|Table topper, design by Thimble Blossoms|
Needing to feel that sense of sewing accomplishment, I grabbed the topper, backing, and batting and vowed to finish this mini quilt.
First, I threw it in the washer to get rid of any cat hairs that might still be clinging to the fabric. It seemed like a good idea, but when I took it out of the dryer, it had frayed along the seams and edges and I needed to do some clean up before I could do any quilting.
This did alter the size of the piece, but since it was just a table topper it didn't hurt to be a bit smaller.
Then I got out the instruction manual for my sewing machine. I wanted to do some free-motion quilting and had to look up how to do this. I've watched people do this on TV shows, but I've not had much experience with free-motion and I haven't tried it at all with my new machine.
I made all the correct settings on the machine, disengaged the feed dog, and attached the free-motion quilting foot. Decision making time - how was I going to quilt this?
Looking at the quilt, I decided to do a spiral design on the circles. This is definitely something that I need more practice with. My spirals aren't perfect, but I'm happy with them and that's all that really matters.
The hardest part is to keep the sewing speed and the movement of the fabric coordinated so that your stitch length is the same throughout. Since the feed dog is lowered, the fabric doesn't move through the machine unless you move it yourself. So you are stepping on the foot pedal to make the machine go, holding and moving the fabric, eyeballing your design as you go, and trying to make it fit in a pleasant manner. As you can see, it's a little wonky but not so much that I feel the need to rip it out and start over.
Then I had to decide what to do in the squares. I felt that having a template would help me to achieve better results so I drew a simple pattern on freezer paper, cut it out and then ironed it in place on the fabric. This gave me a guide for my quilting. For the center square I made this design with four hearts coming together like a clover.
My mistake with this was that at some places I had to sew over the paper and that made the stitches loose when I removed the template. I should have separated the hearts and given enough room for me to create the design without hitting the paper. I also could have used a disappearing marking pen, but I was afraid that would be harder for me to follow. Also, this design, although simple, was hard for me to keep my speed and move the fabric so I had a lot of different sized stitches which is not that pretty, but I decided to keep it as is.
For the corner squares, I cut apart the center design and then aligned three hearts in a diagonal. This was easier to sew and gave me better results.
One decision I made was to do this quilting with just the top and the batting. When I had tried to quilt this before I had trouble with the backing fabric bunching up, which is how it became a UFO. It was much easier to quilt knowing that the back wouldn't show.
At this point, however, I did need to add the backing. I also decided that I needed to quilt through all the layers at least in some areas. I chose to quilt around the middle square and the four corner squares. I also then quilted around the border close to the stitching and also close to the edge.
My backing fabric was much larger than the finished project, so after I finished quilting, I cut the backing about one inch larger than the front. I then folded the extra fabric in half towards the front, then folded this over the front to form the binding. This worked out well. It's kind of hard to see in the photo because my ironing board cover is a print.
The hardest part was mitering the corners. I stitched this in place with my machine, stitching as close to the edge as I could. I was able to complete my UFO in an afternoon. I'm pleased with how it turned out.
Wouldn't this be fun for a picnic on the living room floor? The circles could be like placemats.