Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Quilt

I finished a simple Christmas quilt last week! Just in time for us all to snuggle under while we read "A Christmas Carol" aloud the past few days. So fun. The snuggling, the reading, and the sewing too.

Using charm squares and machine quilting, it came together very quickly.

I washed it after these photos were taken and it brought out even more of that wonderful quilted texture that I love. I declare, I think I'm really starting to catch the quilting bug which I never thought would happen. :-) The cutting and piecing process always seemed way too fussy, hand quilting took forever (I took a YEAR to finish a baby quilt for a friend!), I didn't know how to machine quilt, and I knew that taking quilts in to be quilted at a shop was way too expensive for my budget. But I've gained some patience over the years AND I've learned some quilting tricks on the Internet this fall.

I thought I'd take a minute and explain the simple "trick" I learned that allows a person to free motion quilt on any sewing machine, even one that doesn't have a way to lower the feed dog. First, you place masking tape over your feed dog, then, attach your embroidery foot or darning foot. (The one I use is an embroidery foot and it is circle shaped.)

Next, decide on the continuous random pattern you want to do and practice drawing it on paper. I looked on line for some ideas. Practice evenly feeding your fabric through your sewing machine -- too fast and you have huge stitches; too slow and your stitches are tiny. It's a matter of getting your hands and your foot in sync. I started out on some small projects I wasn't too emotionally attached to in case I completely made a mess of them. This site was particularly helpful in figuring out the whole process, with pictures to go with it.

One other thing that has helped me is using quilting gloves. It may sound a bit wimpy but it's actually a bit physically demanding to grip the quilt for an hour or two while you make the loopy-dee-loop pattern all over the place. The quilting gloves have grippy stuff on the fingers and they make it a piece of cake to keep control over the material. Some people don't like the gloves but I think they're great. I hate to admit this out loud because it makes me feel old, but I'm pretty sure I've inherited the arthritis gene that runs in my family. Just typing this post I can feel how stiff and creaky my fingers are and while doing handiwork they can get quite sore. Using gloves, I don't have to grip the fabric but just put my hands palm down on the fabric. This really helps with joint fatigue but it makes it all around easier too, no matter what the condition of your joints.

If you haven't tried machine quilting you should give it a whirl! It's addictive and quick. Even Taylor is begging me to let him try and I told him he could as soon as I get done with my projects that are due the 24 of December......


mama of many said...

I LOVE IT! You are so talented Sariah. How inspiring. Maybe there is hope for me yet.

Mommab said...

It's beautiful! Sorry about the inherited arthritis. ;-{

EllaJac said...

So pretty! I made my youngest her baby quilt for Christmas this year. I recommend making baby quilts before the baby is old enough to stand there and turn off yoru machine, change your stitch, etc. Grr... At least I can tell her SHE is the reason for all those spots...

Oh, and both my machines (one is 25 years old, the other probably 35+) have a little thing to lower the feed dogs. Not sure if most do or not, but it's helpful!!