The finish line is near now that the binding is all that is left. It had been months since I did the fabric auditions and I had to search around for the fabric. I went through my cloth bins to no avail. Then I went through the dresser drawer I was using for storage twice before I found it in the back.
First I measured the quilt to determine how long the pieces should be. Next I decided that I wanted a narrow binding so the math was 3/4 inch times two plus two 1/4 inch seam allowances. That makes it a two-inch binding strip. My helper was there all the way making sure I got that right.
The next step is to sew the binding to the quilt. I like to do this to the top since the other side will be hand stitched. That way the top will be nice and crisp. I machine sewed the two sides on, pressed them over, ironed a 1/4 inch seam allowance and turned it over. Next I pin it all down and with a blind stitch sew the backside down on both sides. Then the top and bottom are put on using the same method. The only difference is the corners are squared and pressed in. A small slide show shows you these steps.
The holiday vacation time is here and I have time to do the doodling. I took out the mini practice quilt and did a few refresher wind swirl quilting patterns. Then I bite the bullet and did the background quilting. Next I did the square motif on the borders. As in earlier in the project I saved the area around the baby crow for last. That way I had practiced up to that key area. Want my little guy to look his best forever.
Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.
Once the quilting was all completed, it was time to trim the sandwich down. This tidies it up for the binding which will be the last step. The quilt should be as square as you can get it now. Plus I had an area where the top wasn’t quite big enough so I had to fudge it some on that side. Otherwise when I sew the binding on it would have had batting showing.
More pictures to tell the story.
What a busy year it has been. In June I found some time to build a mini quilt sandwich. Then over
Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays I was able to make more progress. Watch for more posts as the days go on.
With this little sampler I practiced different free form machine quilting patterns. It takes practice to obtain the proper stitch length while moving the fabric around. The Feed Dogs are lowered and the machine does not push the fabric to insure an even length. However, this is how one quilts with a machine. I think of it like drawing with a sewing machine instead of a pencil. As usual, pictures tell the story.
The quilt is basted together in its sandwich state ready for quilting. I decided to sew in the ditch around all the applique and around the borders. This would set all the pieces nicely and stablize the sandwich.
Frist thing I did was audition the thread I was going to use. Yes it is another tryout to get the color right. I continue along my motto of using only what was in my stash. That was not too tough since when it comes to thread I have accumulated a bunch over the last 40 years. Here is a picture of it so you can see I have lots of choices.
Pulled all the brown or grey threads and set them on the background to see which is the most invisible. You can check it out with this small slide show of the audition.
When quilting the sandwich together one should start in the center and work outwards. I stated with the branches going outward. This insures that there are limited bubbles or bunched fabric. Once I got the branches done, I moved into leaves and twigs. I saved the little crying baby crow for last.
The next step is to sewing around the borders to make them nice and secure. After that I pulled the white basting thread out. No need for it now.
And here is the finished piece. See how it got kind of puffy and gained depth to it. Next step will be to do the squiggly quilting on the sky background that is called stippling.
It is time to put the three layers of the quilt together. Here is a little slide show so you can see the steps. First the backing is pressed and laid as flat as possible right side down. Next the batting is put down and last the top is put on top of the sandwich.
Next I pulled out all my quilt safety pins. They really aren’t special except I have lots of them and they are real big ones. The batting had some adhesive in it so I pressed the pieces together to help keep it together a little better. Then out comes the big needle and contrasting white thread. I baste it starting in the middle and working out with both horizontal and vertical basting. Once that is done I remove the pins and have the quilt ready for the quilting process.
I am thinking I will use my sewing machine with a freeform foot that allows me to doodle on the fabric. I’ll do that in the sky background plus sew around the applique pieces.
Now that the quilt top is finished it is time to select the fabric for the backing and binding. A quilt is similar to a sandwich. It has the pretty top, batting in the center to give it warmth and depth and a bottom. The bottom is usually a solid piece of fabric in a matching fabric to the top. Once all of this is assembled and quilted then binding is applied to seal the sandwich up.
What I decided was to take all the fabric I had pulled for the quilt and do an audition to see which ones would work best. Some were eliminated quickly since they were not big enough for the backing. Right away I decided on the fabric for the binding. It has a nice abstract mix of the browns and blues the top has.
The fabric for the binding is the top right one. The blue with suns is too bright and is not big enough to do the job. The two dark fabrics on the top left and center just don’t suit the job either. That narrowed it down to three options.
The center black cross design and the lighter black just are too much of a contrast to the softer colors on the quilt. The lower right fabric became the backing. It is big enough and is the same fabric that is in some of the branches. See the binding selection peeking out on the bottom of the quilt top. It passed the final audition too.
After picking the fabrics next we will iron the backing and measure it for placement. I wanted to align the pattern on the back so Reggie and I took the project to the bedroom to play with.
As with any quilt project it is a labor of love to get through a phase of construction. The sewing down of the applique just kept going and going and going. As I worked along, I continued to take photos to show how it is done and keep myself amused. First lets look at sewing the leaves down.
I saved the crying baby crow for last. He being the center piece of the quilt it needed extra care. First I did the legs by lifting his bottom up and arranging them down. Once I got them situated I moved the body around to make sure it was centered anatomically correct. Then the sewing began. As I went I pinned the edges over being sure to tuck the points down tightly. How about a slide show for you to see the progress?
And now drum roll!!! Here is the finished top. Next steps will be adding embellishments and quilting the top to the batting and backing.
Time to start sewing the applique down on the Crow Quilt. It is a labor of love to whip the pieces to the background. Even though I pre-folded the edges down there is quite a bit of finishing to be done. Mainly it is how do I want the tree limbs to finish. Should they end where at the background edge or do I let them trail into the borders. I decided that visually it looked good to have some extend over.