It took thirty minutes to set up for sewing the blocks. Most of the delay was due to the time I had to fussing with fabrics selection. The actual aligning of the blocks only took a few seconds. I am planning to track the time it takes me to make this quilt top. WHY you ask, cause I am curious.
I have been agonizing over this little quilt. The quilt started out as a guild project and then there was an announcement of a new baby on the way. So now I know that this quilt will be needed for a sweet little girl, due in August. My first idea was the Kona cottons with various patches from exchanges but I found the Kona cotton made the bright novelty prints look dull and muddied. If I used just white it just looked like a four patch on a white background, the pattern and technique was lost. Since I now had a special little baby to make this little scrap quilt for I wanted it more planned and controlled then I had originally planned. So I started planning the patches and using softer, sweeter fabrics from my scrap stash. ( I use a modified BONNIE HUNTER scrap system in that I cut patches into 10 inches, 5 inches and 2.5 strips.)
I am using decorative stitches to sew down the patches. This nails down the patches to background and controls the edges from fraying. To my surprise this has been the funniest part of the project. I have really been enjoying using the stitches on all of my machines. I have also started using decorative stitches to make the patches themselves. A technique I saw Pat Holly use in some of her quilts.
Some of the things I learned when sewing the patches to the background:
1./ Pull the threads to the back to bury them.
2./ Use school glue sticks ( washable) to tack down the corners if they do not lie properly.
3./ When sewing the corner down I would go to the very edge. I would reset the machine to a straight stitch then reprogram the decorative stitch to the same settings. I had practiced the stitches several times before using them on the blocks. I have a stitch journal where I take notes about the stitches and settings used.
4./ I find it especially important to know how the various stitches start. That helps me to pivot and produce a nicer corner. This is important for the patches cut on the vertical and the horizontal as the corners make a focal point of the blocks.
5./ Decorative stitches get lost on busy or printed fabrics. The stitches should go to the plain fabric or to the background fabrics so that it can be highlighted. I try to keep the decorative stitches highlighted.
6./ I am trying to select colors that complement the patches. My fall back color is variegated gold threads as it seems to work well the chosen fabrics without taking over and dominating the patches.
7./ As I am sewing I take a needle to sweep under the patchwork any fraying or loose threads.
8./ I need to find my quilter’s bar so that I can do better at sewing straight lines of decorative stitches. I tend to waiver and drift when I am sewing. I am looking forward to using more of my decorative stitches.
9./ I used Ricky Tims Stable Stuff as my stabilizer for the stitches. When the quilt is washed it will soften up and not add any stiffness to the patches. I like the way the stitches look when a stabilizer is used.
Happy quilting Nonnie