However, in an attempt to keep things positive, I have been doing some nice things. Like decorating church for a wedding, cooking nice dinners for the family, playing around with the Crystal Keeper's Daughter, (my new WIP - I've gone back to the writing chart and am trying to write something every day) and I've been hexing.
No, not spells - quilting. Over the last couple of months, I made up hexagons of fabric-on-card (known as hexies in the quilting world) to produce flowers for a single bed quilt in the spare room. I stitched them all together and last week I added the border and backing and got some advice from Sue at Quorn Country Crafts about cotton for top quilting, and I was on the home straight...
|No two flowers the same...|
Now, my rainbow quilt was machine-stitched together, then hand quilted. This hexie quilt is hand stitched together and machine quilted. It took a long time to hand quilt my rainbow squares, but I never realised how much time it takes to machine quilt too!
|The full quilt top with the border added|
I've decided I'm a bit anal about straight lines and whether or not top stitching takes away from the pattern in a fabric by stitching all over it. (It doesn't, as proven by the fabulous quilts that were on display recently) But with my hexie quilt I decided to have a play. My ancient 1950's machine only does straight stitch forwards and back, so I could do straight lines or irregular wavy ones... I decided to follow the lines of the hexies with a beige/grey/cream mixed cotton, gradually adding lines in different directions until I was happy with the finished effect. In the end, I've gone with three directions, so the flower section will look as though it's made up of lots of little triangles, and I end up with diamonds down the sides of the green border.
One problem I've had has been the tension on my old machine. For some reason, the tension can vary in any one run of stitching, and I'm not sure whether that's to do with the difficulty of handling the weight of material and I'm feeding it through too fast, or whether it's just the machine. Because it's so inconsistent, I daren't play with the tension of the bobbin, and I've resigned myself to the fact that nothing's going to come un-stitched because there's so many lines of stitching - so it's going to be a Unique Feature of this quilt. *winks, and hopes you never look at the back side of the quilt*
|Grandma Betty's sewing machine...|
Another problem is that when I began stitching, there were tucks on the backing fabric, even though I'd pinned all the layers together. I had to undo the lines to allow the tuck of fabric to smooth out and resew; I was not happy. I wondered if it was because I was being lazy in only pinning the layers? Some quilters tack everything together for security before top-stitching, but that would take even more time... Eventually, I realised it was probably due to the direction in which I'd placed the pins; they were at right angles to my line of stitching, so the fabric couldn't move with the stitching. Once I changed the pinning to the direction of the sewn lines, the problem disappeared.
The last problem was the cat, who took great delight in cosying up on the quilt while I was still trying to machine it!
|The look that says 'Yes? You have a problem with this?'|
He did the same when I was working on the rainbow quilt too...
I'm almost at the end of the quilting phase and then it's onto binding the edges, which is tough on the fingers but more satisfying because I can hand sew that bit. Everything's prepped and I'm hoping I can get the quilt finished in time for camp in August, because I think I'll be a lot toastier in my sleeping bag and under that than wrapped in a blanket!
After that, who knows? I have a growing stash of fabric in my dining room that's just begging to be made up into something...