Monday, 29 January 2018

The Jess Quilt (or....The Bee Tranquilt)

Back when I was in thumb jail...wait.  Did I mention I'm out of thumb jail?  I'M OUT OF THUMB JAIL!!!!  There is still a very disturbing "popping" that occurs whenever I hinge my wrist forward but the pain is gone.  I'm freeeeeeeee! November when I was in thumb jail, all I could do was collect and curate fabrics for projects that I would work on in the future when I was better.  One of these projects was for my brother's girlfriend (Jess) who is one of my current housemates.  Most evenings she wraps herself up in the VERY loved quilt that my grandmother made for my brother.  Its the one he drags back and forth in his car when he does extra long surveillance trips for work.  Needless to say, its a stinky boy quilt and she is not a stinky boy.  So for her birthday at the beginning of November, I pledged to make her a quilt of her own so she no longer had to resort to the stinky boy quilt.

These pretty fabrics were cut by my mom and destined for Jess.
Well, when my parents came home for Christmas, my mom helped me out by turning the stack of fabrics I had collected into a great big delicious pile of of charm squares that I could sew into a quilt. It was my mom's first time cutting fabric for a quilt.  I don't think she had fun.  She approached this project with the same get-'er-done, waste-no-time approach she takes with everything.  She was sweaty at the end.

After consultation with my mom and others, I abandoned my original plan for a selected random layout and decided to go with a gradation.  I got stuck though when I tried to figure out how to do it in a way that was balanced but that didn't have clear demarcations from one colour to the next.  Pinterest to the rescue and I found a knitting pattern I could turn upside-down and use.
This is the knitting diagram I used to plan the gradated layout
I also knew that my thumb/wrist would be on FIRE with all the pressing so I tried a new-to-me method of sewing the quilt.  I chain pieced vertically without snipping between the blocks.  Once the vertical seams were all together, the rows were pieced but the un-snipped threads held all the rows together.

See progress on vertical seams
This is the end product of having all the vertical seams sewn -- complete rows.  Rows are held together by thread. 
The great thing about piecing this way was that when I got to this point, I no longer had to pay attention to what went where.  In fact, once I got to this point, I didn't have to get up from my sewing machine at all until the top was completely pieced.  How efficient!  It was super easy to ease the seams to nest into each other and I didn't have to pay attention to which rows needed to be pressed in which direction.
See?  Ironed the whole thing all at the end.  

I would definitely use this method again if I was doing simple patchwork. Less thinking, more sewing!
This is what the top looked like once it was pressed the one and only time I took it to the iron.
I ended up backing the quilt in minky -- it was my first time doing that too.  It was a little persnickety as the backing had stretch and the front didn't but after one small re-baste to pull the backing tighter, we were in business.  I kept the quilting simple and echoed 1/4 inch away from each seam.  The quilt was machine-bound and gifted at the beginning of the month.  

There you have it -- The Bee Tranquilt

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