Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ho! Ho! Oh So Cozy!

I've finished up my charming, although ill timed, Santa* Quilt.

And, as predicted, it is soooooo cozy. As soon as I curled up under it I decided that every quilt on the planet needs to be backed in flannel! Ok... maybe not *every* one... but certainly winter quilts. It's very soft, and just the right weight. I used an 80/20 Cotton-Poly blend for the batting. This was my first time using anything other than 100% cotton, and it worked well. I mean, I'll have to wash it to see how it compares to cotton batting with regard to shrinkage & bearding... but it was easy enough to work with and plenty warm.

In addition to my usual stitch in the ditch (I actually got the stitches *in* the ditch this time!), I added a few diagonal lines, then dropped the feed dogs to do some free motion stars in red thread on the blue star squares. Nothing fancy... just wanted to practice more free-motion quilting.

It's fun! I'm still not great at it, but I'll be using it again in future quilts.

I did a piss-poor job of 'labeling' this quilt... it didn't even occur to me until after I'd done the quilting. So I had to kinda stick my hand in a 'pocket' to embroider my initials through only the backing & batting. But I've got the date on it, and that's the important thing.

Other quilters out there (or quilt appreciators) - are your quilts labeled? If so, how? I've put my initials & the date on this quilt, my rail-fence quilt, and the one I made for my nephew, but I don't think I put anything on the baby-gift quilts I've made. I think I need to come up with a little label I can attach to my crafty things.

What I like best about this quilt is that it's for ME! The last quilt I made for myself was finished in 2005. Since then I've made three quilts for new little people, one quilt for my nephew, and I finished up a quilt my sister started & gave it back to her. I'm very excited to get to keep this one.

What I learned from this project:

  • I can throw together a fun & functional throw quilt in a relatively short period of time.

  • All flannels are not equal, I should compare the thickness & texture of the flannels before using them together in a quilt. Nevertheless, flannels are easy to work with and ooooooh so soft!

  • Poly-cotton batting is easy to use and warm

  • I should create a quilt label before I do the quilting! In fact, I think I'm going to insert that as the step immediately after finishing the quilt top, before making the quilt sandwich.

  • I tend to rush through projects. Although it's nice to have a finished object quickly, I might enjoy the end result better if I took more care to do things well, rather than just fast.

  • I need to plan out the quilting pattern as part of the overall plan of the quilt. If I wait until I finish the quilt top, I'm too impatient for the finished quilt to stop and think through my options.

  • Using the mitered corner tutorial on State of the Craft, I learned how to do a mitered corner... sort of. I need more practice on this.

  • Throws / lap quilts are easier to make than full sized quilts (I knew this already, but wanted to add it in as a reminder to myself), and since I'm short, 60" x 60" is plenty big enough for me to curl up under.

  • I need a new quilting station! I know, I know, it's a poor craftsman who blames his tools.. but even quilting a small quilt is difficult without a decent sized worksurface. I saw an ad for a portable sewing table in one of my quilt magazines so I'm going to look into that.

And after finishing up the quilt, as per tradition, I gave Peggy a shiny star (the green one on the lower left), and changed my needle. It should be common sense but I used to only change my needle when it bent or broke... now I change it after every major project, and I think it helps keep her sewing along nicely.

So yay for my Santa quilt.... only three months late. =P

* Ironically, I'm not a big fan of Santa... or even Christmas really. I'm just a sucker for tradition. =P


Bezzie said...

It looks good! Plus flannel comes in wider cuts too doesn't it? Easier to back or piece together to back.

My mom has started labeling her quilts of late. If you go to this entry on my blog, you can see what she does:

Olga said...

Hey !I have a Pfaff too! Never thought about giving it stars...hmmmm. My MIL stitches her name and date and who the quilt was for on the back in a corner. I think she hand did it, but she has a top of the line Pfaff that does EVERYTHING so she might of machine that info. THe quilt looks good. I'm really lousey at stitch in the ditch, I am not patience enough.

IamSusie said...

I label my quilts. It's good to put the year made because 10 years later you can't believe that much time has passed. I used to stitch a little year on every single crafty thing I made, but I'm too prolific now to bother with that.

On quilts I've used fabric marker on a muslin patch which I then applique onto the back. I put my full name, what or who I sititched it for and the year. I've also just written on the back with the fabric marker.

Some of my baby quilt gifts have gone out to the babies with no label. I know how it is to be burdened as a parent with way too many handmade blankets and I want the new parents to use mine and not think of it as an heirloom that they can't wash or pass on at some point to another baby in their life.

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Rebel said...

Bezzie - yes a lot of cottons & flannels come in extra wide widths for quilt backing. I haven't used them yet because I always seen to have enough fabric left over from the top to piece together a backing. Thanks for the link too.

Olga - please tell me you've at least NAMED your sewing machine ;) I don't have a lot of patience either... I really shouldn't be a quilter! =P

Suzie - I feel the exact same way about quilts that I give away, I want them to be used and enjoyed and spit up on and washed and cuddled with etc. Thanks for the tip about the fabric pen - that would be a much faster way to go.

Melissa said...

Funny that you talk about quilt labeling. Yesterday I just ordered some personalized ribbon from this place:

For labeling quilts and/or knitting projects. They have neat woven ones or printed ribbon, which is what I got. If you figure putting initials or a name and the date on a roll of ribbon, $18 isn't bad for a year's worth of labels.

loulee1 said...

I too have ready made labels with my name on, they also have a little butterfly on them.

Trillian42 said...

That is adorable! It makes me wish that I was more into quilting - I've done a couple of small baby quilts, but that's all.

Chance said...

Well, you certainly seem very talented to me. Those stars look great.

Rebel said...

Thanks everyone! I'll have to think about getting pre-printed labels - I'm just not sure I'd finish enough things to justify buying a roll.

gl. said...

i love this quilt! and i think it's adorable you have a star system for finished projects. i may have to adopt that ritual!

Michael5000 said...

I love the star system, too! And, the "what I learned from this project" seems like a list worth making after big projects.

You know, I'll eventually make a REAL mitered-corners tutorial. But I'm glad you were able to get somewhere with the quick version....

Exuberant Color said...

I ordered those labels with my name printed on them with other words woven into them (Charm labels) in the early 1960's and I'm still using them. I think I had 100 of each large and small that say Wanda Hanson Original on them and I probably have enough left yet for the next 2 or 3 years (40+ years). They go on all of my wallhangings but I rarely label a bed quilt. I never label a baby quilt unless the recipient requests it. I figure it's just one more thing for the little one to pick at and pull off and eat.
Very important wallhangings get a special label with more info.
I use the 80cotton/20 poly most of the time (Hobbs) and love it.