Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Adventures in Quilting

Quilting is turning out to be quite an adventure. It presents a whole new set of challenges for me. Most of the challenges stem from the fact that a quilt is much bigger than the projects I usually sew (including my first quilt) and all of a sudden I didn't have enough room to sew.

First I had to find space to pin-baste. Based on my limited experience, I believed I had to completely spread out the quilt for the basting, and this probably is the best way. I took the layers down to the living room and spread everything out on the floor. Crawling on the floor is for younger quilters. My poor old knees really hurt while I was crawling around on the floor trying to get the backing taut and the batting wrinkle-free. In addition, I didn't have the T-pins recommended in Alex Anderson's book to hold the backing taut by pinning it to the carpet. So, I brought a heavy, cumbersome folding table up from the basement and taped the backing to the table. The table was barely wide enough but I was able to pin-baste the layers together in sections. Somehow, it didn't occur to me to take the quilt layers back upstairs to the cutting table. I guess all that crawling on the floor and the pain in my knees reduced the blood flow to my brain.

The final challenge was finding the space to actually quilt. In my small, sewing room, the sewing machine cabinet is in the corner. There isn't enough space behind or beside the machine for the bulk. Since I'd already dragged the heavy, cumbersome folding table up one flight of stairs to the living room, I decided to drag it up yet another flight of stairs to my daughter's bedroom. It's still pretty cramped, but at least I have room to spread out the quilt. I predict more problems as I reach the center of the quilt and have to keep the bulk rolled up enough to fit through the machine. (That huge, expensive Bernina 830 is looking pretty good about now.) Every time I want to quilt in the future, (if, in fact I will want to quilt in the future) I have to set up a temporary workspace in my daughter's room. It's a good thing she's away at college!

I often wondered if quilters were a different breed than sewers. I bet one of the differences is that quilters have more room!


  1. Sounds like you have conquered most of your quilting challenges (lol). Did you have to lug that heavy table all by yourself? Sounds like things I get myself in. My Mother has decided to starting quilting again - and I am so happy for her. She so loves it and I know she will enjoy doing it again. What pattern is your quilt - it is beautiful!

  2. We'll find a way to tackle any sewing project :)
    I now want to go dig out my un-finished quilts and get them done've done a great job on your quilt, it looks beautiful.

  3. Came across some quilt pattern downloads and thought you might also enjoy these patterns :)

  4. I generally start quilting in the center and work my out to the edges - that way I get the worst of the quilt wrangling out of the way first and I can smooth the quilt out to the edges for less wrinkles and bulges.

    I love how the piecing on the top came out!