Sunday, December 29, 2013

My First Real Quilt

So my awesome sister-in-law's mom used to work at JoAnn's thus her stash is filled with amazing amounts of fabric. While my SIL was visiting over the holidays she went through her mom's stash and brought home some cheater quilts, mostly baby themed, for me to practice my quilting skills. This is a win-win. I get much needed practice longarm quilting and my SIL gets baby quilts ready to gift when her friends and family have babies. 
My first real quilt loaded on the frame. My system has been to load the quilt the night before then quilt it the next day.
I practiced my star pattern until I felt comfortable with it. I then loaded the backing onto the quilt frame.  The challenge of loading this quilt was that my backing was virtually the same size as the quilt top.  Normally when you send your quilt off to the quilter s/he requires your backing be 4+ inches wider than the top. The reason I assume is so s/he has plenty of room to work. This quilt wasn't that large so it wasn't as important to have the play in it to have more room on each side. It was so strenuous I had to have a protein shake before I could continue on. 
We live in Wildcat country so my shelf in my quilting room is purple as is my protein shaker bottle.
I started by choosing my pattern and entering my quilt size into my Pantovision program. I had accidently removed my star pattern already sized to what I wanted so I had to use my memory to reenter it.  This was not a good idea.  I doubled the size of my star pattern and I realized it after my first star was complete. So I stopped and decided I wanted to rip it out instead of using the larger star pattern. The only problem ended up being that before Christmas I had broken all three of my seam rippers' points off when I was making pot holders for gifts.  So I ended up having to run into town to get a new seam ripper to pull out my stitching.  I had sewn just enough that it was going to take a long time to pick it out with small scissors so I decided I needed to give in and get new a new seam ripper. I came home with three new seam rippers.
The three seam rippers I purchased. The one on the far right is more like a razor blade and I'm really liking it for ripping out stitches when I need to pull out stitches and I can't access the back or a seam easily.
After I ripped out the stitching and resized the pattern back down to size I was ready to begin again. The star pattern is one that I feel very comfortable doing. However, once I started quilting on my first real project my arms froze up and my motion became rather rigid.  I had to remind myself over and over my SIL wasn't expecting perfection she had kindly gotten these quilts for me to practice my work. I finally got into the groove and started moving faster. 
The upper left corner where I started my quilting.
This is what the screen on my tablet look like when I am running Pantovision. If you look closely there is a small dot. That dot is what is supposed to stay on the lines as you move across your quilt.
I decided early on in my practicing that it would be easier on smaller quilts if I could learn to do the quilting both left to right and then left to right it would be much quicker than trimming my thread and starting back over on the left again.  So I did that with this quilt.  It took me just over an hour to complete the baby quilt.  I decided overall I'm the most judgmental of my work so it wasn't terrible for my first real quilting job. I'm happy I'm done and now can say I did my first quilt job. I'm not ready to start charging people for my services yet but I am really enjoying the learning process.
A close up of some of quilting.
The back of the finished quilt.
My finished quilt top.