Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Some Progress

As our daily walk was cancelled this morning because of rain, I was able to spend some time working on the current quilt. I finished doing the machine quilting on the second half. This shows the back of the 1/2 quilt.

Several years ago I decided it would be easier to machine quilt on half of a quilt, rather than trying to cram the whole quilt into the small space of my home sewing machine. It tried out that idea, and it worked very well indeed, so I usually follow that method now.

I have never had a quilt finished on a long arm quilting machine, as I prefer to do it myself. It is a lot of work, and can become tiring moving all that material around, but it also has a really satisfying rhythm to it.

Here's a close up of what I decided to do on the particular quilt, which will probably go to our youngest granddaughter. I decided to do a kind of loopy flower design, with four-, five- or six-petaled flowers interspersed with simple circles. I like the effect very much.
I used a variegated thread with colours found on the front of the quilt. The machine quilting goes up to the border on three sides, but stays away from the side that will be joined later.

When the two halves are quilted, I place them right sides together with the batting and backing pulled back. I sew the center seam as I would if it were just a quilt top. Today I did that seam on my "SchoolMate Janome" since the new "Horizon Janome" is all set up for free motion quilting and I didn't want to change the setting.

When that seam is complete the quilt is laid on the floor, folded over into halves. There is extra batting and extra backing that needs to be trimmed away.
I first cut off the batting exactly at the seam edge.
Then I trimmed the backing the same way.
That step is not shown here.

I almost always spray baste my quilts with 505 temporary fabric adhesive. This is not a cheap option: a small can costs $15.99 at the local fabric shop. But that compares well with the price of the same can at Fabricland in Red Deer: it was about $24 there!

Spray basting holds everything in place so you don't get wrinkles in the back of the quilt. It also remains effective for long periods of time. As I found when I went back to a long neglected project.

But don't use spray basting if you plan to hand quilt!!! I learned that the hard way. In order to hand quilt a spray basted quilt I had to spray it liberally with water, and then press the water out with a hot iron. A spray basted quilt cannot be penetrated with a hand needle!

After the one side of batting and backing is trimmed away, trim only the batting on the second side. Fold back a seam allowance. Open up the quilt, and fold the extra fabric over the trimmed half. Some adjustment needs to be done here in order to make sure you don't have wrinkles on the front.

Now you are ready to handsew the backing together. Tomorrow I plan to machine quilt the center part. When it's finished, I'll post pictures of the finished quilt from the front.

I had hope to finish two quilts, this one, which I call the "kid's quilt" and the one called "the red square" before we visit daughter #2 and her family the middle of this month. Now I'll be happy to get this one finished.

A friend has loaned me her "Grace" quilting frame, which I will use for quilting the "red square" quilt. That should be an interesting experience!

In the meantime, we've picked lots more peas, broad beans, green beans and Scarlet Runner beans, all of which needed to be processed for storage in the freezer. So far this week we've put 4 1/2 pounds of peas away. And yesterday Jim brought in a pail and half of apples. We cut them up, boiled them and put them through the French mill, a handy device for making applesauce which separates the peels from the sauce. That made 6 cups of applesauce, so I sent him out with a request for that many more apples.

When we had 12 cups of sauce, I put them in the slow cooker with 4 cups of brown sugar, 6 teaspoons of cinnamon, 3 teaspoons of cloves, 3 teaspoons of allspice and 3 teaspoons of freshly ground nutmeg. This was cooked on high until we went to bed, and then turned down to low. This morning I turned it back up to high, and by 1 p.m. I had bottled 5 pint jars and 1 smaller jar of Apple Butter, thick, rich, darkbrown Apple Butter that will taste so good on homemade cinnamon-raisin bagels!

When I labeled the jars and dated them I noticed what an interesting date we have today (at least in Canada, where dates are written day/month/year): 8/9/10. Which date, for the record, had a high temperature here of only +12ÂșC.

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