lessons learned


I'll start this blog off with my most recent finished sewing project. One day on Pinterest, I found this fabulous quilt. It immediately was stuck in my head. A whole cloth quilt with straight line quilting and a fun binding. I would love to copy this version exactly: grey fabric, hand quilting, neon pink binding and all, but I know myself well enough to know that I would do approximately 2 lines of hand quilting and go running to the machine.

My sewing inspiration tends to hit rather dramatically and immediately. I don't stew over ideas or wait until I have just the right fabrics and just the right pattern to make something. I'll usually see something so inspiring that I run to the fabric store and start sketching and making immediately for fear that the idea will leave me and haunt me for all of my days (dramatic, like I said). With this quilt, that's exactly what happened. I was at lunch and all of a sudden, an idea for a polka-dotted whole cloth, straight line quilt popped into my head. As soon as I got home, I started sketching and figuring out how much fabric I would need for my preferred quilt size (which is 50" by 60"- perfect for reading, napping, and netflixing). I then drove straight to the fabric store and bought everything for it. It was a shock to the wallet, as all of my crafting tends to be, but I knew I had to start it that day.

I got home and pieced the top and back within minutes (the biggest plus to whole cloth quilts) and got straight to basting. I got to work on the quilting. 'It's fast and easy,' I thought, 'Just a bunch of straight lines.' Yeah, no. My first mistake was not using a walking foot. I know better. From the get go I knew I should've been using a walking foot. But I get annoyed with all the clunking it makes and how I can never get the screw in right the first time. Plus, I couldn't use my quilt guide with the walking foot (or so I thought). Quickly, I realized that straight line quilting was not going to be fast. After a few hours, I was about 60% finished with the quilting. I unloaded the quilt from the machine and there it was, the dreaded puckering and wavy edges that come from only one thing: not using a walking foot. I thought that I could live with the puckering and with chopping off a few inches from either edge of the quilt, but I decided that since I was frustrated, tired, and my arms hurt from holding the bulk of the quilt, I would put it away and re-assess the next day.

I looked at the quilt the next day and yeah...I was pretty mad at myself. There was no way I would be happy with puckering and cutting off multiple inches from the sides. But the alternative (ripping out quilting) seemed so much worse. I took a break from the quilt for several weeks. I gave the quilt a good look and decided that I needed to rip out about 50% of the quilting. OY VEY. Then one night, I told myself to suck it up and get to ripping. I fired up The Mindy Project on Hulu and started the arduous task of ripping out every 8th or so stitch on the top of the quilt. Then I would lift up the top and batting and rip all the stitches through the back of the quilt. I was able to rip out about 3 rows per episode of Mindy, which wasn't the worst, but it definitely was not the best.

After many, many episodes of The Mindy Project, I had ripped out everything that needed to go. Then I went back to the machine, walking foot in tow, and after googling it, I found out that my quilt guide does in fact attach to my walking foot, so I attached that and got to re-quilting. Immediately everything was feeding through evenly, but since the walking foot loosens the pressure on the top, things were getting a little wobbly. After several rows of straight-ish lines, I busted out the masking tape and started using it instead of the quilt guide. When the quilting was finally done, I squared up the quilt and got to work on my fun binding.

wobbly quilting, not my finest crafting moment

yes, I am one of those people who loves to hand sew the binding on the back

this photo shows exactly where I started using the masking tape to help me line up my quilting

And so here we are, about 2 months after the first burst of inspiration, and I am enjoying my new polka dot quilt. Never will I make the mistake of not using a walking foot again. Let this be my lesson to do things right the first time. 

all finished!