Friday, December 26, 2014

Sunshine and a Finish!

Biggest news first: we have a sunny day!! Maybe the first time this month. And it was warm enough (in the 40's F) to go for a long walk on a trail near our house, even if we had to turn back after a couple of miles due to flooding. I do like snow in December, but this year I was okay without it. I just didn't like the dark weather. (We did have snow--big, crazy flakes--for a few minutes on Christmas eve, but that was it.) 

It was nice to be outside, but I was happy about the sun for another reason--I had a finish to photograph! Yippee!. I first went out this morning, but the sun was so bright (no, I'm not complaining) that it made sharp shadows, so I did wait until later today. I'm still not artistic about setting up a photo shoot. Maybe someday. Today I used hangers instead of coaxial cable and clothes pins (borrowed the neighbor's fence again). I tried a shot on a tree limb, but the wind whipped the quilt around so that didn't work out. 

Anyway, here it is: Grandbaby's quilt is finally done, after posting about my progress for what seems like for. ev. er. 

If you want to read about my progress, you can read the posts herehereherehere, and here.

The finished quilt measures 48 by about 54 inches. I wasn't planning to make it that big. I was going to make it 7 blocks wide, but when I drew it out, for some reason, I drew 8 blocks and then didn't notice until I had figured out the color placement. The larger blocks on the front are 6 inches and the chevron blocks are 3 inches. The sash strips are about 1 1/2 inches wide. (Block and sash measurements are without seam allowance added.) The sashes were going to be 1 1/4 inches, but when I goofed on the drawing, I decided to make them wider to add a little to the length, too. Don't ask me why. I don't really know.) On the back, the blocks are 12 inches, the top and bottom sashes are 5 inches wide, the middle sashes are 4 inches and the side sashes are 6 inches (plus seam allowance). I used Warm and White batting and Superior King Tut cotton thread in Mint Julep for the quilting. I pieced it on my Singer featherweight and quilted it with meanders on my Singer 115 Treadle. 

This quilt gave me some challenges. (You can read about some of them in previous posts.) And because of the challenges, I ended up liking the back better than the front. Funny how that happens. I try to learn from every quilt I make, though. 

My first challenge was finding fabrics with patterns I liked in colors that matched the nursery. If I was a person with a large stash, that might not have been a problem (and of course, now that the quilt's done, I've seen some fabrics in the stores that would have been perfect but weren't available before), but having a larger stash is not something I'm planning on, so I have to live with that. 

I had it in my head that I wanted sort of a scrappy look that would create some movement around the quilt. But if I had used fewer fabrics or used just one fabric for the main part of each pinwheel, there might have been more punch to the design. Sometimes less is more. Maybe that's why I like the back so much. I also wanted to use a bit of white because there was some in the changing pad design that was the color palette inspiration. I started out with Kona snow, but there was not enough contrast with the pale turquoise of the background, so I went with a bright white. Even that sort of got lost. So I sewed a line of minty thread in the ditch along each white piece before basting the quilt. It does help define the white a bit more, especially when you're close up to the quilt. But I probably could have skipped the white.

Another challenge was quilting through or near the intersections where 8 seams meet, but I think I did okay with that. It did affect the stitch length a bit. 

Let's see. What else? Oh, I know I wrote about being kind of picky about not chopping off points in the design, and then I went and chopped some off when I was attaching the binding. That is reason right there to attach even a tiny border before binding, but oh well. I also realized that even though I always attach binding by machine to quilts that will be washed a lot, I really don't like sewing binding down by machine. I'm just not that good at it and always catch some of the binding with the stitches on the the back. I could pick those areas out to redo, but you know what? I'm not going to, and I don't think this baby will mind. 

I used one of the fabrics of the top to make the binding, and it turned out okay (I really like the little crosshatch in the design that might not be visible in the photo), but I always cringe when the binding is right next to a patch of the same fabric in the top. That only happened with a couple of patches in this quilt, but if I had found a totally different fabric, I wouldn't have had that happen. Or I could have put the other turquoise fabric in those areas, but I was too much in a hurry to finish.

This quilt is pretty heavy. I wanted to use a lighter weight batting, but the fabric I used for the background turned out to be kind of sheer, and I needed the whitest batting I could find to keep it from looking yellowish. That background fabric is by the American Made Brand, and I'll have to keep that in mind if I use a light color from the line again. I didn't mind sewing with it, but it is kind of sheer. 

Anything else? I did learn that I could quilt with a broken part on the presser bar on my machine, but that was not fun. And in a couple of places, I got a bit of a metal smudge on the back of the quilt from too much pressure. I'm hoping I can lighten them a bit, but they'll probably not be noticeable after it's washed. So my biggest learning experience from this quilt is ahead of me--changing an almost 100 year old sewing machine part for another of the same vintage. 

Overall, despite what sounds like complaining, I'm happy with the quilt. (It put all of this negative stuff in because I really do want to learn as I go and make sure I document things to consider in the future.) I definitely like it better close up than far away for some reason, and in the nursery, it will always be close up. And it will look great in there. I think baby will like it. Can't wait to meet him in 2 1/2 weeks (or less). 

Oh, and the giraffe on the back is Melman because that's what my granddaughter "named" her baby brother a long time ago. But this past week she changed her mind and now calls him Alex after the lion from the same movie as Melman. It will be fun to see her reaction when she finds out what her baby brother's name really is. 

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday, with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, and with Sew Fresh Quilts for TGIFF. 

If you're still reading, have a fun weekend, everyone!


  1. It's beautiful! I love your colours and that you've made it reversible. Woo hoo!

  2. Melman has a lovely home, Janine Marie! I love that block the best of all, but this is really a gorgeous quilt. All those pinwheels! What a fabulous finish! Congrats!

  3. Oh lucky grand baby! I love the colours, they're so rich and all together gorgeous, it makes it a quilt for a baby but not a 'baby quilt' if that makes sense - and Melman is fantastic!!

  4. Beautiful quilt, so colorful and cheery! And a fantastic backside, too!

  5. I love your grandbaby's quilt - front and back. Great job and a great finish!

  6. Maybe it seemed to you like forever but I was accompanying you all the time because I was so looking forward to seeing the finished quilt. And it has turned out so beautiful - I would love to have one like that. Your hard work has been worth while and I sure your quilt will be highly cherished! Congratulations! And best wishes for a Happy New Year from Germany

  7. This is gorgeous. I bet grandbaby will use it, play with it and drag it around for years to come. Great colors. The backside is as cute as the front. Well done!

  8. Love working with solids of late and this is beautiful.