW...there is nothing to be sewn to the botton edge, so that area will not be folded over like on other rows. That circle should have been rotated 90 degrees when that row was sewn, so that the slit was covered in the first stage of sewing.

Too bad I didn't catch it until that row had been assembled AND sewn onto the quilt! This was the last row...I was almost finished...ready to blanket-stitch that last seam...and suddenly, there it is. A slit. Right there on the corner circle.


And here's the deal: After sewing these circles together to make a 'row', I would lay the row on the table and place a ruler across the top of the seams and draw a line which would be the stitching line for assembling the row to the others. And I used a SHARPIE to draw that line. It wouldn't show after the flap was folded and stitched.

So that corner circle had a slit in the bottom edge and a permanent black line across the top edge. It couldn't be rotated and reused, because the corner needed two ADJACENT edges to be 'blemish-free".


So I had to rip and remove that last row, then also rip out the blanket stitching around-- NOT ONLY the corner circle, but the next-to-corner circle also--so I could switch their postions, placing the corner circle toward the middle of the row where it wouldn't need two adjacent blemish-free sides. This added hours to the construction time!

But it is now finished.

Overall, I am not fond of this thing. The charity to receive the quilts this time is a hospice center. Well, to me, this quilt looks very and red roses?

How cheerful.

The only way it could possible be more macabre is to perhaps include some of those DAY OF THE DEAD skeletons wearing sombreros!

Or perhaps this:

But fortunately, there are no skulls or skeletons on this. There are red roses, though...

I just doesn't say "hospice" to me!

I did learn a few things when making this quilt...for one thing, the circle they drew on the quilt for me to stitch on should have been treated as a CUTTING line instead of a STITCHING line. I should have stitched 1/4" INSIDE that circle, because the square template that was provided was smaller than the finished circle. This means that the flaps are not all the same size...the vertical ones are larger than the horizontal ones. No big deal, but still....

Pressing is very important. The circles need to be well-pressed before assembling.

And when sewing those rows, be sure to include the slit side in the first stage of construction, so there will be no problems later.

Ackkk! Today I was going over this finished quilt with a lint brush, to remove stray threads, etc, and what did I find? There is a little 'snip' on the back side of one circle! Judging by the location, it looks like it might have been snipped when they were creating the 'slash' on the opposite side for turning the circles right side out. It is small...less than 1/4"...but it is 'there'. I have put some Fray check on it, but I can't leave it this way. I'll have to stitch over it somehow. Either a bar-tack kind of thing, or possible some hand stitching...although, truly, the machine bar-tack will look less like a repair, because my handwork isn't great. I think this would be a good time to have some of that Bo-Nash powder...

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