Saturday, September 13, 2014

Kaleidoscope Quilt Finish

WOW!  I am so excited to announce the finish of a 2 year WIP!  Way back in December of 2012 I started this Kaleidoscope quilt for our friends, who had just recently (and suddenly) lost their mother.

She was a quilter, and they offered up her fabric stash to friends- I ended up bringing home about 40 lbs of it!  Anyhow, a gift quilt had been my immediate intention, and so I began what (I didn't know) would be a 22 month long drama of inspiration, frustration and triumph.

Up til this point I made it a point to finish one project before starting the next- I didn't yet know the limbo of WIPs - "Who are these crazy people who are making 2, 3, 4 quilts at once, and why don't they just finish what they started?!"  Unfortunately I became one of them through the fault of my machine.

I happily pieced this quilt top in December, even patched together batting using scraps

but when I sat down to begin quilting it (an all-over stipple), by Singer 301a had other ideas.  The skipped stitch and thread tension issues I had been battling off and on since I got my Singer came back with a vengeance.  I quilted about 40% of the quilt, dealing with skipped stitches along the way, before I got pretty frustrated and wondered how long it was going to take me to finish the job, given I was stopping to make machine and thread adjustments every 10 minutes.  When I turned the quilt over, I saw to my horror that much of the stitching on the back of the quilt was out of a slasher film!  We would call it tight bobbin thread tension, but it was wonky is so many spots, I knew the entire thing would have to be ripped out and re-quilted.  I had had it with my Straight Stitching Singer and threw the quilt in a bag, not to even look at it for a year and a half. 

So, after a long hiatus from the Kaleidoscope, I sat down to begin pulling stitches.  That took FOREVER.  I then decided on a new quilting design which I could accomplish using a loaner machine (Brother XL-2600i) I got from a neighbor.  I can assure you, this Brother is not an XL in any way, so I knew FMQ'ing would be crazy not-fun.  In the end, I made my first attempt at echo quilting.

Cream colored thread for the light background and blue, green and purple for the other triangles.

The fabric is a mix of my friends' mom's fabrics and some new, modern fabrics from my stash.  The back and binding is entirely her fabrics (Oops! Except for that little turquoise and green hexagon print below), with three more of the kaleidoscope blocks on back.

These photos give you a good view of the echo quilting.

An object which represented my absolute frustration toward quilting and my machine is finally something that I am really proud of and excited to share with my friends! 
In the mean time I made 5 other quilts, using the Brother XL-2600i loaned to me by a neighbor.  In fact, this quilt has been constructed using three different machines: the Singer 301a, the Brother, and a Viking Sapphire 850...actually MY Viking Sapphire 850.

An early birthday gift from my folks, this machine has been a dream so far!  After this summer getting spoiled on Berninas, I REALLY wanted to step up to the convenience and reliability of a "serious quilter" machine.  Bernina was WAY out of my league, price-wise, but I got a deal on the Viking, and am loving it - especially the 10" throat!  As a bonus, the walking foot from my Brother fits on it, so now all I really need is an extending table for quilting.  Will buy that when things calm down a bit here.