Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Joys of Quilting

Yesterday I finally got my Super Mario Quilt top completely assembled, ironed, sandwiched, pinned and even some of the quilting done! It was a long day, which started at 8am and ended at 10:30pm with a small hiatus for both lunch and dinner. (I treated myself to some much needed coffee in the morning though while enjoying the new posts from the Red, White & Blue Blog Hop!)

While going through the process of finally having the top ready to be quilted, I revisited some things I haven't dealt with in a while. I haven't completed a large quilt in years because baby quilts are so much easier and faster (and I've had a lot of people in need of baby quilts)! I'm sure you can commiserate with one if not all of the following "joys of quilting," but in the end they'll lead me to appreciate my finished quilt even more when it's all done.

#1: Cats - I've posted before about how my cats like to play with destroy what I'm working on. Shasha, the one pictured here, particularly loves to be with me in whatever room I'm working in, preferably on the same table or on my lap. When I'm sewing, this is very bothersome, but she's just too cute to keep throwing her out of the room! Sometimes she just sleeps in the windowsill or sits right next to the sewing machine pedal - I'm OK with those two things But, when she starts batting at the needle or clawing up my fabric I have to shoo her off the table and into the naughty kitty corner. I do think  it's adorable that she wants to be near me, but I really don't want to sew through her paw! So, there have been many sewing breaks to ensure cat safety in the making of this quilt.

#2: Large quilt means large work space - I've used my sewing room floor to lay out a bunch of quilts or projects before, but it has carpet. I didn't want to pin on carpet and not be able to tell if I got through all the layers or if I was catching carpet with the pins. So, with the help of my lovely husband, we rearranged the living room for about 3 hours while I laid out the back (pictured here), batting and quilt top and proceeded to pin everything in place while he played an NBA video game. He was a very good sport about my head being in the way most of the time. :) He helped me move all of the furniture twice, sweep the floor, and vacuum the rug when we put it back in its place. And, not to forget, he was on cat detail while I was pinning to make sure they stayed off of the quilt! The quilt is for him, so maybe he felt obligated, but I love him so much for helping me today! It made the process go so much smoother.

 #3: Sore knees - I forgot how sore your knees get when you pin baste! On the last baby quilts I've done I could either pin on the kitchen table or I used fusible backing and didn't have to pin at all. I've been spoiled by the ease of it all! All of the seams in my quilt kept leaving little grid lines on my skin. So, now I've either got to find my really old volleyball knee pads, or maybe go out and get a new pair. Maybe I could even make some! (note to self to look into that...) It felt so good to sit down on the couch for a minute when I was all done. :)

#4: Other sore body parts - Starting with my left thumb, I forgot to wear a thimble, or even a bandaid, while pinning the quilt. Really I forgot I would even need one until I was about 3/4 done and started noticing that little bits of my skin were gone and my thumb was a little sore. Oh well, such is life! Moving on then to my wrists, shoulders (arms in general) and back. I mentioned that I've started actually quilting the top now. This quilt must weigh at least 15 pounds, maybe even more, which makes it really difficult to move around. (All those seams from the blocks really add up!) I'm starting with stitching in the ditch around each character which means a lot of rotating - pretty much every inch is a new direction. I'm using my walking foot so I get consistent stitches, but wow, I didn't think it would take as long as it is! I've only completed 8 characters today, and I had hoped to get them all done! Whoops, so maybe another 8 tomorrow since I won't have to spend the time pinning and ironing like I did today.

And what have I learned from all of these things? I need to get back in the swing of quilting and finishing larger quilts! All of these little headaches will make the quilt that much more special when it's all done. I'm so close to finishing it now that I'm really motivated to keep going. I hope to have it completed, with maybe the exception of the binding, by my birthday on the 13th. So, stay tuned because this quilt is getting done this month no matter what! :)


  1. Your finished quilt is going to be so wonderful. I remember all of those problems putting together full sized quilts. I bought a rolling cutting table from Joann's that has really solved my problem. I open it to full size, spread my backing and secure with large binder clips. I add the batting, smooth it out, and secure with those clips. I add the quilt top, smooth it out, and secure with the binder clips. I pin baste the area that is on top of the table. Then I unclip and shift the quilt sandwich to put another part of the quilt on the top of the table. I reclip and pin baste that section. I do the whole thing standing up. No more sore knees, back and shoulders. I also use my stiletto to help me close the pins to save my fingers. I know you are hurting in this part of the process, but you will be so happy with your finished project.

  2. Looking forward to seeing the finished quilt!

    To save my fingers (and not get stuck with pins as you sew) I use more opening and closing pins and easy to use and then remove as you quilt.

  3. Ahh, the suffering we must endure for our what looks to be the backing in your last teaser shot...nice choice! I only have one kitty to dodge as I go about the business of trying to sew but she can be determined so I understand the joy and frustration of having a "helper". Go, you! You are almost there!!

  4. Loved all your colors!! Looks super fun!!


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