Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It's a long overdue blog post.

This is where I confess I'm terrible at blogging. I get bored, I forget, I think what I'm saying isn't very interesting (it's not) and forget that what I'm actually doing here is mostly for my benefit.
And then I get distracted by work being a pile of shit.

Anyway, I've got WAY too many projects on the go, and my pledge for didyoumakethat's Made Up Initiative is way behind where it should be (sodding hand embroidery) but both the banner and the skirt are getting there.
I've also got a present to finish by the end of September, and xmas presents are looming. I also have a load of patterns that I want to make for me.

But before all of that, what was taking up space on the sewing table was a quilt. I know, I know, I said I'd never get into quilting, but then there were pretty fabrics and a couple of clothing failures and straight lines and not too much thought seemed like a good idea.

It's very pink. If you know me at all, you will know I'm not really a pink person. Bright pinks, cherry reds, cerise, that sort of thing, yes, but this kind of baby pink, not really me. But I'd bought a load of random fat quarters from Hobbycraft at some point during a sale, and they had owls and dinosaurs, and what's not awesome about owls and dinosaurs?

Originally I was going to go with a blue and purple colourway, but then I thought I'd save that for when I had a bit more of an idea of what I was doing, and pulled out all the pinks, along with some cream for the plain colours.
I even went and (finally) bought a rotary cutter and cutting mat (which I needed for the banner project as well). I laid everything out and got cutting. Which was actually strangely therapeutic. One of my problems is that I'm not very patient and not very neat; this forced me to be slow and neat. I had finite amounts of fabric and I don't like making mistakes (this goes badly with the whole "not very patient" thing).
The pattern is the Chippewa Scrap Quilt by CluckCluckSew, chosen because it looked simple enough that even I couldn't muck it up, and because it wasn't going to end up HUGE.



I'm not going to lie, piecing this together was a bit dull. But also quite satisfying as I watched it grow. I think a lot of my friends thought I was mad, because it's so pink, and for a while I was adamant that I was going to back it with cream and have it be slightly less ridiculously pink (I'm not going to say "for girls" because that's one of my major pet peeves with the quilting community; the excessive gendering of colours and themes, but that's also a massive issue I have in the day to day world) but sadly fabric supply failed me and I could only get pink backing.


So pink plush and pink spotty bias tape in hand, along with quilt wadding (which has left fluff EVERYWHERE in my house, alongside the hessian, which I'm still finding 2 months after I made that robe) I started on my merry journey of actually quilting something.


This was a quick test I did to make sure my machine would cope and that I had a hope of being able to work in straight lines. It went ok.
(my machine has handled 5 layers of wool melton, if it can't cope with cotton, wadding and plush, something is going wrong)


I laid it all out on my living room floor (the largest flat space I can usually muster up) and pin basted it (with nowhere near enough safety pins, I scoured the house for them, but I only just managed a fairly cursory coverage). Doing this the day after a physically and emotionally draining weekend long LARP event was possibly not the best idea, but it got done.
There was a massive excess of wadding and the plush I used, so I trimmed that down a bit and then hauled it to the sewing machine.



I quilted it in diagonals, similar to the original pattern, because it seemed to work with the pattern, and I was feeling somewhat uninspired. As you can see, I only have a small basic machine, so wedging the quilt through was entertaining at times. Definitely good exercise for the upper torso and arms.
I used pink thread (of which my inherited thread stash had WAY too much) to quilt, and while I say I had a lot of pink thread, by the time I got to the binding, I had actually run out of the two different shades I'd ended up using, and had to run up to the local knitting shop (which thankfully also stocks thread) and pick something vaguely similar up.
I confess, I didn't use fancy quilting thread, it is just basic Gutermann, but it did the job.
The quilting didn't take anywhere near as long as I thought it would, and I got it and the binding done in a binge on a Saturday when I wasn't prepping for a LARP event.


2 and a half reels of thread later... (and Bagpuss, because no weekend of sewing is complete without a pot of tea).


Have a slightly atmospheric shot of me trying to keep the binding neat. I screwed up one corner where I sewed it wrong and had to add another layer over the top to hide the gap I'd ended up creating, but it looks ok (and I have apparently not taken a photo of that). Sewing the binding on was definitely the worst part. I machine sewed it all, and there are a couple of bits where it isn't perfect, but for a first attempt it's pretty damn good.



And here's the finished thing. It's really soft and drapey, and the plush on the back makes it really soft. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, as it's about lap quilt size, but it's not really much use to me (I have a stack of fleece blankets that live on my couch for the winter). I might see if a friend is interested in it, or it might end up living in a box until I can throw it at someone who does want it.

For now though, it's sitting on the side in a neat(ish) pile.


Stats
Fabric: Quilting cotton fat quarters from Hobbycraft at the start of the year, and some generic cream cotton from Hobbycraft that was about £3 a metre
Wadding: Throw Size "Quilters Dream Natural Request" from The Village Haberdashery, who are darlings. I'd ordered the Natural Select (because I'm blind and didn't see the slightly cheaper Request) but they didn't have it in stock. They got in touch really quickly and offered the alternative with a refund of the difference.
Backing: Baby pink cuddlesoft from Plush Addict. Again, they were excellent; I'd ordered the Cream cuddlesoft, but there was a flaw in it and they didn't have enough, so they rang and offered me a multitude of options.
Binding: also from Plush Addict.
Size: I think it's about 145cm x 145cm.


Next up will hopefully be the banner of doom (no actual doom included, apart from to my sanity) and the skirt I'm making for my MadeUp pledge. Then a mini quilt being made for a gift, my quilt swap mini, and hopefully a couple more bits of clothing. Then the slog of xmas present making needs to start (which isn't actually a chore, there are just a lot of them, and the knitting has already started to go wrong).


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