This adorable quilt ended up being my seventh and final quilt for 2014! It was a long time in the making and I was so thrilled to finally give it to the recipient.
I bought the material and pattern (Cluck, Cluck, Sew’s Breezy) waaaay back in the spring but it had always been earmarked to make for my “little” brother’s birthday. Since Kev’s birthday wasn’t till December, it got put a little lower down on the to-do list until just recently.
The pattern came together quite quickly. I always find cutting out all the pieces to be one of the most daunting parts of quilt making. I usually try to do all that in one night because once I’m past that I feel like I’m inspired to really work towards seeing the finished project.
I’ve been pinning most of my quilts lately. I saw a great tip recently suggesting that you use masking or painters tape to hold down the corners and sides of each layer when positioning the quilt sandwich (backing, batting and quilt top) and I find that really works well for me. I’m lucky to have a really solid dining room table with a stone top finish. I lay everything out on there and take care to smooth out each layer and tape it down to hold it while everything gets pinned together with a million quilting safety pins.
With each quilt I’ve been working on this year, I’ve been trying to push myself a little further along in my quilting skills. With this quilt, I made myself experiment with more free motion quilting than I’ve ever done before. I quilted all the negative (white) space with different free motion shapes and lines. Aurifil thread works so perfectly for this because I don’t have to worry about it snagging or breaking. And I even quilted the entire navy blue border which ended up being one of my favourite parts.
I learned a few new things with my free motion quilting experiments this time around.
- First of all, having a large work surface is key so your quilt isn’t hanging off the side of the table. I have a sewing table that my machine fits into so it’s flush with the table and my quilt lays flat beside it.
- Quilting gloves or these quilting rings (I bought a set at the International Quilt Festival and LOVE them!) make free motion quilting so much less strenuous on your hands, arms and shoulders.
- A supreme slider can also make all the difference in allowing your quilt to slide freely on your extension table. I also picked up the large version of this at International Quilt Festival (that was one productive trip!!).
- And finally, check to see if you have the right set up on your machine. I am currently using the Janome M1250Q. I thought I had everything set correctly; changed the stitch length to almost zero, lowered the feed dogs and played with the tension – but I could never get the tension on the back/underneath of the quilt to be just right. My local quilt shop told me about the Janome Bobbin Holder for Free Motion Quilting and when I tried this little tool, it was a complete game changer! I don’t know why I’ve struggled with free motion quilting and the tension issues for so long?!
And my Mom sent me a photo of Kev with the finished quilt. The colours match his room perfectly and he says he gets a lot of use out of it.
I’ve really enjoyed making quilts for family and friends this year. I’ve been asked a few times if I would sew commissioned quilts but I think giving them as gifts is a lot more fun!