Quilting – lessons learned

December of 2012 – I started a Block of the Month quilt with a Christmas theme.  April 2013 I finished Block 1; August 2013 Block 2 was complete and two others the pieced backgrounds complete.  Over the last 3 years I’ve slowly worked on the blocks until about 4 months ago when I decided I was going to get it done.

Tonight I finished all the embroidery, all the blanket stitch, all the piecing – whew!  Quilting & a few button embellishments and it will be complete.IMG_3716

I considered myself a fairly decent quilter, but there is always rooms for improvement.  So a few things I learned:

  • Iron-on interfacing:  I have this spider web awesome stuff I use when doing hand applique – I have no idea why I used a heavier interfacing for the applique work on this quilt.  The blanket stitch was time-consuming and difficult to push a needle through two layers of fabric and the interfacing.  Also with the main blocks I was turning the edge with the blanket stitch. When I finally reached the corners with the birds & scallops – I trimmed off the edge I had originally turned under.  It helped a  little bit. Lesson learned – avoid med/heavy weight iron-on interfacing for any hand or machine stitching – even if you are just trying to use up your stash.
  • IMG_3718

    You can see how smooth & flat the scallops are versus the border strip.

  • Measure. Measure. Measure.  I tell clients all the time when it comes to borders to measure, measure, measure.  Another disadvantage of the interfacing – the scalloped edge stiffened the fabric where it had NO movement and so the border didn’t work well with the directions measurements.  I had to put an easing stitch along the entire edge of the border to ease it to fit the main blocks.  No gathers or puckers but time consuming.  The borders were made as a unit – difficult to adjust beforehand, but I probably could have figured it out if I had measured first. I’m working on another Block of the Month quilt – no embroidery or embellishments.  The directions call for measuring & squaring the smaller blocks withing the blocks as you go.  I wish this quilt had done that a bit more. Lesson learned: measure, measure, measure.
  • And last of all – I really don’t like to do blanket stitch by hand.  I love to do needle turned hand applique, but not blanket stitch.  Blanket stitch with my machine – love it. Lesson learned: next quilt that calls for lots of blanket stitch – I will use the machine.

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Last but not least – leftovers!!! Several years back I made a quilt for a fundraiser – raffle quilt 2010

For almost 5 years I kept the leftover scraps together – because there were that many!  Recently I finally made a very scrappy baby quilt for my great niece.

Well I have the same dilemma –  guess I’ll wait for a Christmas baby?


5 thoughts on “Quilting – lessons learned

  1. Hi Helen, I tried leaving a comment but I do not have an account with WordPress, so here goes again.

    I can relate to your experience with hand blanket stitching, because I had the same thing happen with a quilt with leaves I had fused on the top. The layers were too thick for my needle to push through, but I kept at it. It took me over five years, but from that experience I was determined to use of the blanket stitches on my Janome. I did just that with a Dresden Plate quilt top and, after much practice on smaller pieces, the top turned out great. This project took only a few hours to complete the blanket stitching! I too am hooked on this.

    Glad to see that you’re slowing down, enjoying your family and smelling the roses. I am saddened that you’re not taking as many quilts to finish, but could I bring two quilt tops that I have for you, and get in line with others for my turn? I certainly understand that you need and want to slow down from the schedule you were maintaining.

    I enjoy your blog with your lessons learned, and the beautiful photos.

    Love ya,

    Dot Clear

  2. Hi love your quilts! I’m a longarmer as well living in Partlow 🙂 I attend the Colonial Quilt Guild in Williamsburg..I know..quite the road trip..but have friends there 🙂
    I was wondering if you belong to a quilt guild that is closer or could recommend one?
    Thank you

    • Hi!
      I’m part of a group of Statler/Gammill quilters – they meet in random locations – Virginia, Pennsylvania, etc. I’ve been so busy I haven’t attended any meetings in quite some time. They meet quarterly. There are some general quilting guilds around – Stafford County has one, Spotsy has a couple and there’s another in Louisa County. I’m just too busy to attend the meetings.

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