Monday, December 13, 2010

My Big Sheet Project

Here it is:

... my first completed, full-size quilt!

I can't tell you how proud I am of myself to have finally finished a project this big. :) I'm a little too impatient (I'm working on that!), and over the years have started too many "big" projects only to have them fizzle out halfway through because they were so much harder than I thought they were going to be.

I love quilts, but I don't have the patience to hand quilt. It takes too long, and I lose interest over the span of one month on one project. So once I discovered machine quilting (especially rag quilting), I knew I had found something I could enjoy. It's quick and easy, and it involves a sewing machine instead of a thimble. (I've been sewing for years, but I just cannot get used to a thimble, so my fingers get raw when I try to hand quilt.)

Making the leap to a bed-sized quilt was a major one for me, and I researched it thoroughly. I really wanted a pieced quilt, but I wasn't sure if it would work with rag quilting. So I searched all over the Internet and found out that you can rag quilt about anything you want to ... so I did.

The nine-patch design is one of my all-time favorites, even though it's one of the simplest. Each block is 12" before sewing the blocks together, and it took 28 of each square - pieced and regular - for a queen-size quilt.

I pieced and quilted the blocks first, since I knew I could fit a 12" block through my machine without a lot of frustration. (I know you can quilt an entire quilt when it's put together on a machine, but I don't like wrestling with the weight of such a big quilt and having to rearrange it every time you turn around.)

Then I quilted the "plain" blocks. I was pretty proud of how they turned out, too, since I don't have a walking foot for my machine (yet), and those hearts turned out pretty good. :) For my heart pattern, I used my Creative Memories CCS hearts to cut a piece of paper as big as I wanted the hearts. Then I added Aleene's Tack It Over and Over to the back. Once it was dry, I just stuck it down on the block where I wanted it and then stitched around it.

I will be getting a walking foot/even feed foot for my machine, though, as soon as I hear back from the Ebay seller about which one will fit my machine. I ended up with some uneven feeding on the top and bottom, but it all worked out once it was sewn together.

Of course, I sewed the squares together in the rag style, leaving exposed edges on top. It turned out surprisingly well! Not only that, but it was super-easy to clip the seams. It was even easier than the purses I've made, probably because the fabric is a little thinner.

I had another idea in mind for the outside edges of the quilt, but it just didn't look right. When my friend saw it, she suggested I turn it in on itself again to create a traditional-looking binding. What a great idea!! It worked wonderfully.

I don't remember exactly which day last week I started working on this, so I can't say for certain how long it took me. But I do know it was less than five days, from cutting out to washing the completed quilt. That's not bad for a week that was pretty busy for us!

So, how much money is wrapped up in this quilt? How about $9, not including the thread (which was less than $3, since I still have plenty leftover). That's the beauty of using thrifted sheets and a thrifted blanket (in place of batting)!


Shore Girl said...

I can't believe you did that in one week! Wow! You must be amazingly fast, or else you spent a lot of late nights on it!
I especially like the nine patch pieces -- so pretty!
The edge turned out quite well too!
I can see a mountain of used sheets making their way to your home in the future! (HA HA)

Sophia said...

Yes, I do a lot of my work at night. Good thing my craft room is away from the bedrooms! I've had a lot of jaw pain lately that has kept me up at night. This has been a great project to get my mind off the pain. :)

Granny J said...

I just found your blog and love the rag quilting projects. I especially like this quilt.

jemilyea said...

Congratulations on finishing your first full-sized quilt! I know how pleased with myself I've been for finishing my autumn quilt. (When I finally get pictures of it, I'll send you one.)

I use my walking foot for so many different kinds of sewing. You'll enjoy it!

Sophia said...

I wondered how you were coming on that quilt. I'd love to see pictures!

So, what all DO you use the walking foot for? I only recently knew there was such a thing, and I've been sewing for over 15 years. I must have been hiding under a rock somewhere. :)

Emily said...

Love the technique and the completed project!

jemilyea said...

I use my walking foot on both craft/quilt projects and garment sewing. Do you ever have instances where you pin your layers together but as you sew them, they still shift? A walking foot really reduces that problem.

For crafting/quilting, I generally only use a walking foot. In garment sewing, I switch feet a lot for whatever works best. I have a newer low-shank machine (vertical) that has a snap-on foot, but I take it off and then can use all the screw-on attachments from older sewing machines.