Friday, November 25, 2011

Finally finished Mother in Law quilt!

Here are my first two "finishes" of my new quilting life- a little teapot coaster, which was gifted to some friends with whom we spent Thanksgiving... twin sized mother-in-law quilt, which I photographed in our neighborhood park, ripe with gorgeous fall foliage- a perfect backdrop for the colors (and leaf patterns) of this quilt!   Though the color palettes are the same, I used completely different fabrics for these two projects.  The teapot coaster is made up of a single block of swapped strips from my friend Elise in Anchorage, and the quilt from my small (but quickly-growing) stash.  

This quilt was a huge learning experience for me.  At first I was going to talk about how I was equal parts elated and embarrassed upon surveying my finished product, but after a day to think about what to report on this experience, I guess I can only say that I am going to not make a lot of mistakes I made this time around!

The free-motion quilting was, by far, the greatest challenge of this project, and if I were to do it over again, I probably wouldn't have fmq'ed it.  I do prefer the look, but the brown thread is very easy to see on the light parts of the top, and with the number of thread breaks and skipped stitched I had, there were a few sections that were less-than-professional looking!  I really wanted it stippled, and just didn't have the time to practice, practice, practice before I did it.  I did watch many youtube tutorials, then finally just jumped in!  In the final analysis, I definitely notice all the imperfections, but as everyone says, only the quilters will notice those things. My mother-in-law didn't care- she loves it :)

With my new (used) Singer 301a, I had some misadventures which also slowed me down.  I was getting a lot of skipped stitches as I fmq'ed, and someone suggested I remove and clean the thread tension assembly.  That was maybe a good idea, but my execution of it was decidedly lackluster!  Thinking it was attached with a screw, I stuck a screwdriver in it and began "loosening" it.  I actually just bent a spring in the assembly and had to get a replacement, which took a few days.  Btw, the thread tension assembly wasn't in need of cleaning (eye roll).  In addition, the free motion pattern I was using (curley cues) seemed to take a ton of thread (like, a bobbin per 14" block!).  I realize now I was using so much because all of my loops were very small.  My loops were small because I was having trouble managing all the extra quilt fabric.  I will likely straight-line quilt my next project or two, although since they are lapquilts, fmq'ing might be easier this time around...I will have to make a game-time decision on that one, I guess. 

For backing, I used a few scraps from the front as well as brown and orange plaid fabrics, which were clearance fabric seconds from Connecting Threads.  For under $2 a yard with no imperfections, it was perfect for this project!  My binding was a red-orange pattern on yellow, and frames the quilt nicely (I think).  As I was under a time crunch, I decided to give machine binding a try.  It was MUCH faster, and produced a neat-looking finish, which did the trick just fine.  I would do it again, and might have to, since I now have to get two lap quilts done before Christmas (I don't have tons of free time to quilt)!

These pictures of my MIL quilt were taken in Isham Park, Inwood, NYC.


  1. it looks awesome!!! don't beat yourself up over your fmq'ing. as they say, "if you can't see it from a galloping horse, don't worry about it." or something like that.

  2. Thanks Kelly. I can also console myself knowing that the quilt is now in Russia, where it will probably be a novelty, appreciated and not reviewed :) I did have fun, and hopefully will bring my lessons to the next project!