Thursday, 17 June 2010

More Character Than I Expected

Time for a new quilt - again :) Nope, not that one, but one just like it!

When my mother visited me last fall, she saw the character quilt (see above) I made for a friend of mine and really liked the idea. So she wanted one for a friend of hers, who incidentally likes black and red together as well.

I got to use many of the same fabrics, e.g. the cheese fabric, skiers, dancers, coffee text and even the fabric that Ginny had sent me when I was searching for coffee-can fabric.
I went through all the same steps making the blocks, i.e. fussy-cutting the theme fabrics, adding black borders, then adding red borders of random thickness to get an offset effect on the blocks.

I was considering joining the Worshop in Progress over at Naptime Quilter, a fellow Canadian blogger, so I took quite a few pictures of the making of this quilt. The planning was already done, so I forgot to cover that part.

But I'm not sure I want to blog extensively about every quilt I make, from calculations to mishaps etc.

What do you think? Are you interested in the behind-the-scenes or are you someone who prefers to see the final product?

I did take some photos to show that quilts look fine even if things aren't perfectly lined up throughout the piecing ;)

Sometimes pieces are slightly different sizes or I didn't crop them down perfectly, but the next piece might just align perfectly again. I'm too lazy to square everything up more than once (just before joining rows), and generally just adjust as I go - unless my seams are off more than 1/8" - that much misalignment I can rescue :)

You may have noticed that I was working with paper labels to number my rows this time. I also pinned all the blocks per row together before heading to the sewing machine so nothing would get mixed up.

And wouldn't you know it? I mixed something up anyway! I'm amazed this happened, and I only caught it as I finished the last seam of joining all the rows. Two bare blocks together - that can't be! Horrible layout with all that dead space at the edge!

So out came the seam-ripper.

I'm sure there are many ways of ripping seams. If I don't care about the fabric, I'll do the slicer-method, setting the seam-ripper against the thread in between the fabrics and slicing right through it - there's a bit of danger of catching the fabric and tearing a whole, though.

Or you could carefully rip stitch by stitch in between the fabric, gently tugging them apart as the stitches release.

My preferred quick yet safe method is this: On top of the fabric, I rip every 5th or 6th stitch all the way along the seam as shown in the pic below. The I pull the fabric apart with my thumbs in between the layers and the rest of my fingers on the outside, such that my thumbs pull apart on the stitches that are a bit down from the start of my intact seam. The torn stitches will make each seam section come apart from both ends so the whole thing just plops apart.

Makes a bit of a mess though. You get one long thread from the back of your seam and 5-6 stitch-long pieces of thread from the front - they mostly get caught in the fabric and it's a bit tedious to pick them out.

So the funny thing about this was that as I had been sewing blocks together, I was thinking that it would be a pain if I put a theme fabric block in upside down, and that I'd have to figure out a way to switche just one block in the middle of the quilt and how I'd do that. Then I laughed at myself and thought "Just put them all in right side up!" and was at piece with myself. Little did I know that not 15 min later I had to do exactly that: switch a block. Luckily it was near the edge, so fewer seams to redo! I just took the two blocks that were switched out, but left them attached to each other and turned the whole pair around.

The fabric here was non-directional, so I could do that without now having trees with the roots pointing up!

And, as always: All is well that ends well ;)

Up next, the backing!

And today's special question: Do you have a cool way of ripping seams?


Crispy said...

Another lovely quilt!! Personally, I like to hear about the process. Even if I don't do machine work, it's still interesting to me. As for ripping out seams, I like to just sit back a slowly take the seam out one stitch at a time, that way I don't end up with a mess LOL.


Leslie said...

i love seeing your in progress shots. it looks great. i hate having to use my seem ripper...they are messy and such a pain in the neck

Rebekah said...

What a fun quilt! I always love hearing about the quilting process.