Friday, February 8, 2013

Girl Scout Quilts Completed

Finishing the two Girl Scout quilting projects coincided with me purchasing a used HQ 16 sit down mid arm quilting machine. This gave me extra motivation to complete the parts and get to quilting.

Beginning with the pink ribbon quilt, I finished putting the rows together. There were a couple squares put together where the seam allowances were too big and the row was too short. I did end up ripping out them and resewing. For the most part, it went together fine. Another step I needed to do that I don't usually need to do was to square up the quilt front. The edges were just not straight. A three inch striped border pulled it all together.

For the back, I had purchased striped fabric and knew I would need to piece the back. After measuring, I figured I wasn't too short and adding a column of leftover squares would make up the difference. Pink ribbon and brown squares were mostly what was left. Because I don't usually follow quilting patterns, there are many shortcuts I haven't learned yet. In researching quilt ideas for the "Blip on the Radar" quilt, I found a triangle trick using squares. It worked out well and went together quickly.

Back of the Pink Ribbon Quilt
The blue quilt had additional problems. This group didn't always sew the squares together all the way to the end. As I sewed the rows together I had to fix some of the seams. After some consideration, I decided not to add a border to this quilt, but to add an additional row and column of squares. This seemed to work better. The paisley fabric had been give to me at some point. I don't even recall where it came from, but is a nice wide fabric and I had a lot of it. It worked well for the back without needing to be pieced.

Finally I was ready to quilt. I was a little nervous to be using this beast of a sewing machine, but I had also practiced with it enough to know it was a better option than using the cramped quarters of my regular sewing machine. It felt very different sewing on the big quilt versus my small practice pieces. I could go much faster and travel further. My meandering quilting pattern seemed to be fairly spaced out and went fast. It was certainly a time saver.

For the blue quilt, I considered trying a different quilting pattern for the stitching. A paisley pattern would have matched the quilt well, but I was concerned about committing to the whole quilt and having it take too long.

Because I needed a new thread color for the blue quilt, I tried out some Gutermann I had on hand and could not get the tension right for the HQ 16. Finally I bought some new thread designed for machine quilting and it made all the difference! It was a Coats and Clark variegated blue. It was new to me using a variegated thread and I liked the effect.

Typically I hand sew the bindings on and after considering ways to machine sew it on, decided to go with hand sewing.  It is a longer process, but fairly mindless and can be done outside of my sewing room.

I look forward to bringing the completed quilts to our next Girl Scout meeting and showing the girls how a bunch of squares they sewed together can transform into a beautiful quilt. The next stop for these quilts will be to be donated to the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. They will be offered to newly diagnosed women.

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